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18. 10. 2018

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Perštejn

When the settlement Perštejn exactly rose is not known up to now, its origins however refers to the castle Perštejn, whose name it was given. First record about the castle dates back to the year 1344 and it might be assumed that the settlement originated soon thereafter as lords of the castle were involved in fast settlement of the area around the castle. From the year 1431 there are records available about several buildings, lying in the area of today´s Perštejn, a pub and a mill are concerned, first known report on the village dates as back as 1468.

Name of the village has undergone a number of changes, in the past Perštejn was mentioned as Purstein, its popular name was Peršta, in the German original literature it is called Luftkurort – climatic spa, resort, or also Meran of the Ore Mountains.

We know unfortunately very little on the oldest history of Perštejna, as all documents and memorial books had been lost in the time of disasters which hit the chateau of Klášterec in the years 1639 and 1784. For certain we can say that in times when first inhabitants came to settle Perštejn part of local land had belonged to inhabitants of the near villages Černýš, Rájov and Ondřejov. Also mining and manufacture of iron, first iron hammers are known from the year 1352 already.

In the early 16th century the castle Perštejn became dilapidated, which had impact on living around the castle, this adverse period didn´t take long. As early as 1540 there is a hammer recorded in the village, in 1577 here was also a blast furnace and Perštejn thus began to be considered as one of ironworks ceentres of the Ore Mountains. However not only iron ore had been mined here, it was also silver. Due to rumours on local silver mines one company opened here in 1870 one local half-filled up gallery, in which was indeed found ore containing silver. Due to too high costs needed for mining recovery the works were stopped.

At the end of the 16th century predominated the Protestant faith around Perštejn (and even at Perštejn itself). In Boča, to the parish of which also inhabitants of Perštejn belonged, lived Kryštof of Fictum, owner of the Klášterec dominion, to which those times had belonged also Perštejn. He was also Protestant and during the Estates Uprising he was one of its leaders. He died during uprising, he was however condamned to loss of his fortune after the defeat in the battle at the White Mount. In 1623 a new holder of the dominion of Klášterec became Kryštof Šimon Thun. He was a Catholic and promoted forcible recatholization in his dominion. The pastor of Boča as well as a local teacher both had to leave and Perštejn, together with Černýš, Rájov and Údolíčko were assigned to the parish of Klášterec.

In the following years the Thirty Years´War ravaged causing wreak havoc at Perštejn. In the years 1633, 1634, 1639, 1642 and 1645 the village was repeatedly assaulted by Swedish soldiers, who were looting and plundering, a lot of houses burnt down here and a great number of Protestants left due to war hardships. After the war there were no large farms here any more, also the local hammer was destroyed during the war.

There lived also one of the most significant families of Pernštejn who could thank their lucky stars that they hadn´t nearly been touched by the Thirty Years´War, which meant disaster for the whole village. The family Schoffel is concerned. The Schoffels owned those days a few mills, a pub favoured from 1649 by inheritance with many privileges and they were also allowed to bake bread and rolls for hammerers, slaught cattle and hold a smithy.

The life at Perštejn began after the war to get slowly back on the rails, activities in business and building arrived again, cattle breeding spread out, Schoffel´s mill was considerably larger – it had 4 wheels – and in addition to Perštejn itself there milled other 6 villages. Since mid 17th century ironworks was the most important Perštejn´s enterprise. It included also two bar hammers and ore and slag crushing plant. Ore was supplied here from the mines Klášterecká Jesen, Údolíčko, Mýtinky and above all from Slečna in Mezilesí. In 1743 ironworks was extended by a hammer for manufacture of nail making iron.

At Eastern 1680 broke out a country uprising in Klášterec dominion. Therein took part also Kryštof Schoffel´s son Jiří, probably because the manorial nobility hadn´t given him the right to all father´s rights and privileges after his death in 1675. The uprising was supressed by the troops dispatched from Žatec, and Jiří Schoffel was condamned to death and forfeiture of the pub. He managed to escape in time, he lost however his property.

