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History of the town of Šumperk

The founding of Šumperk cannot be dated exactly, because the founding deed of the town was not preserved. It is probable that the town was founded in the second half of the 13th century. The first settlers, who probably came here from the already overpopulated Silesia, allegedly named the new town according to its position – using the German word Schön-Berg, which literally means “Beautiful Hill”. 

This royal town was virtually always in pledge to leading Czech and Moravian aristocratic lineages. Its prosperity was apparently based on the occurrence of precious metals in its surroundings, which is evidenced by the mining rights, which Šumperk obtained in 1340. In 1391, the town obtained the Magdeburg right from the Moravian margrave Jošt with significant privileges, especially the mileage right, which guaranteed a production monopoly and permanent market for the craftsmen of Šumperk.

In the beginnings of the 16th century, Šumperk became a permanent property of one of the branches of the aristocratic lineage of Žerotín, who chose the local chateau as the residence of their lineage, and they reconstructed the town very well after the fire in 1513. However, the Šumperk townspeople bought their freedom from this servitude in 1562 and Šumperk became a free royal chamber town.

Unfortunately, the town lost its royal privileges because of its participation in the uprising of the estates of the realm, and it fell into servitude to the Liechtenstein lineage. The townspeople experienced the terrors of the Thirty Year War only when it was coming to its end, when the town was conquered several times and looted by Swedish soldiers. A short-term postwar boom was interrupted by the great fire of the town in 1669 and, ten years later, also by witch hunts with 25 victims.

The boom of linen weaving and especially the monopoly of production of a certain type of velvet called trip guaranteed the great prosperity of the town in the 18th century, This tradition facilitated the establishment of the first manufactory for the production of manchester in the Habsburg monarchy and foreshadowed a great development of the textile industry, which contributed to a great architectural development of the city, especially in the 2nd half of the 19th century. The town was then called by the nickname “Little Vienna” because of its architectural similarity with the Austrian capital.

The predominantly German character of the town changed after WWII, when a major part of its inhabitants were forcibly expelled. The arrival of new settlers provoked a short-term stagnation of the town.

Nevertheless, further development of the town is evidenced by an increase in the number of its inhabitants, which almost doubled in comparison with the pre-war situation – about 27 thousands of inhabitants live in the city today.

Šumperk is an important economic, administrative and cultural centre of north-western Moravia. The establishment of the Historic Heritage Zone of the town and expensive reconstruction of the houses and streets after 1989 significantly changed especially the neglected historical part of the town and it led to a new boom of life in the town. Šumperk is now more beautiful then ever.

History of the town of Šumperk in dates

13th century

Beginning of the 2nd half of the 13th century – the town was founded by settlers on Land Governing estates.

1281 – the first verified written reference to the existence of the town – which mentions the Land Governing Administrator Jeneč  of Šumperk, who lived in a small castle at the periphery of the town.

1297 first verified written reference to the existence of the Dominican monastery (which is now a secondary health-care school). Dominicans established monasteries especially in royal towns, which proves that the Dominican order anticipated good future prospects of the new town.

14th century

1340 – the town was obtained by the aristocratic lineage Páni z Lipé from the Margrave Charles (later the emperor Charles IV)

1352 – the town was again held in possession by the Moravian margrave Jan

1391 – the Moravian margrave Jošt awarded the Magdeburg right to the town including the mileage right and 68 townspeople of Šumperk obtained the right to make beer. At the same time the townspeople also obtained the right of Escheat

15th century

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1424 – the Hussites occupied the town

1442 – the guild of linen weavers was established in the town

1470 – the town was pledged to Jiří Tunkl senior of Brníčko. The lineage of Tunklové is famous in the northern Moravia especially by their extensive building of ponds connected with a great oppression of their serfs.

1458 – the town hospital was founded

1475 – the first reference to the existence of the Šumperk town hall

1481 – Jiří Tunkl senior had the existing town water mains destroyed, because the serfs were not willing to pay water tax.

1490 – on the 4th of June, the meeting of representatives of Moravian and Silesian estates of the realm took place in the Šumperk chateau, where they agreed to recognise  Ladislaus Jagiellon as the Czech king.

