Kul.turista from Háječek to Rožnov
The Cultural Tourist Office set off for its penultimate event at the end of August.
The caravan was parked at the entrance of Háječek Park, where it was open to the public from Thursday to Sunday. It provided information about the fact that Budweis is close to submitting its application for the European Capital of Culture and what it potentially means for the city. But that's not all!
Many organisations from the surrounding area joined in the August Kul.turista event, in the part of the city from Hájecek to Rožnov, and prepared a rich and varied programme. The goal of all participants was the same. To create together a space for a pleasant neighbourhood meeting and to experience the places we pass through every day in a different way.
Despite the slight inclement weather that came upon us in the latter part of the weekend, this Kul.turista event was full of neighbourly gatherings, barbecues and get-togethers. The first meeting took place in front of the Grünwald elementary school, a day later we gathered together at the long table in Pablaskova street and on Sunday we crossed between the neighbourhood festivities at Vltavská bouda and TJ Meteor. How was it?
"An elderly neighbour from the next house over watched us the whole time through his fence. He grumbled something to the effect that it was terrible, that the young people were making things up again. Then he started walking past us and saying he wasn't going to come over... He came! He stayed with us all night, telling everyone around him how great it was. The atmosphere, getting together, taking the street, just hanging out."
But we heard many more stories. For example, during a guided walk through the hospital gardens with garden and landscape architect Lenka Marcínova. She took us to the garden of the psychiatric ward, where one is not normally allowed to go, then we walked through the gardens of the hospital nursery and ended the tour in the central oasis of the entire facility.
"When I started designing the hospital gardens in 2013, I asked myself what I could bring to the place. I assumed that there was excellent medical care at the hospital, which I wanted to support from my position. To give patients what doctors can't give them. To give them a place to calm down, to meditate, to sit, to compare thoughts, and perhaps to gain the strength to heal. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of that. Of course, it's a combination of the work of gardeners, arborists, and everyone who cares for the gardens on a daily basis." Landscape architect Lenka Marcínová presented the beginnings of her collaboration with the hospital grounds.
As part of Kul.turista, we went on to explore the background of the Háječek Summer Cinema, climbed the Water Tower, and walked in the footsteps of the horse-drawn carriage that Milan Binderem and Tomáš Hobizal took us on. The Observatory and Planetarium offered short screenings and guided tours of the night sky.
The potential of Háječek Park was also explored by the public space planning association called Socionaut, which holds its workshops at every stop of the Cultural Tourist Office. For this purpose, it uses a number of creative tools, such as mind maps or the board game Urban Visionary. These activate the city's inhabitants to think about the place in a different way than they are used to.
"We are now in Haječek Park. In the original assignment, the assumption was that relatively few people will come, that it is a place with potential, but that it is unused in its current form. In conversations with residents, this idea was confirmed. In the interviews, people repeated to us that they perceived the space as more of a pass-through where they had no incentive to spend their leisure time. On the other hand, they perceive Háječek as an oasis in the centre of the city with mature trees that provide good quality shade. It is an imaginary counterpoint to Sokolák. There is also a summer cinema, a planetarium and a café. They see it as a place of peace with cultural facilities." Kateřina and Tereza from Socionaut agree.
Kul.turista was again part of "Coffee for a story" (Kafe za příběh). A simple barter shop where we offer passers-by coffee in exchange for a moment of conversation. What did we learn this time?
We learned how you also enjoy sitting by the river and on a park bench or riding along the river on the bike path. How you miss a café with a proper children's play area or how you're worried about traffic. Some people came just to say hello, others stopped in for one, two... or a record six cups of coffee. What kind of snippets of stories made their way to us?
"We have lived here for about ten years. We moved here for work from Pilsen. We really liked how Pilsen has changed since it was awarded the title of Capital of Culture. Mainly in the area of public space and the opening of cultural institutions. We hope it will be the same in Budweis now that we have moved here."
- Jonáš S.
"I don't live here anymore, but I always like to come back. I'm glad it's not a town for tourists, but for locals. I like Háječek the best because there is a river and a park. At the same time, there are playgrounds, cafes and culture everywhere nearby. Only the traffic could be improved."
- Martin S.
"We met in Budweis at the same high school. We didn't get together until the final ball. It was the red dress I wore that night. Now we're shuttling between Prague and Budweis. We're planning a year-long trip to Canada. Then we'll see. I think the work will be better in Prague, but the comfort and potentially better facilities for the kids will be in Budweis. That will be a dilemma."
- Eliška B.
"I am fascinated by Budweis in the winter. Everybody is always cycling and cross-country skiing."
- Petr M.
"I remember the revolution. The TV at the time was broadcasting footage of an empty square. They said that nothing was happening in Budweis. The catch was that all the statues were in the footage, but at that time they were undergoing reconstruction and therefore could not be there. Everyone in the area knew that the footage was fake."
- Iva K.
What story will you tell us at the next Kul.turista event in September at the Máj housing estate?