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Bedřichovice is a village in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic, about 3 kilometres to the East of Brno, an administrative part of Šlapanice (around 7.000 people). There are 308 inhabitants living at 122 permanent addresses. The village has a local municipal committee subordinate to the committee of Šlapanice.
Bedřichovice is written with special Czech vowels "ř" and "ch" (pronounced "ř" as "r" in the word "red", and "ch" as in the name Johann Sebastian "Bach"). The anglicized village name is Bedrichovice.
The village is located in a beautiful stretch of countryside, on the outskirts of a karst area (Moravský Kras) reaching far to the North of Brno. In geological terms, the area finds itself onto a bed of limestone (Drahanská Highland) and conglomerate called after Šlapanice, so-called Šlapanice Conglomerate, a specific variety of the stone. The type of rock bed has given rise to numerous rocky structures of varied sizes, mostly rather small crags and rocky hills rich in thermophilic flora displaying several endemites.
As far as the settlement of the area is concerned there exists a legend talking about three brothers named Bedřich (German: Friedrich, English: Frederic) – the alleged founder of Bedřichovice; Jiří (German: Georg, English: George) – the alleged founder of Jiříkovice, and Blažej (German: Blasius, English: Blaise) - the alleged founder of Blažovice. The villages have been important settlements of the area ever since.
Continuous settlements date as far back as the 8th or 9th centuries AD. The earliest historical written record on Bedřichovice comes from 1310 AD. At that time a part of the village was administered by clergical jurisdiction based in Brno´s major church of St. Peter and Paul. Written records of the time evidenced 5 homesteads and 1 mill in the village. The mill has been on the very same site for centuries.
- 15th century witnessed rough religious wars (called the Hussite wars after its leader Jan Hus, an influential public person of the first half of the 15th century), the village was burnt down and ravished (the villagers never joined Protestants, it remained Catholic; nowadays there is a mixture of Catholics and non-believers)
- during the 16th century two ponds - Radvan and Pindulka - were established between the villages of Bedřichovice and neighbouring Podolí. The purpose was to supply water to the local mill and provide a base for fish-farming. This is how a symbol of fish found its way onto the seal of Bedřichovice.
- 1645 – during the Thirty Years´ War and Swedish siege of Brno the village was burnt down entirely
- 1694 – the establishment of the first local inn
- 1 December 1805 – prior to the Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805) the French emperor Napoleon I. is said to have spent a night in his carriage somewhere in the area adjacent to the village
- 1906 – the establishment of the local library while the first 32 books were acquired
- 1913 – electricity found its way to the village
- 1914-1918 – during the World War I six men from Bedřichovice fell victims
- 1921 – at the local main square a symbolic Lime Tree of Freedom was planted, today can be seen as the space enclosed by the streets of Hlavní (Main Street), Lípová (Lime Tree Street) and Krátka (Short Stree) a lime tree was labelled a national tree after the establishment of the independent Czechoslovakia in 1918
- 1926 – the first bus connection between Bedřichovice and Brno
- 1930 – establishment of Voluntary Fire Brigade successfully existing until the present day
- 1931 – construction of Municipal House accompanied by a library and Fire Brigade Headquarters
- 1933 – building regulation of the local stream called Říčka
- 1934-1935 – construction of a brand new chapel based on a project by officially recognized architect František Ryšánek from Šlapanice, sculptor František Prosecký was the author of a statue of Virgin Mary of Lourdes, who is the saint patron of the chapel. The building was projected and placed in the middle of the village main square, therefore the Lime Tree of Freedom had to be moved to a new place (where originally a small-sized belfry had been located at the crossing of Studýnky and Lípová Streets)
- 1939-1945 – in the course of World War II a few villagers were deported to concentration camps or made to stay at work camps
- 25. 4. 1945 – liberation of the village by the Red Army
- 14. 6. 1945 – a festive ride of president Edvard Beneš
- 1947 – Bedřichovice was appointed their own priest p. Kotulan who in 1950 fled to neighbouring Austria, later spent 7 years in Brazil before he returned to Austria
- 1957 – establishment of the local Joint Farming Group (Jednotné zemědělské družstvo ) as part of a national movement during which local farmers were, very often violently and forcefully, made to enter the farming groups; allegedly Bedřichovice farmers showed little determination to enter so as a result they were finally forced to do so anyway
- 1958 – a festive opening of the local Cultural Centre (Kulturního dům) built as part of a voluntary village construction and building project (called “Action Z”)
- 1974 – construction of the local supermarket was finished, the shop was called “Jednota” (Engl. Unity)
- 1980´s saw a radical drop in the number of inhabitants, specifically from 402 to 298 people
- 2000 – continuous renewal of the cultural and social life in the village
- 3. 9. 2011 - 80 inhabitants of Bedřichovice move to Tate Modern in London to perform their one-day. The performance named From morning till night has been created and orchestrated by Czech famous artist Kateřina Šedá. The area chosen by the artist extends from Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral with the church of St Benet at the centre, to replicate the area of the village. An additional eighty UK-based professional and amateur artists have been invited to assist Šedá in representing the imaginary borders of the village. Each of them positioned at the outskirts of the ‘new’ locality, draws and paints a specific angle of Bedřichovice while facing the urban landscape of London.
Above the village a visitor will see a prominent hill called Žuráň (there are many speculations as to what the etimology of the name is). Although the hill counts as part of the neighbouring village of Podolí, it may be perceived as a distinct feature of Bedřichovice. The hill itself is a significant archaeological, historical and geographical location within the Central Europe. In 1853 an extensive cairn was excavated and revealed remains of a Langobard king Wacho who may have been buried at the site some time around 539. Another detailed archaeological excavation project was carried out at the site between 1948-1950 under Josef Poulík, an important archaeologist, educator and scholar.
On 2 December 1805 Napoleon I. launched the Battle of Three Emperors / Battle of Austerlitz from the Žuráň Hill. In the battle his army beat the joint Russian-Austrian troops under Franz II. of Austria and tzar Alexander I. At the top of the hill Napoleon situated his headquarters and simultaneously initiated all the moves of his troops from there. From the very place at 8.30 a.m. he sent an order to start the attack of the plains and slopes of a nearby hill called Pratecký Hill (just opposite Žuráň). It was the key move of the whole battle which made the allies helpless. In that very morning Napoleon is said to have observed a magnificent sunrise of what later became the legendary “blood-stained red sun of Austerlitz”. On 5 July 1930 a monument commemorating the battle was ejected at the top of the Žuráň Hill designed by a Prague-based architect Vojtěch Kerhart.
Historically, one of the oldest family backgrounds of the village can be seen in the Kos family. They are the descendants of a wealthy and well-established farmer Trnka, at whose field in a nearby village of Slavíkovice on 19 August 1769 the future king of Austria Joseph II. ploughed the soil. His mother, the empress Maria Theresia decided such an act to be remembered. That is why the Moravian (Moravia, along Bohemia, is a historical territory in the present-day Czech Republic) political representatives were made to buy the plough from Trnka the farmer. Since then the tool has been a part of the Moravian Land Museum Collections. Further on, the representatives had to erect a commemorative stone monument in that particular field. The first three consecutive monuments had fallen apart so it was decided in 1833 to build a structure made of cast-iron as the very first structure of its kind all over the world. A Wienese sculptor Josef Klieber created for the monument a relief depicting the Joseph II. Emperor´s act of ploughing. The present-day family owns a plaster cast of the relief.