1494 – the townspeople gravely injured the pawnee of Šumperk Jiřík z Brníčka a na Zábřeze, who later died of those injuries

 – a new important lineage entered the history of the town – Žerotínové. The lord of Fulnek; Jan of Žerotín, bought the pawn right for the town and the administration of Šumperk was entrusted to his son Petr, the supreme Moravian chamberlain and regional governor of the Olomouc Region.

16th century

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1507 – Petr of Žerotín obtained Šumperk into his permanent possession and he chose the Šumperk chateau as his lineage residence. The richness of the town grew in the peaceful times of the 16th century mainly due to the textile craft.

1513 – 24th of April, the entire town was burnt down by a fire

- Petr of Žerotín initiated the construction of the stone town walls, part of which has been preserved till today. A report says that 87 houses were inside of the town and another 18 houses outside of the town walls

1553 – Dominicans were expelled from the town, their monastery became a storehouse for salts and leathers. Most inhabitants of Šumperk converted to the Lutheran faith

1562 – the town bought its freedom from servitude and due to the privilege awarded by the Czech king Ferdinand I., it was promoted to the position of a chamber royal town. Besides other privileges, the king gave the improved town coat of arms to the townspeople of Šumperk.

1571-1572 – two plague epidemics in the town and vicinity had many casualties (allegedly 1464).

1585 – another plague – 610 casualties

1591 – catastrophic flood, which had 100 casualties in the periphery

17th century

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1622 – the town lost its privileges because of its participation in the meeting of the estates of the realm and it became the so-called “protected town of Liechtensteins”. The Liechtensteins gave the town back some of its privileges only in 1633; they newly established the institution of reeves, who were authorised to take measures especially against Protestants. This meant that the freedom of the royal chamber town was definitively terminated

1642-1646 – the town was looted by Swedish soldiers

1646 – a report of the imperial committee says that the town is almost destroyed, town walls are destroyed and the fortification moat is partly covered with soil

1669 – on the 7th of May, a fire started in a little house near the chateau, which almost destroyed the entire town and a great part of the suburbs in four days. However, the local inhabitants demonstrated their resilience once again and a new town was built by the end of the 17th century

1679 – an inquisition tribunal was appointed headed by Jindřich František Boblig, the witch hunts in Šumperk lasted 15 years and 25 innocent inhabitants of Šumperk were killed as a result.

18th century

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1708 – Emperor Joseph I awarded the Šumperk linen weavers the privilege to produce special fabrics called mesolan and barchet

1714–1715 – a big plague epidemic with 185 casualties, which caused great economic damage, the memorial of this plague epidemic – the Plague Column - built in 1718 - 1720 still exists today and is located next to the town hall

1753 – construction of the Chapel of St Barbora decorated with frescos by the Moravian Baroque painter Ignác Oderlický

1784 – The Dominican monastery was abolished within the Josephian reforms and the building of the monastery was bought by the town four years later and it was turned into military quarters.

1785 – The Klapperoth manufactory for production of manchester and duchester was founded – first of its kind in the Austrian monarchy

19th century

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Since the beginning of the 19th century -  many line weaving manufactories were built, largest of them were the property of the entrepreneursOberleithner and Siegl

During the 2nd half of the 19th century - Šumperk became the Moravian centre of the industrial production of linens and silk

1842 – the first mechanical spinning mill of flax and hemp in Moravia was put into operation. Two years later, an uprising took place, which was directed against too expensive goods and against the hated mechanical spinning mill because of its long working hours, unbearable work and hygienic conditions and wages, which did not reach even the level of the substinence minimum

1857 – the first hospital of Šumperk was established

the first silk factory was established

1869 – the operation of gasworks was initiated

1871 – the Šumperk railways station was opened, which became a regular stop for the train on the newly built railway line Zábřeh – Sobotín

1873 – the fire brigade of volunteer firefighters was established in Temenice 

1883 – Zdenek Engelbert founded the Šumperk beautification society

1896 – Hans Hönig initiated the collection of objects for the town museum. Inhabitants of the town donated many old things, especially books, weapons, coins etc.

