The blast furnace Barbora in Jince could become one of the greatest tourist attractions in Brdy in future. It is a national technical monument, similar European furnaces are only in Germany and France. The small town Jince is gradually saving the dilapidating Barbora.
„Only in our place the whole compound, including adjacent buildings, is preserved. It is because the furnace itself is a cone standing by itself. Next to it, there are buildings where the tapping was made and other production processes went on, “the mayor of Jince, Mr. Josef Hala said.
With exaggeration, he compares Brdy and its surrounding to Bali. „Last year, I was there with my son and daughter-in-law for holiday. There is poverty but the island is gradually recovering and it is only due to tourism. And this is what could happen also to Brdy if municipalities support tourism like I do, “describes Hala who bets just on Barbora.
„It was essential to possess the blast surface and to repair the roof. Otherwise we could not save the building, “the mayor explains.
According to Lubos Gardon, the manager of Destination Agency of Brdy, which cooperates with municipalities in the region from Horovice to Spalene Porici regarding tourism development, Barbora is going to be even greater attraction than nearby hammer in Dobriv. „In Europe, that is the last Valon blast furnace producing iron with such well-preserved facilities, “he described.
He reminded that in Valon blast furnace the iron was melted in the classic way using charcoal. „We plan also an exposition of metallurgy where the production from the outset will be described because since 1260 Jince had a permission from Vaclav II to process iron. There will be also an information centre by Barbora with the examples of Jince trilobites which will present the geological and paleontological part of Brdy, too, “the mayor lists.
In Barbora, there will be a commemorative hall of the Czech composer and violinist Josef Slavik, born in Jince. Although he lived only to the age of 27, for his virtuosity he used to be called a Bohemian Paganini. This year, 186 years passed since his death.
The mayor Hala plans also a replica of charcoal kiln so that the visitors can see how charcoal was produced. There shall be also an amphitheatre for summer festivities and concerts.
The mayor estimates that the reconstruction of the furnace will cost about 40 million CZK and that one of the surrounding including the amphitheatre about 10 million CZK.
The management of the small town counts also on money from so called Norwegian funds. That is why last year Mr. Hala with his colleague visited Norway and its technical monuments.
„One of the requirements for getting money for the project is the support of a Norwegian partner. We succeeded in acquiring 2 experts who had already realised similar projects in the Czech Republic, and they took part in projects all over the world, “the mayor said.
The experts like the location of the furnace in the very centre of Europe
The Jince representatives took their Norwegian guests also to another technical monument, the Mining Museum in Pribram. „When they arrived to Jince, they were slightly disconcerted by the small town. However, when they saw the blast furnace, they changed their mind. We believe that we can get money also because the compound is so large “, the mayor means.
The Norwegian experts also liked the fact that the furnace is located in the very centre of Europe. „They saw it as an opportunity to create a basement for beginning craftsmen who could learn here how to repair historical monuments “, Mr. Hala explains.
According to his opinion, the tourism in Brdy has increased recently. However, the accommodation facilities are missing. „That all will come. It is important for local people to understand it. And that will happen in the moment when the tourists will bring them financial profit “, he thinks.
Barbora could be a touristic magnet
„When we finished the nature trail, I was distributing a promotional small map to pubs in surrounding. Some of local people wondered why I did it. For the time being they do not comprehend the benefits of tourism. I estimate that this is a question of five years,” the mayor added.
According to Mr. Gardon, also Barbora will contribute to it as it could become a touristic magnet.
He estimates that in case of getting money from the Norwegian funds, the reconstruction could be finished in two years. „It is pretty optimistic but I hope in it “, says Mr. Hala adding that the last point for the building permit is the solution of the problem of accessibility of firemen´s cars in case of fire as they cannot go through nearby viaduct. “But even this problem is finally solved, “he states.