Project Contents

  • Procurement of Technical Equipement
  • Educational Activities in the Area of Culture Business
  • Estabishement of the Community Garden
  • Organizing of Culture Event in Garden of the Monastery for the local Community
  • Project publicity
  • