Home of Kladruber horses to seek UNESCO world heritage status

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Kladruber horses in harness. Photo: Lubomír Havrda CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Kladruber horses in harness. Photo: Lubomír Havrda CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The historic Czech national stud will submit formal documentation in September to the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO in the hope it will be listed as World Heritage Site.

The process is likely to take two years or more while the application is formally assessed.

The stud, which is the home of the rare Kladruber breed, will be assessed against other historic horse studs around the globe.

The Czech national stud complex at Kladruby nad Labem has been a national cultural heritage site since 2002.

The stud farm was established by Emperor Rudolph II in 1579.

It is one of the oldest horse studs in the world, breeding around 500 Kladruber horses annually. They are the only original Czech breed.

The small village of Kladruby nad Labem, which is built around the stud, has around 820 inhabitants.

Black Kladruber stallions in Prague. Photo: Hanka Čertík CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Black Kladruber stallions in Prague. Photo: Hanka Čertík CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The first references to horse breeding at Kladruby nad Labem in written sources dates back to the early 14th century.

Later, in 1560 the Czech state purchased the region of Pardubice Demesne, including the stud farm, from the Pernštejn family to donate it to Emperor Maxmilian II Hapsburg.

On Emperor Maxmilian’s order, horses of Spanish and Italian stock were brought to Kladruby.

On March 6, 1579, Emperor Rudolf II issued a decree to establish a stud farm of the Imperial Court, comprising the area of the Kladruby game hunting preserve.

In the first third of the 18th century, the site reached one of its peaks in architectural, town-planning and landscaping terms. However, it was the Classicist period that gave the stud farm its current appearance.

Major construction work took place between 1823 and 1845 and the development of the site in construction terms was essentially completed at the end of that period.

Several buildings in a similar style were added later, in the second half of the 19th century, to finish off the form and appearance of the stud farm from an architectural and planning point of view.

Until 1918, the use of the Kladruber coach horses followed the rigorous rules of Spanish etiquette – they primarily served for extraordinary court ceremonies.

In 1918, the stud farm passed into the hands of the Czechoslovak state.

The cultural landscape of the stud farm at Kladruby nad Labem is said to represent a unique living phenomenon of Central European cultural heritage that has not been preserved anywhere else to such a high standard.

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