- a new hospital was opened (the present-day hospital)

20th century

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1900 – Šumperk had 789 houses and 11 636 inhabitants

1902 – The German Community House was opened (today it is a theatre), the ceremonial opening took place on the 26th and 28th of December. The architect Berger ceremonially handed over the keys to the new building. Afterwards, musical and theatrical performances and a big ball were held. 

1909 – the town power plant was put into operation

- the old town hall was demolished

1911 – on the 9th of September, the building of the new town hall was ceremonially opened,  architects Georg Berger and Ludwig Schöne were in charge of the project of construction of the new town hall, there was a café and also the first Saxinger cinema in the building

1912 – Roman Karl Scholz was born in Šumperk, a priest, poet and organiser of the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Vienna

1921 – the cinema Saxinger was built, later called cinema Svět

1928 – the present-day cinema Oko was put into operation

1938 – the last Czech families left the town as a result of the Munich Dictat

- on the 8th of October, the town was occupied by the Wehrmacht

- the Nazi occupation and WWII also stopped the favourable economic development and resulted in a great number of casualties among the townspeople

1945 – on the 31st of March, 16 patriots were shot dead by Nazis on the nearby Bratrušov shooting gallery for their participation in the resistance movement

- the first train with more than a thousand local Germans was dispatched in the beginning of October

1946 – the bodies of the sixteenth patriots executed by Nazis were exhumed and buried with honours

- another 11 transports were dispatched in February, more than 9500 Germans were forced to leave in these trains. Only 686 Germans remained in the town as of the last day of this year. The former German population started to be replaced by new settlers from other parts of the Czech Republic.

1966 – the first Czechoslovak artificial diamond was built in Šumperk and Czechoslovakia thus becoming the sixth country in the world, which mastered this difficult technology

1969 – on the 25th of February, a student of the Šumperk industrial secondary school, nineteen-year old Jan Zajíc, set himself ablaze and died in protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the troops of the Warsaw Pact

- opening of the winter stadium, which was one of the most modern stadiums in the country at those times

- the 60th tank regiment moved permanently from Šumperk to the Slovak town of Kežmark, it was replaced by Soviet Army troops

1980 – opening of the House of Culture Šumperk

1990 – Soviet troops left the town after 21 years

1991 – the historical core of the city was declared a historical heritage zone of the town by the Ministry of Culture of CZR, a complex reconstruction of the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was initiated – among others

1993 – President Václav Havel visited the town – first official visit of a head of the state in the history of Šumperk

1994 – a fire started in the theatre building, which was probably set on fire on purpose, and the theatre was gravely damaged.

- on the 28th of October, the “Bell of Freedom” rang for the first time from the tower of the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.

- a contract of partnership concluded with the town of Bad Hersfeld (Federal Republic of Germany)

1995 – ceremonial opening of the European Meeting House (Evropský dům setkávání) in the newly reconstructed building of the so-called Geschader House

- the first international festival Blues Alive took place

1996 – completion of the construction of the lookout at Háj

1998 – Jiří Dopita, born in Šumperk, gained a gold medal as a member of the winning hockey team at the Olympic Games in Japan.

21st century

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2000 –ceremonial opening of the reconstructed building of the theatre

2002 – Aleš Valenta, born in Šumperk, gained a gold medal in acrobatic skiing in the Olympic Games in USA.

2004 – Václav Klaus, president of CZR, officially visited the town

2005 – the difficult reconstruction of the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was completed

- the first literary and film festival Town Reads a Book (Město čte knihu) took place

2006 – the reconstruction of the Pavlínin dvůr (Paulina's Court), original residence of the aristocratic family Chiari, today the seat of National and Geographical Museum in Šumperk (Vlastivědné Muzeum), was completed.

2008 – ceremonial opening of the reconstructed courtyard of Pavlínin dvůr

2010 – the Witch hunts exposition in Geschader House was opened

- expensive revitalisation of the  Street of Jiřího z Poděbrad was completed

2011 – first year of farm markets took place in Šumperk

- the town celebrated the 100th anniversary of the rebuilding of the town hall  
Created 15.11.2012 11:47:17 | read 42441x | hrachovina