Monday, 28 June 2010

Hammermill Pond

Midway between Vršovice and Hostivař (see yesterday's post) lies the township of Záběhlice, once a small village with a castle, a fortress, and a mill. In the 1920s improvised slum housing sprang up all around, eventually making way for the panelaks you can see in the background, a housing estate ironically known as 'Garden City'.

In the foreground is the millpond itself, 'Hamerský Rybník', named after the 'hamr' or hammer mill which in the eighteenth century was the centre of the hamlet's copper-making industry. Readers may recall that the Botič stream, which powered the mill, played a significant part in the Hussite war of 1420. When they drained the pool in the 1960s, they found the remains of a fortress of Wenceslas IV destroyed in that same war.

They also found quantities of early mediaeval pottery, which makes good sense, as the petite romanesque church of the Virgin Mary in today's picture dates from the 12th century. Today it presides over a recently restored and rejuvenated millpond which has become a haven for wildlife and day-trippers.

Legend has it that a white lady used to haunt the castle at Záběhlice, until the bells of this very church (which she could not abide) scared the unfortunate spirit away...


Jilly said...

So pretty and good to know this is an area full of wildlife. Seems to me there is barely an area of Vrsovice and surroundings that doesn't have fascinating history that you tell so well.

Alex Went said...

Thanks, Jilly. I'm getting to know this stream quite well now!

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