Industrial Trails Through the Bohemian Mid-West

The Czech Republic’s industrial heritage, the traces and vestiges of technology and production work of the industrial age, and especially the century between 1850 and 1950, is present at almost every step through the country. Although this heritage has been unjustly ignored in the past, it is representative of the ingenuity and hard work of our ancestors.

The objective of this somewhat untypical guidebook is to present the fading history of important technological and production sites in western central Bohemia and specifically the regions of Kladno, Slaný, Rakovník and Beroun. It is also hoped that this will help link the region to the established European approach to industrial culture.

Despite the similarly romantic character of the landscapes, each of the regions presented in the guidebook has a unique industrial history, largely derived from and characterised by its particular natural environment. The presence of coal beds in the Kladno region led to the development of mines and ironworks, while the Beroun region is traditionally linked to the processes of extraction and processing limestone, and the Rakovník region is connected with agricultural production and hops growing.

Technical monuments differ distinctly from the cultural monuments people are used, primarily owing to their original technological or production-based functions, which are what influence their structural designs. Factory chimneys, head frames, or massive production halls are structural elements that clearly help determining the shape of an industrial site. On the other hand, sometimes all that is left of a site are the barely discernible traces of industrial activity in the landscape. Many industrial-era structures have undergone reconstruction, and many are now used for other functions, while others have been abandoned and are now dilapidated and falling to ruin. But even these structures and buildings have the capacity to evoke a unique, inimitable atmosphere, analogous to the sensation that is awakened when one visits the ruins of an ancient castle. The vast fortification system that runs through the region dates from the 1930s and represents a special category of industrial heritage and evidence of the level of the region’s technological progress.

The industrial heritage sites presented are often built into the landscape, frequently touching on a river or on a channel of water for use as an energy source to power the first industrial machines. But there are also industrial sites in towns, and they often occupied a very significant role in the development of settlements.

Industrial progress ushered in the need for the development of transportation, and this is evident in the very dense and largely still functioning railway network that evolved with it, which not only connected production and manufacturing sites and villages and towns, but also facilitated the export of goods abroad. It should be recalled that it was in this part of central western Bohemia where the second horse railway in the country began service in 1830.

Not all the sites presented in the guidebook are open to the public. On the contrary, some are still functional and used for production. Others may be closed, owing to ownership settlements, the presence of natural obstacles in the surroundings, or poor structural condition. We do not recommend that visitors set out to explore any such sites in the field on their own, especially in the case of the abandoned mines. Nowadays much more can be learned about the history of the mining of coal, ore, and stone from the open-air museums that enthusiasts have set up directly on the sites of abandoned mines and quarries, where the original machines, many of which are unique examples of technology and engineering, can be admired in their genuine environment.

The guidebook includes a list of open-air and indoor museums in the regions, along with addresses and opening hours. It also contains a map of the entire region (it is advisable to also have a standard tourist map on hand when visiting the sites) and a smaller more detailed map marked to indicate where the sites are located. All of the sites presented in the guidebook do still exist, though finding them may require some detective work. There are none of the typical signs providing directions to them, and often even local people no nothing of them. So any trip to visit the sites will in some way require exploration, and visitors will easily be able to imagine that they are among the first to trace the footprints of industrial heritage in the region. The rewards for the bit of suffering this may involve are a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside, a pleasant stop by a river or mill race, and also the satisfaction of knowing that by expressing an interest in industrial heritage visitors are contributing to the protection and conservation of what to date has been a much overlooked part of our history.


Eva Dvořáková – Tomáš Šenberger, Industrial Trails Through the Bohemian Mid-West, Prague 2005.

86 pages; Czech/English; ISBN 80-85377-96-9 / contributing editorial work Olga Groszová, Šárka Jiroušková, Linda Mašková, Michal Zlámaný, Libor Doležal, Zuzana Drahotušská, Tomáš Voldráb / proofreading Olga Grozsová, Eva Příhodová / translation Robin Cassling / graphic design Zuzana a Milena Burgerovy / print DTPress Rakovník / published by the City Kladno in conjunction with the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage CTU Prague and the ASCO Publishing, spol. s r. o.

