The village is located in central Bohemia, 4 kilometres from Kladno, the local administrative capital. It is 409 metres above sea level. It is situated on the old route to Eger (part of the old Kingdom of Bohemia, known now in Czech as Cheb), and today is linked by road to Karlovy Vary (German: Karlsbad). The village once contained nine ponds, but today only one remains, on the village green.
Origin of village name
Until 1935, the village was regarded as two separate settlements, Mala Dobrá and Velká Dobrá; these had earlier been called Horejsi and Dolejsi Dobra. During the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (1939–1945) the village was called Groß Dobray. In English, velká means "large" or great and dobrá means good; the name of the village refers to "good water" or "fertile land".
As of 2008, the population of Velká Dobrá is 1033.
There is evidence of human inhabitation in the region of Velká Dobrá since prehistory. A late 19th century archaeological investigation led by Josef Szombathy discovered a large middle Bronze Age (ca.1200 BCE) grave site near the village in the forest of Hora. A monument constructed over 50 years stood over the largest grave mound. Around sixty graves were investigated, yielding bronze weapons, tools and utensils, several of which were sent for display at museums in Prague and Vienna.
The first written records of Dobrá date from 1328, when two strongholds existed in the area, the lower at the site of the modern school on J.A. Komensky Square and the upper stronghold (still standing in 2008) at the junction of the Kladno and Karlovy Vary roads. During the Hussite Wars the settlement, located on an important trade route through Bohemia, was badly damaged. In 1548 Malá Dobrá had 8 settlers and Velká Dobrá nine.
The village sustained extensive damage during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Protestant troops under Fridrich Falcký marched through Dobrá from Rakovnik on August 26, 1619, and looted the village. During the war many residents were slaughtered, died of epidemic disease, or fled into the forests. In 1662, reports stated that six out of 14 farms at the settlement were still empty, and the lower village stronghold of Zdarsti ze Zdaru, used for accommodation during the 16th century, had been turned into farm land. In 1688, though, the former upper defensive stronghold was converted into a granary, suggesting a recovering population. This building is still standing in 2008.
Around 1753 the village erected a statue to Jan Nepomucky, followed by a church in 1765. The church was remodelled to its current form in 1816 and dedicated by Antonin Hertzok z Adlersbergu, dean of Smečno, on October 12, 1817.
Until the mid-19th century the Kladno region was largely agricultural, and most Velká Dobrá residents were farmers. In 1843 Malá Dobrá's population numbered 326 persons in 42 households, with another 291 persons in 36 households (average eight residents per household) at Velká Dobrá. New employment opportunities emerged when the first black coal mines were opened in the Kladno region, and expanded when Adalbert Works, a steelworks and predecessor of the modern company Poldi, opened at Kladno. The population rose by 115 between 1843 and 1857, and reached a total of 748 across Malá and Velká Dobrá in 1870, despite a cholera outbreak that killed 30 in 1866, following the stationing of Prussian troops at the village during the Austro-Prussian War.
In 1929 the Unhošť administrative district was abolished and Malá and Velká Dobrá became part of Kladno district.
Václav Nosek, a founder of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and StB (communist secret police) and Minister of the Interior during the communist putsch in February 1948, was born at 161 Carlsbad Street.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Velká Dobrá.|