Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Jan 19 (CTK) – A new exhibition in the Usti Municipal Museum highlights the architecture of Germans in Bohemia in the second half of the 19th century, which also documents the German minority’s position in the Czech Lands at the time.

While preparing the exhibition, historians uncovered many architectonic designs, historical photographs and so far unknown information, because local German architecture remained largely unexplored before, curator Martin Krsek has told CTK.

He said originally German houses are common in many towns in the Czech Republic.

The exhibition mainly focuses on buildings that served a certain special purpose.

“For many residents of Usti, it will probably be a surprise to learn that the local Sokol sports hall was originally a sports hall of the German minority,” Krsek said.

Usti nad Labem (Aussig in German) is situated in the border area, former Sudetenland, where German inhabitants prevailed over Czechs until their post-WWII transfer from Czechoslovakia.

The exhibition, which runs through April 16, documents the position of the German minority in the period where tension between Czech and Germans was only in the beginning.

The exhibits include the original statue of Knight Rolland that was removed from the town hall in Liberec (Reichenberg), north Bohemia, loaned to the event by the Liberec-based North Bohemian Museum.

One of the new information within the preparation of the exhibition is the name of the author of the design of the Usti Municipal Museum. It was originally built as a school including a richly decorated representative ceremonial hall in 1875.

“Our enquiry has shown how prestigious the project was. The town council launched an architectural competition, which was won by Viennese architect August Krumholz, the author of a model school for the Austrian countryside,” Krsek said.

Emperor Franz Joseph I (1848-1916) granted audiences in the school during his visit to Usti nad Labem in 1901, Krsek added.