I belong to the generation when many of us spent our childhood holidays in the countryside with our grandparents where we saw how a cow was milked, how butter was made or how bread baked. Today, these activities are harder to find; luckily there are places where you can still experience this kind of village life.
In the Hradec Králové Region, such a place is the open-air museum in Krňovice – the only museum of this type, which concentrates on the architectural and technical monuments of this region, the foothills both of Orlické Hory and Krkonoše. The open-air museum is located in a pleasant, peaceful environment on the border of the national park. You can come here just for a visit or stay here in one of the apartments. The surrounding meadows and forests invite you for a walk or to cycle.
The first building with which the construction of the open-air museum began in 2002, was a small wooden belfry from Orlické Hory. Some buildings were transferred to the open-air museum from their original locations where there had been no one to take care of them and they were in danger of being demolished. The first transferred building was a log granary from the village of Semechnice. Except for the roof, everything is original.
A similar unhappy fate awaited the building from 1750 from the village of Všestary, which served as a school after the introduction of compulsory school attendance in the 18th century. Inside, you will find an exhibition of typical village household equipment.
Another transferred original building is the granary from Prasek, made of hard oak wood.
However, from some of the original buildings only the torso has been preserved – as was the case with the log water mill from 1807 from the village of Běleč nad Orlicí.
The torso was transferred to the open-air museum in 2003. Then a complete reconstruction was carried out, thanks to which today, visitors can admire the two-storey building with functioning grinding equipment, as well as the interior, showing the living style of the miller and his family.
Unfortunately, some buildings were not preserved, but detailed technical documentation or photos remained. This is the case of the windmill from 1855 from the village of Librantice. It was the longest-standing mill in this region, all the others had disappeared at the end of the 19th century. The Librantice mill collapsed only after World War II. Its copy was made according to documentation from 1943, the mill is 11 meters high and its arms cut through the air as high as a 5-story house. I was surprised that such a mill could turn completely around its axis!
Although the open-air museum is small, it has a lot to offer. The entrance building where tickets are sold is a replica of a pub which stood at the square in Hradec Králové until 1926.
Part of the technical background of the pub was also the so-called carriage house – a room where carriages, wagons and machines were stored. Today, there is an exposition of motorbikes, oldtimers and agricultural machinery.
For the reconstruction or construction of replicas, building material typical for local regional construction is used – wood, marlstone and bricks in various combinations. There is also a chapel, a forge and a fruit drying room on the premises, while the original regional varieties of fruit trees, especially apple, pear and plum trees, are planted in the gardens.
It is a private museum, a family hobby – as the owner told us. The operator is the family company Dřevozpracující družstvo (a woodworking cooperative) and the non-profit organization of the Czech Union of Nature Protectors from Hradec Králové. The buildings are thus the work of enthusiasts who invest not only financial resources in the project but mainly their free time. Their goal is to keep the exhibits in a functional state.
For visitors, they also offer demonstrations of traditional crafts and typical activities from the past in the village on certain dates. They also regularly bake bread here. In the Easter and Christmas period, they organize a fair, creative workshops for children and a program on history, traditions and customs. If you are lucky they may surprise you with freshly baked buns…
The beginning of the visitor season is May 1st. Guided tours are for groups with a minimum of 5 people every full hour. Otherwise, you can move around the campus individually with printed text in German or English.
You can also stay at the open-air museum, there is one smaller and one larger apartment in a log house. The entire equipment is made of solid wood.
You will surely make friends with such a nice dog (even me, who has respect for dogs)…
…and children will enjoy seeing other animals as well – they will find geese, chickens, sheep and horses here.
High season: July and August: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (it is closed on Mondays), Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
May, June, September and October: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
More information and contacts: Krňovice
What to see: the unique crib in Třebechovice. Read the article: https://travelpotpourri.net/2023/12/18/the-remarkable-story-of-the-trebechovice-crib/
Where to eat: Since I like to recommend restaurants that I have tried myself and where I truly enjoyed the food, this time I chose Hostinec u Hubálků in the nearby village of Kostelecká Lhota.
Chef Pavel Hubálek’s culinary offer – like the aforementioned open-air museum in Krňovice – guarantees a return to childhood, to the traditional cuisine of Czech grandmothers. The inn is proud of the prestigious brands “Czech specialities” and “Czech regional cuisine”, which additionally guarantees the variety and freshness of seasonal products. And because my grandmother was also from Moravia and I often ate rabbit at her place, I chose fried rabbit meat at this restaurant, while my colleague highly praised the tripe soup.
More information: Hostinec u Hubálků
More information about the region: Hradec Králové Region
Text: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri
Fotos: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri