Magnificent Sokol house in Brandýs nad Orlicí
There are buildings that will interest you at first sight. Something like love at first sight. Just with the building. One of these charismatic buildings is the Sokol house in Brandys nad Orlici.
But wait a minute. What is a Sokol? Sokol (Czech Sokol Community) is the name of the Czech Gymnasium Association, which in the history of Czech and Slovak physical education has taken the position of not only the largest, but also the most successful physical education organization. Sokol is also the Czech word for falcon (bird).
This building did not always fulfill the purposes of the Sokol house. It was built in 1890 in the romantic historicizing (Neo-Renaissance) style by the builder Josef Drahoš. Originally it was a magnificent villa for Ludmila, the wife of the knight Jan Horský. Jan Horský (March 29, 1849 – December 7, 1917) was the son of a local teacher. He graduated in architecture and civil engineering. He became a designer and entrepreneur in the field of railway and bridge construction in the then Austria – Hungary and many of his buildings are also abroad. He was awarded for his works in Portugal (Portuguese Order of Christ), Russia (Russian Order of St. Stanislav) and Turkey (Turkish Order of Ottomania). A major breakthrough in the life of this successful and wealthy man was the year 1908, when one of his buildings in the Swiss canton of Wallis was flooded and collapsed in a tunnel in which 25 workers were buried. Horský was responsible for the whole building and was therefore forced to sell his houses, his incredible collection of coins and medals of 20,000 items, and finally the Villa of Ludmila, which he still inhabited until his death in 1917.
The building then became the property of the Home Owners Society, which in 1924 sold it for 40 thousand Czk to Brandys Sokol unity. In April 1925 the reconstruction of the villa into a Sokol hall started. As part of these construction work, a theater stage was added to the original villa.
The new Sokol house was then used by the city and citizens until 1990, when it was closed due to a state of emergency. The reconstruction carried out later improved the building’s condition, but luck began to avoid it. After a large water accident inside the building, it was closed again and the Sokol house is still in this state.
In the history of the Sokol house it is necessary to recall the sadly memorable date of May 5, 1945, when the Nazis massacred 15 patriots who had previously armed in the Sokol house from a passing train transport by the building.
Nowadays, as mentioned above, the building is closed and not used. Anyway, the city of Brandys is trying to reopen it. Let’s hope.