Not just one, but two historical buildings at once at the premises of the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery have been officially listed as Cultural Heritage items. The water tower, which celebrated a hundredth anniversary last year, and the Brewery Gate, erected 116 ago, are put on the Czech Republic’s Cultural Heritage list. Moreover, the motif of the Brewery Gate has appeared on the gold commemorative coin from the “Industrial Heritage Sites” series. The coin was inaugurated by officials of the Czech National Bank led by its governor Zdeněk Tůma at a press conference in the Pilsen brewery.
The gold commemorative coin “Heritage Site – Brewery at Pilsen” has face value of CZK 2,500 while its collecting value is far higher. The coin designer was academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů. It has been ceremonially put in circulation by the Czech National Bank just today.
“We feel greatly honoured that the Czech National Bank chose the Brewery Gate of the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery to become one of the motifs of the commemorative coins. Moreover, together with the water tower the Gate were honoured to be listed as Cultural Heritage Sites, which proves the architectural and cultural value of both the structures. The Cultural Heritage status commits us to voluntarily continue to duly care not for the two structures only, but for all the legacy that our ancestors left us. In the case of the brewery it’s not just the architectonical heritage; the most precious legacy is the Pilsner Urquell beer, the beer that has been brewing in Pilsen for 166 years,” says Jindřiška Eliášková of Plzeňský Prazdroj.
Commemorative gold coin “Heritage Site – Brewery at Pilsen”
Description of the coin
The obverse of the coin bears a composition of heraldic animals from the large state coat of arms. Below the composition of heraldic animals there is an image of the brew kettles. Along the left and right upper rims runs the “KULTURNÍ PAMÁTKY TECHNICKÉHO DĚDICTVÍ” (Industrial Heritage Sites) inscription in an incomplete circle. Between the heraldic animal composition and the image of the brew kettles the state name “ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA” is written. The face value of CZK 2,500 together with the currency denomination is located by the bottom rim.
The reverse of the coin features the Brewery Gate of the Burgers’ Brewery in Pilsen through which the brewery premises can be seen. Below the Brewery Gate there is a row of beer barrels in detail. Along the left and right rims of the coin runs the “PIVOVAR V PLZNI” inscription in an incomplete circle which is interrupted by the year of mintage 2008.
The winning design of the coin arose from an open anonymous competition which took place in October 2007 in the Czech National Bank, with 27 artists taking part. The committee awarded the first prize to the design by academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů and recommended its implementation.
The Czech Mint Plant minted the coins of 999.9 gold in two alternative versions, a standard one and the “proof” version which is different from the standard one in the final surface and rim finish. In the “proof” version, the empty fields of the coin are highly polished while the raised pattern is matted, with a smooth rim. Coins of the standard quality have the rim engrailed. The coin diameter is 22 mm, weight 7.78 g, and it is 1.6 mm thick.
Each coin shall be accompanied by a red catalogue card with the coin description and raised image.
The “Industrial Heritage Sites” series, issued by the Czech National Bank between 2006 to 2010, aims at commemorating major national heritage sites of the country to the wide public. The selection of heritage monuments presented in the series wants to cover a varied range of monuments as well as different regions of Bohemia and Moravia. All coins issued in the series have face value of CZK 2500, diameter 22 mm, and weigh 7.78 g (a quarter troy ounce).
Private individuals can purchase the commemorative coins from CNB through outlets authorised in numismatic trading.
The Brewery Gate
The Brewery Gate to the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery, formerly the Burgers’ Brewery in Pilsen, was erected in 1892 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Burgers’ Brewery foundation. The idea of the Board was that the gate should render the size and significance of the Burgers’ Brewery. Out of three designs presented, the one by Pilsner architect Emanuel Klotz was selected.
The architecture of the gate derives from the classical triumphal arch. The apertures consist of two fully arched drive-in entrances, and two side pedestrian gates with flat head jamb. The construction itself is the work of the brewery master-builder František Němec. The bottom part of the gate with massive rustic masonry is made of granite from nearby Štěnovice; this substructure was delivered by the stonemasonry shop of Jan Cingroš. Above the surbase rises the upper part of the gate made of Hořice sandstone. The sculptural decoration on the top of the gate comes from the workshop of Prague sculptor V. Žďánský. The iron gates and decorative wrought latticework in the frontals come from the artistic locksmith shop of Jan Klotz.
The water tower
The water tower forms an outstanding feature of the Pilsen skyline and is one of the major industrial heritage sites in the region. What is also unique is the well preserved condition of the technological equipment.
The decision to erect a water tower was adopted by the Board of the Burgers’ Brewery in Pilsen in 1902. The tower was to become a part of the new complex of buildings and facilities to ensure sufficient water supply and its rational distribution.
The water tower construction contractor was Pilsner master-builder Eduard Kroh. Construction works began in August 1905. The inside technological equipment was co-supplied by Škodovy závody, a.s. Pilsen, Austrian Siemens-Schuckert works, Elektrotechnická akciová společnost Kolben a spol. from Prague, and others. Bricks used for its construction came from the Pilsen brickworks of Emanuel Klotz. The tower houses two water reservoirs (the upper one holding 552m3, the lower one 254m3). The water tower was put into operation in autumn 1907.
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