A walk through Únětice

Come with us for a short walk through Únětice. It is not just by chance that we start at Holý Vrch at the viewpoint of the painter Mikolaš Aleš. It is worth going up the path to the left of the cliff by the “lower” lake, as at its end a wonderful view of Únětice and its surroundings opens up before you. On the left are the last Prague houses, but directly below us is just pure countryside and village buildings. A picturesque scene with the church, barn and other historic buildings is marred by two sad monsters – the tall water tower directly in front of us and the white agricultiral buildings left over from the post war period.

On one newly refurbished house by the lake, we can read the old fashioned enamel sign: Země - Česká, Pol.okres: Praha-venkov, Místní obec: Únětice (Country - Czech republic, Region – Prague rural, Local council: Únětice)

Directly opposite the former mill is a house with the sign: Josef Lasík – Kolář (Wheelwright), LP 1898. Few would know that inside the house are original spoked wheel making machines in working order, even though none of Mr Lasík´s decendents work on them.

Then we continue up the gentle slope to the cemetery, this is where we find St. Josef´s chapel built in 1698. Several of the canons of St. Vita´s cathedral are buried in the underground crypt.

Just a few steps further on is the former grain barn, at first glance quiet and desolate, but the sculptures from various materials that we can spot through the barred windows give us the feeling that this is not just any old building.

One day it will be the Museum of Únětice Culture and one of the main stopping places on the historic walk of Dr. Rýzner. This building was erected in 1752 by Únětice´s priest Václav Nespěšný for storing grain.

The church of the Virgin Mary was founded by the priest Zbyhněv in 1132. At this time it was a stone building in the Romanesque manner. The current baroque form dates from 1766, when agreement for the building was given by the order at St. Vita which shared the cost. the church tower holds three bells, the first weighing 72Kg and of 480mm circumference was christened St. Václav, the second weighing 144Kg with a circumference of 623mm christened Maria and the third christened Jan Evangelist weighs 92kg and has a circumference of 532mm. Their majestic peal can be heard every Sunday morning before mass, and at other times.

A pillar of any village, is of course the school. Our one is no longer used, but in the past children from the surrounding villages used to go there, however, it is still in use as a play school and a place for extracurriculem artistic expression for both children and adults. The first record of a school in Únětice dates from 1622. The existing building with a rich history dates from 1838, in 1898, 424 children were enrolled here and taught by 7 teachers.

Únětice does not have a classic village green. But it is so important that there is a place where people can congregate; in the last few years this role has been taken by the pub and adjoining village “Sokolovna” hall, with the sports area where people play volleyball and other sports. At first glance it is evident that things are happening, just look at the notice board at the entrance to the pub to see what sporting or cultural event is being prepared, either on the playing ground, in the hall, or in the former cow barn opposite. And if you have the appetite, join in. Borrow some balls from the pub and play petanque or legball. pleasantly tired, you will better savour the food and beer that you can have on the terrace. Most of the cultural and sporting activities are organised under the banner of the organisation for the renewal of Únetice culture, the members of which, repaired and fitted out the hall, stage and equipment in time for the premier or the revived play Staři Blazni in 1977.

On the side furthest from Holý Vrch a small chapel marks the end of Únětice, currently deconsecrated and awaiting reconstruction. The area around the chapel is designated for new residential housing, some of which has already been constructed. During the preliminary excavation work several years ago, bronze age graves were found, and so the local residents had a unique chance to literaly touch history and look at their ancestors from several thousand years ago.

The backbone of most villages is water. The first settlements were founded on the banks of a river or stream, and water was one of the basic necessities for agricultural and economical development, and Únětice is no exception. Along the banks of Únětice stream you can set out for a relaxing walk to refresh your batteries. The most romantic part begins in Únětice and continues through Tiché udoli to Roztoky. Apart from the wanderful nature and several farmhouses you can look at the buildings of former mills. It is no wonder that film makers have often used this setting.

Good water is obviously the basis for excellent beer. From far and wide people came to taste Únětice beer. For nearly five hundred years beer was brewed here, but thanks to the post war political situation it was discontinued, but the brewery crest still hangy on the walls of the main building. But that´s not too tragic, today the brewery is used as a dairy wholesalers, a winemakers and a cycle warehouse. Yes, times have changed.

Nowhere is it so obvious that history has left its imprint on the village than at the former “Chateau”, a sad relic of a period building with its derelict surrounds. Just a hundred years ago it underlined the commercial success of the village, now it highlights its architechtural degredation. It is pleasant to see that at least some of the buildings are undergoing gradual refurbishment back to their pre-war state. There are even used building materials prepared for refurbishment, suitable for the various types of building. However, the disrespect towards the past has left scars that will not vanish, and not only in Únětice.

Have we aroused your interest? Many period and contempory photographs, the successful playss and more information about Únětice, past and present, can be found in the book “Únětická kutura” – a non traditional look at our distant past and the now, which was issued in 2002 by the organisation for the renewal of Únětice culture. Even if it´s in Czech, you will definately understand the facts. Or if you would like to buy a CD with the unforgetable songs from our theatrical preformances about the history of Únětice and a little book with the texts and photgraphs from the rehearsals, click here for price information inclusive of postage do your door, or you can just buy it at the village council office.