IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1506: Metropolis and New Towns in Bohemia

Thursday 12 July 2007, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Kaspars Klavins, Faculty of Humanities, Daugavpils University, Latvia / School of Historical Studies, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Victoria
Paper 1506-aPrague's Decisive Years: The Formation of the Old Town and the Rearrangement of its Ecclesiastical Topography, 1230s to 1250s
(Language: English)
Christian-Frederik Felskau, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Geography and Settlement Studies
Paper 1506-bPrague in the Jagiello Time: Transformation of a Medieval Metropolis
(Language: English)
Pavel Kalina, Fakulta Architektury, Czech Technical University, Praha
Index terms: Architecture - General, Art History - General, Politics and Diplomacy, Religious Life
Paper 1506-cTown Planning and the Formation of Ethnic Space in Medieval Central Europe
(Language: English)
Seth Adam Hindin, Department of History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University
Index terms: Anthropology, Architecture - General, Art History - General, Social History

Abstract paper a: Within roughly twenty years, the Old Town of Prague faced significant changes in its social, political, economic and demographic structure. Its encirclement started in the 1230s and was accompanied by immense developments in the areas of population, juridical and political position, and economic power. To a certain extent, the Germanic settlers and particularly its well-off social strata functioned as a force and model in the constitution of the civitas. Within this process, the establishment of the Mendicant Orders and their affiliated female institutions paved the way for a reshaping of urban religiosity.
Whereas the first part of the paper summarizes the most important aspects in the urbanisation process, the second part deals in more detail with the placement of the two major Mendicant institutions, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, in the urban topography and their relevance for the setting up of new ecclesiastical und urban networks. The integration of the religiones novae in the existing spatial and political urban context can be seen, especially with regard to the Friars Minor, as a result of complex negotiations. The erection of their monasteries, in particular the royal cloister Saint Francis with its initially attached hospital, was carried through the balancing various interconnected interests and the assertion of prospective multiple functions. It was not by chance that the new city wall as well as the formation of a merchant district and the creation of an urban elite in the core of the Old Town, that is intra muros, caused the translocation of several ecclesiastical instutitions above all the hospital and the house of the Teutonic Order. Moreover, the latter was over a long period involved into the negotiations connected with the Saint Francis monastery and the final placement of the Saint Francis hospital. The paper aims to shed light on the rearrangements and the various interests behind them in the phase of intense change, which came to a halt at the beginning of the 1250s.

Abstract paper b: The paper will demonstrate the gradual change in architecture and city urbanism of the Towns of Prague in the late 15th and early 16th century. The introduction of new, ‘Renaissance’ forms and typology is related to the complex transformation of political and religious life of the self-governing town under royal administration.

Abstract paper c: During the 13th century many new towns were built ex nihilo in the kingdom of Bohemia at the command of local lords, bishops, and the king himself. These towns were organized spatially in a grid-like fashion, granted Magdeburg Law or similar codes, and populated by German-speaking settlers imported from the western Holy Roman Empire. This paper argues that the imbrication of orthogonal urban planning and transnational migration (misleadingly called ‘colonization’ in most older literature) lead to the development of ethnically marked urban spatial systems that persisted in the Czech Lands throughout the later Middle Ages.