Centrum Bohuslava Martinů


Gothic fortification of the town Polička with its ground plan belongs to the best extant town fortifications in the Czech Republic. The rood lofts of the reconstructed parts of the main barrier with few towers are accessible for public accompanied by a pursuivant. Sight-seeing tour includes authentic interpretation by the town mock-up, which brings near the appearance of the town Polička of the 14th century. Then follows one´s own climb onto the barrier rood loft either from Nová Street or Komenského Street. 

It is necessary to buy tickets in the Bohuslav Martinů´s Centre

The town Polička was founded in 1265 at Premyslid Otakar II´s bidding. The original settlers who came here in about 110 families, were mostly of the German origin. The settlers were building houses and culturing assigned lands, that is also why this origin fortification made by wood, was just a provisional protection, which was replaced by a stone barrier in the half of the 14th century.

The fortification was composed of the main barrier reinforced by the two towers, parkan, inner wall, water jump and mound. One could enter the town by four gates (Litomyšlská, Limberská, Kamenecká a Starohradská) and the pond was accessible by the portal. The main wall came down in a whole circle with all its 19 towers.

The fortification was usually enough to discourage enemies only by its existence. The walls of Polička proved good in fights several times. At first during the hussite wars, Polička as a king´s town promoted king´s interests. However when the people of Prague led by Jan Žižka campaigned into the East Bohemia, the town of Polička joined onto the side of Hussites. In the autumn of 1421was the town of Polička captured, probably by betrayal, by the king Zikmund´s troops. The fortification resisted several times during the reign of Jiří from Poděbrady. In 1468 and 1469 the town resisted successfully the attacs of the Hungarian king Maryáš Korvín.

In the time of building stone walls, the fortification of Polička was very effective, however in the process with the developement of army technics, its effectiveness fell. In the time of 30 years war the stone walls had practically no military importance. In the later time they served only as an administrative boundary of the town.

The town preserved its medieval street scheme, even replotting has not been changed since then. Because of the many catastrophes in Polička, there were not enough finances to more expansive reconstruction and modernisation. The citizens had to renew damaged houses after the great fires in 1613 and 1845. In the 18th century there was built an external round street around the barriers, on the South the extention was not possible because of the pond. There was no reason to tear down the barriers, as it was done in other barrier towns. Thanks to this fact, the barriers of Polička are one of the best preserved barriers in Bohemia.

Some parts of the fortification disappeared in the 19th century. In the first half of the century there were gates and barbacanes. Gradually there also disappeared town ditches and at the end of the century even a partly overwhelmed town pond, which protected the whole southern part of the town.

Bohuslav Martinu is inherently linked with a small room in the tower of St. James church in Policka. It is a tiny unique and romantic place however a bit impractical to live in. The famous composer was born here on 8th December 1890. 

A family of five used to live in the tower until Bohuslav was eleven. Father Ferdinand was a shoemaker. He also watched over the tower, he had to make sure that fire did not start anywhere in the tower and he had to set the tower clock and sound the Angelus. Father had an assistant who lived with the family. They called him granddad. He helped them in the household and as the room was too small, he slept in bed under the clock in the tower.

The feel of living 36 metres above the ground made a distinct impact on the composer. He wrote In his memoir from Paris in 1934: "... I suppose that this space comes from my emotions as a child and it has a major role in my attitude toward the composition. I do not feel the small interests of people, their problems, their pain or their joy; I saw these from high above, far away. But it is the space that I constantly see and I think the one that I keep looking for in my works. Space and nature, not people..."

If you mount 192 stairs up to the church tower itself, you will pay an unforgettable visit to this room and you will experience a magnificent view of the town and its surroundings.

Bohuslava Martinů´s native room in the tower of St. James´ Church is accessible for public accompanied by a pursuivant. Sight-seeing tour includes climbing into the St. James´ Church tower with authentic interpretation. It is necessary to buy tickets in the Bohuslav Martinů´s Centre, Tylova Street.


Bohuslav Martinu Centre in Policka is located in the municipal museum on the corner of Tyl and interierSaff streets next to Palacky square. This historical building was donated to the Palacky Museum Guild in 1934. Until then it used to be a boy school which Bohuslav attended as a young lad. The building was also used as a theatre where the local amateur dramatics were performed until 1929 when the Tyl house was built and the production moved there.

Town history exhibition

historie-1The exhibition aims to introduce the history of the royal town Policka in an entertaining way. It covers the period since its establishment in 1265 by the king of Bohemian lands Premysl Otakar II until the present. The exhibition spreads over two halls. The first hall covers the earliest times of Policka history, starting with gothic, through the golden age of baroque until 1845 when a devastating fire hit the town. The second hall shows Policka as a culturally growing and socially developing town despite the tragic fire. The exhibition also presents a lot of guilds - Policka riflemen, voluntary firemen, amateur actors group called Tyl or the museum guild Palacky. The middle nineteenth century marketplace is the major lure of the exhibition.

historie-2In the halls you can try and build the town as it existed in several historical periods, hold a sword or put on a hat. For a moment you will become a riflemen or a person in the market. You will get to know the currency that was in use then and you will find out what kind of goods one could get in the market. The exhibition is accompanied by an audio background to broaden and deepen your experience.