In addition to the part of Perštejn also the upper part of the valley above Perštejn called Finkelstein began to come alive. About early of the 18th century Kristián Vetter, K. Schoffel´s son-in-law built here a paperwork with a few buildings and 4 pulp-mills. Nearly at the same time with this „lower paperworks“ the manorial nobility built s.c. „upper paperworks“ in the building no. 20. Having burnt down in 1756 the lower paperworks has never been recovered for fear that two paperworks wouldn´t be able to earn their living. The upper paperworks was by manorial nobility in 1722 handed over to Josef Hergl. He was allowed to set up, at his own expenses, another three pulp-mills to existing five ones. He had however to provide manufacture of high quality paper and to provide manorial nobility with amount as required by it and for more at actual low price.

This new field of manufacture brought much benefit for the village. Until 1732 the village had missed a church, people thus had to go to church as far as to Klášterec. In 1724 had the paperworks owner built a chapel near his house, consecrated to St. Joseph, he fitted it with all kinds of church outfit and a bell and a priest from Klášterec had celebrated the Mass there since 1732. In 1773 hired out Hergl´s heirs the paperworks, which was already fitted with a new hollander, to Jan Frass of Vejprty. There was also a pulp-mill by the paperworks for manufacture of linseed oil those days, run by Ignác Schoffel. In 1798 the paperworks had to be sld to František Dick, miller from Vejprty.

In 1784 there was built a wire plant on lower paperworks´site of a fire, called „upper plant“. It was built by the family Grunda, one of the richest Perštejn´s families. It was this wire plant´s duty to intake iron only from the manor ironworks without disturbing operation of the mill in Lužný (through retaining of water). The Grundas held the wire plant until 1825, when they sold it toVáclav Plach of Lužný.

By end of the 18th century the chapel was too small due to increasing number of population, it was in addition for majority of parishioners too far to get there. There was therefore built up a temporary wood little church in the village in 1788. In July in the same year there was set up a cemetery in the manor field, cancelled as late as in the early 60ies of the 20th century. As it soon came evident the church construction hadn´t been solid enough, it was derisively called „perštejn´s shed for sheep“, its state was such bad that in a short time it was in danger of falling down. Thus a new church had to be built up. This was finished in 1797 and consecrated to St. Vendelín.

The school of Perštejn rose under Maria Theresia. The lessons first took place in an old chateau mill and then followed other, the same unsuitable sites.In 1787 the first permanent teacher was established here, there wasn´t however any school building yet. Situation wwent on to be worse, e.g. in 1793 even 98 children had to move closer together into one room. In 1801 there was at last built up first own school building here. Even this one proved soon unsufficient and it had to be rebuilt.

Beginning of the 19th century is in Perštejn characterized through building. It concerned construction of a number of new houses, in 1802 a new pub was built up called „Zum Eisenhammer“ (at the Hammers´) – today there is situated a library. Also a new road was constructed between Karlovy Vary and Teplice.

Consumption of wood in ironworks was too high those days and the plant was getting unprofitable. In the years 1815 – 1827 ironworks was leased to the businessman of Prague Gruss, then taken over by manorial nobility again. They were doing their best to recover the ironworks – in1832 the earl Thun had the old blast furnace pulled down and built a new one, all turned however useless. Although in 1840 about 50 persons were still employed here, and 1000 centners forgeable iron and 500 cast iron were manufactured here (centner = approx. 50 kg), the local foundry, where boilers, stove plates, rails and the like were manufactured, had an excellent reputation, costs were however continuously rising, until the lower ironworks turned at last into the sawmill and manufacture of shingles. Remaining plants of the ironworks were in 1864 sold to an independent lord of Riese-Stallburg. This tried to cut costs replacing wood with brown coal, he had however failed and works in the ironworks were completely brought to an end. The main hammer turned into an armament workshop.

It was not only the ironworks, who faced problems. Also the lower wire plant had twice changed its manufacture until it burned down in 1848 and turned after 1854 to a mill. The same hit also the hammer for manufacture of barrels. Either the paperworks didn´t do well, its operation had to be limited. In 1862 it was sold to the brothers Kuhnel, who completely remade the whole operation and thus recovered the manufacture. It resulted in manufacture for export.

