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The Industrial Complexes at Ostrava

Date of Submission: 06/07/2001
Criteria: (i)(iv)(v)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture, Prague
Coordinates: Anselm Mine: 48°52'09" N / 18°15'55" E Michal Mine: 49°50'25" N / 18°20'45" E Hlubina Mine:49°50'39" N / 18°16'53" E Vrbice V.Shaft: 49°52'32" / 18°18'21" E
Ref.: 1560

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The industriel complexes in Ostrava are quite unique in the international contexte since they comprise, in a single locality, coal mines, coking plants and blast furnaces, thus representing the complete and concentrated technology of anthracite-based production of iron. The Ostrava industriel heritage is an integral part of the picture of this regional administrative centre. It is a historic document of the economic development of Ostrava which, in the course of the lgth and 20th century, has turned from a stagnating town with a ring of satellite villages and emerging mining colonies into a large industriel city. For decades, the Ostrava-Karvinà Coal Mining District had been one of the most important centres of coal mining and heavy industry in Europe. The industriel complexes had become its symbol and even at present they are a dominant element of the city. The original impulse for the building of the industriel complexes was the intention to supplément the mines also with ironworks which would produce rails for the developing railroad network of the former Austrio-Hungarian Monarchy. The combination of a rich fuel base and an efficient transport system allowed the development of mining, metallurgy, related branches of chemical industry, and, later, power engineering. The unusually rapid growth of production calied for new labour force, and the increase in labour force subsequently gave birth to typical working class colonies and, at the end of the 19th century also to progressive urbanist concepts accompanied by well thought-out welfare programmes. On the territory of Ostrava there is a wide variety of preserved technological heritage documenting methods of mining and metallurgy, as weil as chemical and power engineering industry and including coherent urban complexes whose origin was directly connected with the industriel development of the area. The nominations for putting in the World Heritage List include the most characteristic complexes documenting the various development stages of mining and metallurgical industry from the late 19th century, up to recent times. The AnseirniEduard Urx Mine and the remains of the first coal extraction in its immédiate environment are connected with the beginnings of mining in the Hluêin part of the coal district. In the area of the former mine, over the confluence of Ostravice and Odra rivers, there are outcrops of carbon seams in several places. In the neighbourhood, on the Landek hill, one can find traces of the deliberate human use of coal in the fireplace of the primeval man which date from the period of approximately 23 000 years ago. The oldest phase of human use of coal is presented and commented on by the educational boards placed along the tourist track. The beginnings of the sinking of the vertical shaft and the related complex of mine works date approximately from 1830. The name Anselm which the mine eventually acquired is derived from the name of Anselm Salomon Rotschild who, in 1855, took the mine over after his father, the Viennese banker Salomon Mayer Rotschild, who bought it together with the Vitkovice ironworks in 1843. The present appearance of the surface structures dates from the period of the late 19th and early 20th century when the whole complex was rebuilt. The buildings are characterized by a plastic articulation of the facing brickwork. The architecturally most interesting etement is the engine house of the mining machine situated on a steep slope. It was built during World War 1 in the spirit of the geometric pre-modern style wîth a segmented front in the shape of a roof truss. The complex of the Anselm/Eduard Urx mine is presented to the visitors as a museum. The core of the exhibition consists of the surface structures of the mine and the original tunnels in the Albert and Franti@ek seams which are accessible from the basement of the former engine hall. The Museum of Mining includes also simulated mining sites with the démonstration of manual and mechanized mining. The purpose of the museum is to lead the visitors along the same route and take them through the same routine as was that of the miners coming to work, including the lowering of the cage to the seam level of the mine. The MichaliPetr Cingr Mine in Ostrava-Michàlkovice bears the name of a counsellor Michael Laier who had significantly contributed to the development of coal mîning in Austrian Monarchy. The mine was founded in 1843 and in 1856 it was bought by the Exclusively Privileged Society of Emperor Ferdinand's Northern Railway in whose ownership it remained until the 1945 nationalisation. The mining activities were terminated in 1993 and in the year 2000 the complex was opened to the public. The mine had gone through graduai technological and constructional development. Between the years 1913 and 1915, its surface was rebuilt with the aim to concentrate in the same location also the work going on in the nearby smaller mines Jan, Josef a Petr and Pavel, including the préparation and distribution processes. The reconstruction, carried out under the project of the prominent architect Franti@ek Fiala, was based on complete électrification of all surface engines, which were concentrated in a single large abundantly glazed engine hall. The concentration of the local mining industry was reflected aiso in the large number of employées for whose comfort the mine was provided with dressing rooms and bathrooms. The maximum achieved depth of the shaft was 671 m. Till the termination of its opération in 1993, the whole complexe including technical facilities, had not undergone any substantiel changes and it now represents a unique series of electrical haulage machines and compressons, mostly by the Siemens-Schuckert company, which were manufactured in the pioneering times of électrification and are conserved in the original place of their opération. The exceptionally well-preserved surface structures of the mine (dressing rooms, the check room and the engine hall) were presented to the public in the same condition in which they functioned till the last working day. The educational tour around the cômplex, extraordinarily weli-conserved from the architectural viewpoint, enables the visitors to expérience an authentic work environment. For greater authenticity it is possible to put into opération electrical piston compresser and electrical converter. With regard to the exceptional technological and historic significance of the heritage, the overall architectonic quality of the complex and the authentic préservation of the objects and technical facilities, the Michai Mine was granted the status of a national cultural monument. The Hlubina Mine, the coking plant and the blast furnaces of Vitkovice lronworks mak e up the characteristic industriel panorama of Ostrava. In 1836, first coke blast furnace in the Austrian Monarchy was put into opération here, and in 1852 the sinking of the Hlubina shaft started in its neighbourhood. The complex thus included, in its immédiate order of succession, the whole technological process of coal mining and préparation, coke production, ironworks and rater also electricity production. The unique spatial coherence of the whole technological process and the one hundred and fifty years of the continuons production of iron on the basis of stone coal thus places the Hlubina mine locality with the blast furnaces of Vitkovice Ironworks side by side with the most important industriel complexes preserved in Europe. The complex of the coal mine, coking plants and blast furnaces documents in a coherent form and at a single place the whole technology of the production of iron on the basis of stone coal. The authenticity and compactness of the whole area is enhanced by the preserved stacks, technical bridges and pipelines from various periods, as well as individuel pieces of technical equipment and other single objects. The most significant and valuable pieces of equipment from the historic point of view are the vertical-tube boilers of the Garbe system from the period between 1914 and 1916, a turbo-compressor from 1922, a @koda mining engine, the gas-driven blowers of the blast furnaces, the shaft station with tub circulation and the so-called old miners' bathrooms. The Vrbice ventilation shaft was built by the Exclusively Privileged Society of the Emperor Ferdinand's Northern Railway after a project from 1911 as a représentative complex situated directly next to the main railway from Vienna to Cracow. The shaft building with ventilation rooms and a head frame therefore did not serve only utilitarian purposes, but it was also a visually impressive object. The shaft ensured the draught degasification of the mine field. The Vrbice ventilation shaft is important not only by the quality of its architecture, but also due to its interior equipment. In the engine hall, a historically unique electric asynchronous haulaàe engine AEG has been preserved since 1916. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, severai new architecturally valuable objects were built in the area (miners' bathrooms, the compresser room and service facilities), respecting the original architectonic concept which offers a free view of the complex from the railroad.