Under the Austrian Eagle – development of the town from the second half of the 19th century to 1918


The demolition of the Jihlava fortress and the subsequent removal of the bastion fortification from 1783 caused a gradual expansion of the suburban development. The low pressure on the expansion of the town was probably primarily caused by the economic downturn, culminating in a deep crisis in the weaving industry in the middle of the 19th century. Gradual economic development in the second half of the 19th century brought about the late arrival of industrial enterprise. Until 1918, the wealthy business class and the City Council were overwhelmingly made up of Jihlava's German-speaking population, often of Jewish faith, which undoubtedly had an influence on the award of major construction contracts to German designers and builders.

It was not until the demolition of all the remaining city gates between 1845 and 1849 that a major impetus was given to expand beyond the borders of the old town. At the same time, the medieval walls were broken through on Benešova Street, connecting it to Žižkova Street, thanks to which the western Gate of the Mother of God (Brána Matky Boží) was preserved. The removal of the walls on Husova Street, which transversally connected the entire northern side of the inner city, enabled a convenient connection to the hitherto almost undeveloped north-western area from 1868. The suburbs were slowly taking shape in three main directions – north, north-west, and west of the walls, in which the convenient terrain and the important roads passing through played a significant role. The northern suburb was called Špitálské after the location of the infirmary and later hospital, the western suburb was named Matiční or Panenské, and to the south was Brtnické, named after the neighbouring village. In the valley around the Jihlávka River on the eastern side, a space was left for a forest park called Heulos.

Following the establishment of the Bohemian-Moravian Transversal Railway in 1886, the city railway station and a group of viaducts over the Jánské Valley on the northern edge of the town were built, and the first regulatory plan of the modern town was developed. Its main incentive was the creation of a north-south axis – now Legionářů Avenue. In 1891, the city walls on Palackého Street were broken through for this purpose. According to the plan, the axis was intersected perpendicularly by Tolstého Street, which led to another newly regulated district – Josefské Square (now Svobody Square). In 1891, as part of the emerging urban planning concept, the newly established park with the Church of the Holy Spirit (Kostel svatého Ducha) on the site of the former cemetery was connected to this district. The main city cemetery was moved to the western edge of the city near the newly established Jewish cemetery. The councillors had a complete regulatory plan of the entire city made in 1896 by the Liberec company Bechmann and Strádal. The plan proposed to leave a free green belt around the city walls on the site of the former fortification. In the end, open park zones were only created locally on the north and west side, but even so, it was a progressive idea, and can be seen applied in other cities such as Olomouc or Brno.

A visually dominant crossing of five streets with prominent buildings, characterised by corner cylindrical turrets or roundels, was created on Legionářů Avenue. The first project there was a multi-purpose school building with a town museum and library by the Viennese architects Heinrich Claus and Moritz Hinträger. From 1890, it was complemented by the neighbouring Grammar School building by Josef Karásek on Jana Masaryka Street. At the same time, the monumental Palace of Justice building (Justiční palác) was being constructed on Tolstého Street nearby by Jihlava builders under the supervision of Friedrich Geilhofer, chief engineer of the Ministry of the Interior. Its Neo-Baroque shell is reminiscent of the Viennese state buildings from the same period. The gap site between Lang's house and the museum part of the German Boys' School (Německá chlapecká škola) was filled in 1908 by the Girls’ Municipal School (Dívčí měšťanská škola). The design of the building, drawing inspiration from the Nordic Neo-Renaissance, was made by the Jihlava builder Kajetán Malnati. Neo-Renaissance was also applied to the façade of another school building by the same author – the Girls' Lyceum on Křížová Street, completed in 1910. This new building crowned the intensive construction of school buildings located in the Špitálské suburb. Another important public building is the Jewish synagogue, built between 1862 and 1863 on today's Benešova Street according to the design by the builder Eduard Rathauský. But it did not avoid Nazi destruction in 1939. The electric tramway line began operating in the city in 1909, and ran from the Main Train Station to the centre of the square. It was connected with the creation of the municipal power plant on Havlíčkova Street and the Art Nouveau U Jánů Bridge by Josef Melan and Konrad Kluge.


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Objects on the trail