Stonemasonry in the Říčany Region – Part 1

The rise in stonemasonry in the region east of Říčany dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Until then people built roads and houses from the stone that could be found freely scattered in the landscape. But then a need arose and wall or open pit stone quarries were established in Svojetice, Srbín, Tehovec, Louňovice, Žernovka or Babice. Many of them have been preserved to this day. Holidaymakers, weekenders and locals used the quarries as outdoor swimming pools in the course of the 20th century. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 most of the quarries were sold to private hands. The only active quarry in the area is an open pit quarry Horka in Žernovka (presented in part 2), which will be the first stop in our excursion.

Biotitic granite, also called the Říčany granite, was and still is used as a decorative and building stone, as evidenced by the resplendent pseudo-Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Mukařov from the late 19th century (part 3). The life and work of stonemasons in the region are presented on a 25 km nature trail “In the stonemasons’ footsteps”, which features 13 stops. The first stop is an open air museum in Louňovice (part 4), the next stop is Kaménka (part 5), where one of the foundation stones of the National Theatre in Prague comes from. Near Kaménka there a monitoring station of the Lesní potok (Forest Stream) basin (part 6). Our last stop will be a cemetery in Aldašín near Jevany about 10 km from Louňovice. We will examine tombstones made of different kinds of rocks and with different kinds of finish, and we will talk about several notable people who have found their final resting place there.

Remembering František V. Holub

When tracing the history of stonemasonry in the Říčany Region, we must remember František V. Holub. He was born on 25 October 1949 in Písek. He studied petrography at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, and he completed his studies in 1973 with his thesis “Inclusions in Durbachites and Some Questions on the Genesis of Durbachites”. In 1974 he started teaching at the Faculty of Science, first as an assistant, then lecturer and finally a senior lecturer at the Department of Petrology, then later at the Institute of Petrology and Structural Geology.

In his research Holub always focused on the Čertovo břemeno (Devil’s burden) durbachites found in the Central Bohemian Plutonic Complex. In later years his area of interest expanded to other melanocratic granitoids high in potassium that are found in the southern part of the crystalline complex of the Czech Massif, xenoites and their veins (lamproid magmatism). Holub had his thesis published in the renowned Tschermaks mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen in Vienna. Later he made an impression with a study co-authored with V. Žežulková on the relative age of intrusive rocks of the Central Bohemian Pluton in the Zvíkov Region, i.e. in the southern part of the Central Bohemian Plutonic Complex, based on observations of rocky outcrops near the Orlík Reservoir on the Vltava River, which proved the relations to be more complex than previously thought. Holub also studied the synthesis of the Central Bohemian Plutonic Complex and the magnetism of moldanubianum, ultra-potassium rocks in the bedrock of the Bohemian Cerateous Basin, neovolcanic rocks in the Central Bohemian Uplands and Doupov Mountains, and magmatites in general in other parts of the Bohemian Massif. He studied volcanic rocks in various geotectonic environments abroad, e.g. in Nicaragua and James Ross Island in Antarctica. František V. Holub was a member of the Czechoslovak Society for Mineralogy and Geology, and later of the Czech Geological Survey. He died on 20 July 2015 in Prague.

For World of Stone provided by authors:
Barbora Dudíková Schulmannová, Vojtěch Janoušek, Tomáš Navrátil,
Václav Rybařík and Pavel Vlašímský
Photo: Photo: V. Janoušek 2010
František V. Holub examining a rock….