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Ostrava Continued

As the first orientation point we visited the Nove Radnice (new town hall) – largest town hall complex in Czech Republic, it was build in 1925-1930 and it is one of many examples of modernist architecture in town. In the central part of this monumental building is a 85m high viewing tower. The green copper tower gives you a great view of this postindustrial city. Nove Radnice have a clock on top of the tower with a bell which stride every quarter and an hour, which of course I have recorded between 11 and 12 of following day.

The other interesting example of modernism architecture from 1920s is Art House – town gallery on Jureckova street. This time it’s only two-story very simple and functional building. My attention was also captured by near by Palace Electra originally a base for miners’ union, also built in 1924. Palace Electra placed on the two corners of three streets has equally important façade from three sides of the building.

The town is surrounded by vast residential areas from 1950s such as the District of Poruba (a manifestation of the so-called socialist realism in architecture) consisting of 1960s and 70s housing blocks which grew with the modernization of the city in under communism.

I was very surprised how quiet the town was during the weekend. On Saturday late morning we visited the main square in Old town with Baroque Stare Radnice (old town hall). The square was almost empty; there were only few people passing by and a handful of kids playing in the water fountain. I have made some recordings of screaming kids running in and out of the water. Stare Radnice clock played interesting an interesting tune on an hour which I also managed to capture.

The Stare Radnice has been home to the Museum of Ostrava since 1931, but unfortunately it closes by 1pm on Saturdays, so by the time I finished recording, the museum was closed for the day. I sat down in museum café sneakily recording a snippets of conversation between an American researcher and an old miner. The conversation was through a translator, so there were Czech and English sentences passing my microphones.

Later on, when I realized, that I need a new set of AA batteries for my recorder I have discovered that all the shops in the old town are closed by 1 pm. After a conversation with a local man he directed me to new build large modern shopping mall were we found the rest of Ostrava’s population.

On Sunday morning I made my way to the Ostrava train station; a very interesting piece of 60s architecture. The station is constructed in such a way that it connects all city transport together; a large crescent canopy integral to the main station building which shelters the waiting commuters from rain or snow on tram, electric bus or taxi stops. This spot made a fantastic location to record sounds of all of this forms of transport. The reverb of inside of a large1960s station with frequent announcements made a very successful recording for the project. The rail connects Ostrava with Brno, Vienna, Bratislava, Katowice, Warsaw and even Moscow.