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Bezovka

The Bezovka building constituted a distinctive dominant ending the Prokopova Avenue.  Originally a homestead with an inn, it was ostentatiously remodelled in the 1870’s and became Žižkov’s cultural and social centre. There were dances, balls and fancy dress parties; it was used as a gym for the Workers’ Gymnastics Club. Bezovka also hosted club meetings as well as exhibitions and film screenings. In March 1904, Žižkov’s first cinema operated by a pioneer of Czech cinematography, Dismas Šlambor using the assumed name of Viktor Ponrepo used the premises for ten days.  Summer screenings occurred in the Bezovka garden.  

According to the period news, the jury made a decision on the designs for Bezovka remodelling on June 4, 1909. There were 17 in total; the first prize was awarded to Jan Bažant, engineer, and Antonín Papež, architect; runners-up were Josef Šejn, engineer, and Vladimír Zakrejs, architect. The plans for the Society House in Žižkov (Bezovka) were presented to the public from June 27, 1910 at the Žižkov Town Hall. The plans were drawn by František Cuc and Beneš Pešina of Žižkov, Vojtěch Pikl and Václav Vejrych of Vinohrady, brothers V. and F. Kavalír of Prague and a Brno architect, Jar. Syřiště.

Bezovka was alive with social and political events all over: on Friday, December 26, 1884, a new play called Jan Žižka of Trocnov was presented at a fundraiser for the building of Žižka’s monument; on January 16, 1886, the Žižkov Sokol had its annual gala there.  Bezovka received a visit by the US Sokols who supported the efforts to build a dignified monument for Jan Žižka on June 22, 1887 – the collection yielded 135 Austro-Hungarian guldens. On February 19, 1891, Bezovka hosted a voters’ meeting of the Liberal Party in Žižkov, while the Art and Trade Association held its 10th anniversary celebration, a patriotic festivity, on June 14, and the ceremonial consecration of the flag of the Community of butchers, meat-curers and meat traders for the district of Královské Vinohrady (which included Žižkov) was held on August 15, 1891. The participants gathered at Bezovka on the eve of the event already. On the day, both Žižkov and Vinohrady put on a festive appearance and the improvised Jan Žižka statue was re-erected on Vítkov and illuminated by electric lights. The charitable and amusement club, Žižkovan, organised a promenade concert with dancing at Bezovka in favour of a Christmas tree for poor children on November 5, 1892.  The event was held and raised 150 guldens. The Bezovka inn also hosted the election of the committee of the Jewish religious community of Žižkov on February 25, 1894. In May 1931, there were celebrations of Žižkov’s 50th anniversary. On April 29, 1936, Bezovka was the venue of the first boxing match; however, it was also the year when the inn was demolished due to the extension of Prokopova Street towards Olšany. 

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