In 1850 villages became self-governing units. In the following period the village should have turned out better due to this change, it was however on the contrary. Hard times arrived in Perštejn due to decline of main businesses and bobbin lacemaking, bringing living for a number of families. Even some deaths of hunger took place here. And in addition inhabitants of Perštejn began to be tormented by frequent natural disasters. For example in 1850 lightning struck a rock and a piece split off the rock fell down on the house no 59... The most destructive consequences for the village resulted from frequent floods. The worst one was likely to have been on 27th May 1868, by a terrible rainstorm brooks burst their banks. Connection to settlements in the mountains got cut off and the brook from Rájov mounded up such an amount of stones that it made up a dike. The brook from Vykmanov couldn´t resist it and changed its direction. It blew off any barrier on its way. People couldn´t but escape up the hills and wait what will follow…

These bad times had fortunately not taken long. New businesses soon began to set up in Perštejn providing job options again. It was a new paperworks in the house no. 20, producing filter papers, manufacture was opened by the firm making cork stoppers, in 1885 there was established Rossner´s carton factory, making variety of etuis, boxes of chocolates, cassettes for chemists, jewellers, perfumeries and for cutleries. Also mouth organs and strings were made here. The factory had its own printing works and joinery and exported to Sweden and Norway. In 1886 Josef Brunner opened manufacture of wood articles and slates.

Also extension of the railway from Prague through Chomutov up to Cheb helped develop the local industry. The line was put into operation on October 9 1871, and so was a post office opened in Perštejn in the same year.

Along with development of industry in towns people of towns came to be interested in nature. Perštejn thus became a popular resort, especially after a mineral water spring had been discovered by a manorial sawmill.

As the end of the 19th century also an early 20th century was very successful for Perštejn. As early as in 1900 Ludvík Breitfeld bought a small plant for posaments (?), which had well functioned here since 1864, he modernized it, installed a steam engine, used a water stream found near here to drive two turbines and he had his own power supply. Braids, laces, fringe, tapes and threads made of rayon were made here. In 1906 Hermann Pickart´s firm was transferred from Dubí u Teplic to Perštejn. In this location it´s name was „First Perštejn factory for manufacture of saws and tools“ and began its work in the house no 20, bought by Pickart together with manufacture of paper. As early as in 1917 he sold these buildings and moved the whole enterprise to Okounov. The paperwork was then taken over by the Kuhnels again. Since 1911 there was another firm in Perštejn, making saws and wood-cutting tools. Its owners were brothers Alten. This firm built up a new building in 1924, later used as Sokol club. The trade mark of the firm – a hunter´s hut – itś available to see even these days on this building. In 1919 there was set up another firm in the village - Eduard Roscher, manufacture of tools and punch and threads cutters.

In Perštrejn there were these days established some clubs, such as a monetary institute, voluntary firemen club, Male choir (part of which was also female choir), gymnastics club, whose salon orchestra gave concerts ans theatre performances and Krušnohorský club Perštejn. The local school was 5-class one, together with an extension traders course for students aged 15 to18 years and one class of Czech school, although there lived only few Czechs here.

There were established some more enterprises in the village after World War I:: Franz Knitel – manufacture of quilts, Wilhelm Placht – stove-fitting, pottery and manufacture of cookers, Josef Schoffl – sawmill, Marie Tschochnerová – sawmill and manufacture of shingles. All these firms managed to survive even the World War II. In addition there were here 6 small plants: Anton Frank – manufacture of braids, Franz Gamisch – manufacture and sale of gingerbreads and sweets, Artur Guiber – manufacture of spirits, Hugo Hirsch – trade and manufacture of braids, Wenzel Salzer – joinery and wood-cutting machines workshop and Eduard Ziener – manufacture of trimmings of natural materials. These plants are however not mentioned any more after World War II..

Such as everywhere around Czechia also in Perštejn relationships between Czech and german population began to get worse in mid 30ies. The nearer to the year 1938, the more strained situation there was in the village. In the May election in 1938 GermanSdP gained 27 out of 30 seats in the local council, there came to slight conflicts and incidents between Czechs and Germans …On September 30 1938 came Munich followed by occupation of the Sudeten by German troops. The war was inexorably near. On October 3 1938 Perštejn was occupied by the German Army.