Industrial Prague

The book is an alternative guide to transport, technical, and industrial structures in Prague. It contains 325 articles, 506 photographs, and 17 detailed maps. It was prepared by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage (VCPD) of the Czech Technical University in Prague, in cooperation with Prague City Hall as a part of Industrial Heritage Register project.

The buildings and structures presented in the book are arranged within the chapters according to their date of origin, and each chapter corresponds to a section of land demarcated and defined in the land register. The order in which these topographical sections of land are presented follows the pattern of growth and development ofPrague during the city’s history. The book includes buildings and structures from the fields of technology and transportation that have already been studied by experts at specialised museums, and industrial buildings whose value and potential for conversion to use in new functions are currently the subject of attention at the VCPD.

The VCPD primarily studies and focuses on the material remains and evidence of industrialisation, but contemporary trends and developments have a tendency to eliminate evidence of the past, which means that mention is also made of some structures that no longer exist. While contemporary production in the field of construction is impersonal in nature, the VCPD at all times endeavours in its research to determine who the entrepreneurs, builders, and architects behind each structure or building were, and the hundreds or perhaps even thousands of their employees are present in this text via the results of their work. This book is intended to serve as an alternative guide to Prague, a guide to the places where until now one would only have strayed by accident.

In 2007 was published full English version Prague Industrial, and a year later a second, expanded and updated edition Prague Industrial.


Lukáš Beran – Vladislava Valchářová (edd.), Industrial Prague. Technical Buildings and Industrial Architecture in Prague, Prague 2005.

280 pages; Czech, English introduction; 556 images; ISBN 80-239-6198-5 / na contributing editorial work Jana Absolonová, Lukáš Beran, Milan Blažej, Zuzana Drahotušská, Eva Dvořáková, Václav Dvořák, Benjamin Fragner, Jiří Grosz, Jaroslav Jásek, Šárka Jiroušková, Dana Kazdová, Zdeněk Kovařík, Matouš Králíček, Veronika Maňasová, Linda Mašková, Michal Novotný, Martin Patera, Lenka Popelová, Martin Šenberger, Tomáš Šenberger, Vladislava Valchářová, Petra Vinařová, Petr Vorlík, Jitka Zamrzlová, Michal Zlámaný / proofreading Marie Platovská, Eva Příhodová / index of names Marie Platovská / translation Robin Cassling / graphic design Jan Forejt / typesetting and print Studio Element / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage CTU Prague in conjunction with the Prague City Council


Vestiges of Industry

Catalogue to the “Vestiges of Industry” exhibition on the Architectural Conversion of Industrial Heritage in the Czech Republic 2000–2005. 

The exhibition presents a selection of conversions of industrial heritage sites to new uses in the Czech Republic during the past five years, most of which have already been completed and are particularly illuminating and informative for the public. The exhibition and the exhibition catalogue present examples of newly completed and planned conversions in the Prague neighbourhoods of Holešovice and Karlín, along with the much discussed Gallery Vaňkovka in Brno and alternative uses of industrial sites in Ostrava. The exhibition highlights the varying approaches that architects and investors have applied to converting dozens of industrial sites, many of which were consequently saved from destruction.

The exhibition curators are Benjamin Fragner and Alena Hanzlová. “Vestiges of Industry – The Architecture of Conversion in the Czech Republic 2000–2005”: 6 September–5 October / Karlín Studios, Křižíkova 638, Prague 8-Karlín.


Benjamin Fragner – Alena Hanzlová, Vestiges of Industry. Architectural Conversion of Industrial Heritage in the Czech Republic, Prague 2005.

