The Archeopark will open to Visitors again after being closed for two yers

Visitors will be able to travel back in time over a thousand years to hunt, fight, cook, and make jewellery and pottery with their Slavic forebears in Chotěbuz.

One of the most important pre-historical and medieval monuments in the Těšín Region of Silesia, which is a replica of a Slavic settlement from the middle of the 8th to the 11th century, will open to the public again after being closed for two-years on 30th April.
The replica of a Slavic hill-fort has a new entrance building with a teaching centre. The symbolic keys to this new structure were handed over to the Director of the Těšín Region Museum, of which the Archeopark is a branch, by Moravian Silesian County Representative Miroslav Novák today (22/04).

Construction of the entrance building, with space for additional exhibitions, expansion of the exhibition in the acropolis of the hill-fort, wheelchair access to the Archeopark and constructing sanitary facilities cost nearly 47.5 million crowns. The project, which was launched in July 2013 and will be administratively closed this year in May, received funds from the Regional Operating Programme NUTS II Moravia Silesia 2007-2013. The Moravian Silesian Region, which is the founder of the Těšín Region Museum, contributed over 21 million Crowns to this project.

“The entrance building contains not only new archaeological and natural science exhibits, but also a multi-purpose hall, pottery workshop for children, reception and other facilities. A walkway was also created in the crowns of the trees, which connects the building to the so-called acropolis, a faithful replica of the original Slavic hill-fort that used to stand on this site. This walkway, which is several tens of metres long, will be liked not only by children, but also by mothers with prams, handicapped visitors and many seniors – it gives wheelchair access to areas that previously were difficult to reach. In order to reach the acropolis below the castle visitors previously had to climb up 102 steep steps,” Zbyšek Ondřeka, Director of the Těšín Region Museum said.

Other news is that the Archeopark will now be open all year-round, which is helped by the new entrance building. Visits to the acropolis will be limited in winter, but guests will not be short-changed – they can experience an interesting programme in the new exhibition areas, view didactic films, participate in activities accompanying the exhibitions, including special programme packages on archaeology, ethnography and natural science.

“The Archeopark is no ordinary tourist attraction. It documents Slavic settlements in the area of today’s Těšín Region during the period of Great Moravia, on a site where our forebears actually lived, were born and died. It introduces us not only to their lives, but also reminds us of the time of the beginnings of modern Czech statehood. That is the main purpose of this unique, extensive didactic project, which so many people spent so many years creating. A person who isn’t familiar with his history, origins and culture, is like a tree without roots,“ says County Representative Miroslav Novák.

“I am convinced that the modernised complex is more attractive, will offer a high-quality programme and services and will attract more visitors, who are interested in history and have not yet visited this unique Slavic settlement. I believe that there is great potential here for school students, even those from Slovakia and Poland under the terms of cross- border cooperation,“ Deputy County Representative for Culture and Social Affairs Svatomír Recman added, and the project also has another significant effect – helping employment the region.

A large car park has also been established near the entrance building for visitors to the Archeopark. “The construction work, which was financed mostly from European funds as well as from the regional budget, was carried out at the close of the European Union programme period. Although there was limited time to do it, an unusual architectural work has been constructed, which will increase the tourist points of interest and services in our region and will contribute to the attractiveness of this locality. It deserves to be entered in the competition for Construction Work of the Year in the Moravian Silesian Region,“ Deputy County Representative for Investment and Tourism Ivan Strachoň stated.

Work on the Archeopark in Chotěbuz by Český Těšín has been carried out by the Museum of the Těšín Region with support from its founder – the Moravian Silesian Region – since 2000. This project is being constructed not only as a replica of an original Slavic hillfort, but also as a comprehensive, didactically conceived complex. Construction was preceded by decades of scientific and archaeological research, which was managed in this locality by the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic together with the Museum of the Těšín Region.

The original Slavic hill-fort existed in Chotěbuz from the 8th to the 11th century. Its beginnings date back to the late Bronze age when people of the Lusatian Culture began to settle here. As a result and thanks to its advantageous location on the crossroads of trade and other routes the Chotěbuz settlement became an important centre in the area. Research in this unique archaeological locality, the fortifications of which are still visible today, has discovered valuable remains from every-day life, documents of wartime events and also evidence of the influence of the Great Moravian Empire on the region.

All these findings, as well as the actual replica of the hill-fort, help describe the ancient past of the locality and the life of the ancient Slavs. Replicas of period buildings, as well as an extensive exhibition about the history, archaeology and nature of the Chotěbuz locality, present these findings to visitors with the backdrop of the historic acropolis complex and in the new educational centre built at its foot. The complex also houses a pottery workshop and a number of interactive elements that allow visitors to try living the life of our forebears first-hand. The Archeopark also offers activities and educational programmes for schools and pre-schools. Pupils and students can obtain worksheets, which accompany them through the exhibitions and the complex together with the museum pedagogue. These supplement and enrich the teaching of national history and geography, history, Czech language and literature, natural science, geography and the arts.

Nature is an integral part of the Archeopark. The appearance of the landscape was greatly influenced by several incidents of settlement of the hill-fort – people of the Lusatian culture and ancient Slavs. Use of the natural resources, gradual deforestation, growing crops and keeping livestock transformed widespread forests into an agricultural landscape. This, together with a climate changing over the centuries, enabled various locations providing shelter to a great number of plant and animal species to evolve. Visitors can observe Sand Lizards and Viviparous Lizards in sunlit areas, and the Fire Salamander seeks out areas in moist forest habitats. The protected Common Clubmoss or groups of memorial trees growing around the perimeter of the first fortifications are also worth mentioning. There are also a range of bird species here, for instance the Great Spotted Woodpecker, nesting in the hollows in trees and the Black Stork.

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