Advertising column with two stylishly built-in information displays shows collections of Bohuslav Martinu Centre.


Exhibition of glassmaking in the Policka region

sklo-1This exhibition will introduce you into the fragile beauty of local glass. The Policka region has more than a hundred year tradition of glassmaking. There used to be over 20 different glass mills. The Policka museum was able to gather most of their production, making it one of the most extensive glass collections in the Czech Republic.

You will see production of most glass mills of 19th century from the very oldest ones to the last mill which closed down in 2008. The items on display will certainly prove the quality and beauty of glass which used to be exported to 50 countries all around the world including the Near East and America. Besides the production itself, the exhibition also presents tools and raw materials essential for glassmaking.

The exhibition also presents an artistic sculpture by Jan Cerny and Vladimir Kopecky.


Bohuslav Martinu's classroom

Trida-BMA classroom from the end of 19th century is part of the exhibition. At this time a young boy called Bohuslav started attending school. The classroom is equipped with original furniture and a lot of interactive and useful aids for lessons of music, history and geography. The classroom can be used as a part of our special programme offer for schools.

The atmosphere of those times is amplified by stylistic painting of the walls.

Audiovisual room

audio-salThis room shows several films, especially shots from the life of Bohuslav Martinu. It is also possible to listen to his music; you can choose which pieces you want to hear. Pleasant atmosphere of the room accompanied by comfortable seating and top performance audio and visual equipment will provide you with an astonishing experience. The room is also available for meetings, conferences and chamber concertos.

Exhibition of Bohuslav Martinu colourful world

Barevny-svetThis original and interactive exhibition reveals at least some of the secrets hidden in the vast collections of the museum. The visitors can learn about Bohuslav Martinu's personality through visually attractive materials, personal items and documents belonging to the Martinu family. Some of the documents are available to public for the very first time. Follow the fascinating story about the life of the native of Policka, one of the most distinguished composers, person who put the Czech music on the map. Like a with magic trick, you will move through time from the home town of Policka to Paris of 1930s, then to New York full of jazz and, after the WWII, back to Italy and Switzerland.

As one of the few, the Town Museum and Gallery Polička can be proud of its precious picture exposition.

There was a gala opening of the permanent expositions of the gallery in 1994 in the newly reconstructed baroque town hall. This building with two floors is situated in the middle of the square and it belongs to the jewels of the baroque architecture. In 2008 it was filed into the National Cultural Monuments.

Gallery expositions are accessible for public accompanied by a pursuivant. Tickets are available in the town hall building, Palackého square.

1. Old art in Polička surrounding - from Gothic to the 19th century

The exposition dates back the developement of art from Gothic to the 19th century. Gothic and Renaissance periods open the whole exposition. The main focus is on the 18th century - the Golden Age of the town. The set of plastures (M. B. Braun, J. Pacák, F. Pacák, and D. Aulíček), pictures, engraving and extant copper plates by M. Rentze are introduced.

A part of the sightseeing tour is the Saint František Xaverský´s baroque council chapel, which pervades the two floors and its unique decor has been kept up to the present days. You can also find a gothic chapel in the tower.

The high quality burgess-portrait of the 19th century is represented by A. Machek, J. Papáček, E. Kašparides and other authors. The sculptural activity at the turning of 19th and 20th century is represented by the selection of a remarkable production by V. E. Šaffa, the native of Polička.

2. Picture Gallery of the Dynasty of Hohenems - from the castle Bystré by Polička

Thanks to the initiativeof the museum, in 1989 this unique Picture Gallery of the Dynasty of Hohenems was centered in Polička, where it was expensively renovated.

In the collection there are portraits, sceneries, allegoric and religious productions. The first Picture of the collection originates in the 16th century. Till 1803 the collection was placed in the family estate of Hohenems in the Western Austria. Then it moved together with the family to the castle in Bystré by Polička. The odest picture of the Hohenems picture gallery is Madona (1530) by the Dutch master Jan Gossaert called Mabuse. The most notable production is dimensional canvas by the Dutch painer Anthoniho Bays Hohenems´ Garden Party (1578), which as a group renaissance portrait is a unique one in the central Europe. There are 54 people - members of the family Hohenems, their relatives, musicians and servants - gathered round the table in the grapevine overgrown arbour in an ideal renaissance garden.

3. Modern art in Polička surrounding - 20th century

The expositon presents productions of the authors who were either born in Polička surrounding, or who worked here and who overpassed the borders of the region by their importance. Painters and graphic designers - V. Šindler, J. Šindler., J.V. Síla, J. Jambor, Fr. Bukáček, Z. Sion; sochaři - J. Kadlec, J. Lichtág, J. Černý, P. Herynek and others. In the gallery the contemporary trends in plastic arts and painting are represented by the production of V. Bromová and M. Janíček.

4. Bohuslav Martinů in plastic arts and painting

The exposition is composed of artists´ responses to the work of music composer. The artists are e.g. K. Svolinský, E. Vlasáková.

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