The Castle of Old Pilsen – the cradle of the royal city and the whole region
Starý Plzenec is the cradle of the royal city of Pilsen. The heart of the city definitely is the Castle of Old Pilsen (the Castle). Joining the ArcheoDanube Programme gave us an exceptional opportunity to transform this heritage into an archaeological park. By creating the Local Archeo Plan (LAP) the first step to the archaeological park was taken. The Castle needs to be reminded live and in interpretation and presentation without losing its specific character and genius loci. In cooperation with archaeologists, historians, tourism, marketing and media experts, the city deputies and regional authorities and NGOs the main priorities were defined. The meetings of this local stakeholder group were very valuable.
In the LAP we put emphasis on the heritage protection where the priority is to remedy the state of disrepair of the heritage while its remains are uncovered and the whole area is attacked by erosion - natural and as an impact of the not regulated movement of visitors. This could be done by wooden steps or bridges, new entrance ways from different sides to give the visitors alternatives for their sight-seeing. It is also necessary to sensitively reduce the greenery and maintain it, while the landscape of the Castle is under vegetation, forestation and succession and it is not visible and somewhere even not accessible. Extension of the protected heritage area and uniting the land ownership under the city would be helpful.
The heritage itself definitely needs proper interpretation and presentation and the best solution is to present the City of Starý Plzenec as one destination: one place that offers a wide range of activities for its visitors as points of interest, services and infrastructure with defined system of logistics and navigation for visitors, all together under one marketing strategy and one branding. The Castle area will have linked points of interpretation, will offer guided tours and new presentation elements and lookouts. Reconstruction area with presentation of livestock as goats or sheep is also one of the ideas. Top solutions for visitors would be centre with facilities, offering educational programmes for individuals or families coming for a short trip or larger organised groups including students.
To support the actions taken in the LAP we mapped the area with all the existing as well as the newly suggested solutions (extent of the heritage, land ownership, vegetation, state of disrepair, entrance ways, navigational and informational system etc.).Generally, it is necessary to protect the site as a unique historical and natural place with specific features, mood and so-called genius loci and not to change it too much from close view and also from the outer perspective.