First the Germans thought that things would go better again. Even some plans came true, to which there were no money in the times of the world crisis in the 30ies. A new water mains from Údolíčko was set up, a local pond behind old ironworks was drained and a modern bathing pool began to be built on its place, also a cemetery established in 1930 was extended…War consequences had reached soon even here. Men went away to the front, their positions were replaced with women, called up from Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and even from the UdSSR and later also war prisoners to do forced labour in Nazi Germany. For example only in agriculture worked about 40 Poles and Russians. Duty to work concerned even 80-year citizens and not reporting for work was punished. Later on evacuees from the East began to come here followed at last by refugees from the east front. They were about 2000. In addition to these troubles and shortage of goods Perštejn was not touched too much by war. Though in 1944 fell here a few bombs, these however didn´t cause any damage. Continual shelling of the railway and road from Karlovy Vary constituted a certain threat for the village by end of the war, however no harm resulted therefrom for the village. On December 16 1943 an American fighter of the type Mustang crashed near Perštejn. His pilot, lieutenant Wilson burnt to death in the plane. He was burried on the cemetery of Perštejn and later his mortal remains were brought to the cemetery of Olšany in Prague. His war memorial was unveiled in the village in the early 90ies.

After World War II had finished German population was evacuated. Unless Czech settlers began to come here since as early as in May, Perštejn would be nearly depopulated. Local enterprises got by most under national government and some relatively successfully went on in their activities. Thie however resulted in complete putting off their operation or they were taken over by firms from inland. For example Breitfeld was thus incorporated into the national enterprise Spojené továrny na stuhy Dobruška, the paperworks as well as Rossner into Západočeské papírny Plzeň etc. This impacts nearly wound up enterprises in Perštejn, only the paperworks and „breitfeld“ survived, even though first as a military laundry and military clothes, linen and shoewear repairs. Since mid 50ies the factory was taken over by producers´cooperative VKUS Teplice and since then up to now they have made sleeping bags and ready-made clothing.

Soon after liberation local life began to recover – three Czech school classes were opened, a Czech fire brigade was established, Sokol, Skaut, theatre unit „Hraničář“ and also a cooperative enterprise Včela was opened. In October 1945 a permanent garrison was allocated in Perštejn. Boom in sports activities took place in the 50ies. There took place e.g. a regional championship in football, table tennis, volleyball, TJ Spartak followed up to Sokol tradition.

Demolitions of old, inconvenient or empty houses took place in the 60ies. The 70ies were quiet in Perštejn, without any distinctive involvments in everyday life, changes related to considerable progress weren´t brought until end of the 80ies. There were built a number of new beautiful villas, House of services here and in the years 1992 – 1996 installation of gas was performed. Perštejn became a significant holday area again. Although status of mainframe villages expired in 1990, Perštejn substantially remained a mainframe village with its parts Černýš, Lužný, Ondřejov, Rájov, Údolíčko and Vykmanov.

In 1992 there was established a district department of police of the CR here, this year Perštejn accepted the programme „Obnova vesnice“ (recovery of th village). In 1993 it became part of Ore Mountains information centre, in September this year there was opened a new bridge across the Perštejn valley, due to which traffic and ecological stress of the lower part of Perštejn was considerably limited. In 1997 the village was awarded with a green ribbon for care for a green area in the competition „Vesnice roku“ (the village of the year).

Perštejn has gone through great changes recently. There rose new restaurants and boarding houses here, number of shops and services has extended, mailing service and sale of food and magazines moved away into a new business and service centre, there is in addition a nice sports ground with tennis courts, one of the most attractive bathing pools around district with bungalows for lodging summer guests … Since 1993 local school has had a new facade, whose colour treatment was designed by children themselves. In 1996 a unique biological STP was put into operation. Redevelopment of the St. Vendelín church is under planning for the future, in its rooms should be established a museum of declined villages of the district. Below the hotel and the restaurant Formule should in addition be created a commemoration grove, where there were placed big stones between trees and paths, similar to menhirs, provided with names of each ara of declined villages.

Perštejn is today a well looking, very promissingly developing village representing for many people from broad surroundings a site to enjoy relax and holiday.


Referrences: Bílek, J., Jangl, L., Urban,J. Dějiny hornictví na Chomutovsku
Chomutov 1976
Binterová, Z. Perštejn a okolí. Chomutov 1999
Chytilův Místopis Československé republiky. Praha 1930
Kotyška, V. Úplný místopisný slovník Království českého. Praha 1895
Urban, J. F. Potulky Kadaňskem II, III. 1935, 1936