185 pages; Czech/English; ISBN 80-239-5440-7 / authors Benjamin Fragner, Šimon Caban, Alberto Di Stefano, David R. Chisholm, Ladislav Lábus, Josef Pleskot, Karel Spáčil, Tomáš Šenberger, Martin A. Tomáš, Jana Tichá / contributing editorial work Lukáš Beran, Vladislava Valchářová / proofreading Eva Příhodová / translation Martin Tharp, Jana Tichá / typesetting and grahic design Magda Fišerová / print Astron Print, s. r. o. / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage CTU Prague

download (pdf, 11,4 MB)

Working Heritage (CD)

The Working Heritage project emerged as part of the Culture 2000 Programme supported by the European Union. The Research Centre for Industrial Heritage CTU Prague (VCPD) became involved in this project as a partner institution: Prof. Petr Urlich has taken part in project meetings held outside the Czech Republic; the VCPD contributed to the preparation of a CD-Rom containing presentations on individual national projects; and in September 2005 the Working Heritage exhibition was presented as part of the 3rd International Biennial – Vestiges of Industry 2005 in Prague.

The original Working Heritage exhibition focuses on a selection of five sites in England, France, Italy and Spain. The selected sites represent examples that are noteworthy for their positive contribution to the field in terms of the method of industrial heritage conservation that was used and from the perspective of the life of local communities. The exhibition thus provides an overview of a variety of approaches to the conservation and treatment of industrial heritage, a heritage particularly unique in character. The selected examples include: the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, various industrial enterprises in Terni, and the formal textile plants in Roubaix and Schio and La Colonia Güell. The VCPD, which as part of the Working Heritage project presented itself on an accompanying CD-Rom, contributed panels on six Prague projects at the exhibition – the conversion of the Herget brickworks, the Sova Mills and other examples from the neighbourhoods of Karlín and Holešovice. The CD-Rom is available for viewing at the VCPD. This project helped the development of ties between the VCPD and contacts outside the Czech Republic and to the presentation of Czech industrial architecture at the international level.


Project Organisers:

English Heritage (England)
Direction de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Ministere de la culture et de la communication (France)
Direcció General del Patrimoni cultural, Departament de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya (Spain)
City of Roubaix (France)
Cities of Schio and Terni (Italy)


Project Partners:
City of Birmingham (England)
City of Santa se Coloma de Cervelló (Spain)
Universita de Padova, Instituto per la Cultura d’Impresa „F. Momigliano“, Terni (Italy)
L’AIPAI (Italy)
VCPD ČVUT in Prague

Technology and Industry in Prague (CD)

This project is a model example of how to take the results of the research on technical and industrial buildings and sites conducted as part of the main activities of the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage at the Czech Technical University in Prague (VCPD) with the involvement of doctoral students, and to make use of these results for pedagogical purposes.

The history of technology and industry in Prague is presented using the examples of buildings and sites that have survived to date and others that have not. Information is provided under entry headings that describe the buildings, and searches can be made according to the criteria of location, type of building or site, or name. Altogether 350 entries for buildings have been prepared, along with 85 profiles of important figures or firms, 22 entries on the urban development of the administrative districts in the greater Prague area, brief outlines on the development of individual fields of industry, and a chronology of important dates of relevance.

The data entered into the central registry of industrial heritage at CTU is integrated and elaborated to include additional information and the result is that users are able to obtain an easily accessible and solid outline of information on their entry of choice. Each entry that describes a building or site includes basic information on the particular site (address, authors/architects, heritage status, etc.), a brief outline of the site’s structural history to date, along with a description of the technology or production connected with the site, relevant literature, and illustrations. The entries are linked through an index that contains profiles of firms and in some cases also institutions and important figures (architects, builders, industrialists, entrepreneurs, experts in technology, inventors, teachers, etc.).

The textbook is intended to serve the needs of students in all fields of technology, but is especially aimed at the students at the Faculty of Architecture and the Faculty of Civil Engineering. Emphasis is consequently placed on the structural aspects of sites, and the profiles of important figures are primarily associated with industrial and technical structures. The textbook also serves as a unique guidebook to the City of Prague, and in reference to the technological and industrial developments that took place in the city over time it facilitates an understanding of the city’s urban development. The textbook also larges serves as a source of information for the practical decision-making relating to the future transformations of the various parts of the City of Prague and the changes introduced within them and often also in reference to the conversion of abandoned industrial sites.

This interdisciplinary project arose with the support of a grant from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport within the framework of the development programmes for creating multimedia educational aids. The project is run by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage CTU. The electronic form of the textbook involved the participation of a team of specialists from CTU Publishers – the Centre for Educational Support.