The East Bohemian Museum was designed by Jan Kotěra, a prominent Czech architect in 1909-1912. Kotěra's initial design, presented in 1907, was criticized for its exaggerated decoration and luxurious design. Moreover, the city did not have sufficient funds for such a grandiose design. Consequently, Kotěra created a new design that was finished in 1908.
The museum is modeled on a classic temple. As far as the decoration is concerned, the entrance is decorated by two sculptures next to the entrance door. These female figures are said to be an allegory of History and Industry. These two are accompanied by a third figure made from bronze. This one is supposed to be a young František Ulrich who became a mayor of Hradec Králové at the age of 36. Although he was young, people hoped that he would lead the city to progress.
Kotěra also designed the interior of the museum as well. Visitors can see furniture in the director’s office, a library, seats made by Thonet Company and wood linings in the lecture hall, lighting and a fountain in front of the main entrance to the museum. The museum interiors are designed in the functionalist style.
The building of the East Bohemia Museum was awaited with mixed feeling of the whole public. Kotěra was known as a young and progressive architect and he confirmed this statement in his works. The asymmetrical design of the building was rejected by Kotěra's teacher, Otto Wagner, but Kotěra prevailed.
In 1995 the building was declared as a national cultural monument and was extensively reconstructed in 1999-2002.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.