Cultural landscape of the stud farm at Kladruby nad Labem
Ministry of Culture
Region : Pardubice
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The cultural landscape of the stud farm at Kladruby nad Labem is located in the alluvial plain on the northern side of the middle course of the Elbe in the western part of the Pardubice region. Along its north border, the area is lined by forest, which extends southwards on both its east and west ends, thus drawing a natural outline of the half-closed area of the landscape of meadows and pasture land belonging to the stud farm. The first references to horse breeding at Kladruby nad Labem in written sources date back to the early 14th century. Later, in 1560 the Czech Estates purchased the Pardubice Demesne, including the stud farm, from the Pernštejns to donate it to Emperor Maxmilian II Hapsburg. On Emperor Maxmilian's order, horses of Spanish and Italian stock were brought to Kladruby. On 6 March 1579, Emperor Rudolf II issued a decree to establish a stud farm of the Imperial Court, comprising the area of the Kladruby game hunting preserve. In the first third of the 18th century, the site reached one of its peaks in architectural, town-planning and landscaping terms. However, the Classicist period gave the stud farm its current appearance. Major construction work took place between 1823 and 1845 and the development of the site in construction terms was essentially completed at the end of that period. Several buildings in the historicist style were added later, in the second half of the 19th century, to finish off the form and appearance of the stud farm from the architectural and planning point of view. Until 1918, the use of the Kladruby coach horses followed the rigorous rules of Spanish etiquette - they primarily served for extraordinary court ceremonies. In 1918, the Kladruby stud farm came to the hands of the Czechoslovak State. After 1989 (the Velvet Revolution) this stud farm together with the Old Kladruby Horse breed were awarded a status of one of the most important cultural monuments of the Czech Republic.
The cultural landscape where the stud farm buildings are located was formed over centuries to suit the needs of horse breeding. It consists of three parts, each having specific features of its own. The central area of pastures is a dominant part of the territory of the farm. It is divided into regular parts by a network of roads, paths and irrigation ditches, lined by alleys of tall trees. On the south the pasture area is closed by riverine groves. Parts of the riverine forest have been preserved along the Elbe River and around the river's blind arms, which have remained from the original meandering course of the river before its regulation. Part of the forest along the Mošnice River is landscaped as a romantic English park, which serves as a pheasantry. The northern part of the area of the cultural landscape of the stud farm is covered by a commercial forest with a network of straight paths and cleared strips. The landscape of the stud farm is primarily an agricultural landscape. Vegetation lining the roads and water courses is its prominent feature. There is also a system of water ditches serving for irrigation in dry periods and for drainage in rainy periods. The cultural landscape of the stud farm also contains a part of a landscaped park, functionally belonging to the mansion, which is an organic part of the stud farm.
In terms of architectural composition, the historic premises with the stud farm buildings, representing the core of the cultural landscape, is a direct part of the village Kladruby nad Labem. The planning concept of the village and the structure of the landscape around it are totally subordinated to the planning concept of the stud farm. The main courtyard of the farm represents the central area of the premises. The archway at the main entrance to the complex of horse stables is the highlight on the axis of the north front of the courtyard. This is a point of intersection of all the main composition axes, along which roadways run, lined by alleys of trees. The site planning composition of the village is subordinated to the dominant composition of the stud farm, its northern square being attached to the eastern side of the stud farm's main courtyard. The main composition axis of the landscape area is the straight road from the main courtyard of the Kladruby stud farm, running through the Františkov yard (Franzenshof) with the second historic area of horse stables here. The third (smaller) historic complex of stables is called Josefov (Josefshof) and is located on the pastures south of the village Kladruby nad Labem. Several other small and isolated residential and farm sites are scattered over the territory of the historic cultural landscape. These are small clusters of cottages, or solitary houses (located where the gates to the historic area of the farm used to stand), gamekeepers' lodges and individual farm buildings, barns and minor structures used for farming purposes. The harmony between the buildings with the landscape cultivated to meet the needs of the stud farm is an impressive and unifying feature of the area.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
The stud farm with the adjacent landscape owes its current historic appearance, in particular, to the classicist phase of its construction early in the 19th century and to the fact that no substantial change has been made to the form of the buildings and to the functional structure of the landscape. The classicist complex clearly reflects the fine skills of construction artisans at the beginning of the 19th century and represents a wide range of types of utility buildings and construction elements of that period without significant recent adjustments. The current functional interconnection of the individual parts of the stud farm and the integrity of the land have their origin in the earliest - Renaissance - period of the farm's existence. The continuous function of the complex has successfully passed the test of time and is able to resist any greater disturbance, because otherwise its main and dominant use for horse breeding would be threatened. The continuous integrity of ownership of the main parts of the stud farm made it possible to develop a well-planned and architecturally coherent combination of buildings and landscape, documenting, by the grandeur of its design, the importance of horse breeding in the life of the highest strata of the society. The extent of the cultural landscape and the integrity of its living elements emphasise the quality of the complex as a whole.
Comparison with other similar properties
Dozens of historic stud farms are scattered all over the world. Each of them is characterised by specific natural conditions and cultural traditions.
The stud farm at Kladruby nad Labem, which is among the oldest on the European continent, can be historically included in the group of former state stud farms of the Austrian Monarchy. This tradition dates back to the first half of the 16th century and has only survived at Kladruby and at Lipica in today's Slovenia. The glorious era of Renaissance and Baroque stud farms ended in the war conflicts in the second half of the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th centuries, when the Austrian army needed great numbers of horses to promptly replace those lost in war. The monarchy started a state-controlled process of rationalisation in horse breeding. New stud farms were thus established at strategic and geographically important places, mainly in the eastern parts of the monarchy. These include, in particular, the Hungarian stud farms at Mezöhegyes, Bábolna and Kisbér, the complex of stud farms at Radovec in Bukovina (now Romania) and the Styrian stud farm at Piber (Austria). These stud farms will be subjected to detailed comparative analysis for the nomination documentation. A number of other still functioning European stud farms will also be compared, provided that they use a landscape modified for their functional purposes and the landscape bears traces of planned aesthetic composition.
The cultural landscape of the stud farm at Kladruby nad Labem represents a unique living phenomenon of Central European cultural heritage that has not been preserved anywhere else at such a high level of authenticity and integrity of the utility buildings and the adjacent landscape. Kladruby is the only Imperial and Royal stud farm that has preserved its Baroque and Classicist composition, based on the combination of a utility complex and the adjacent cultural landscape. As distinct from any other state-controlled stud farms in Europe that developed in and after the 18th century on the basis of utilitarian requirements (mainly for the army), the Kladruby stud farm has maintained a sovereign position as a European horse breeding treasury.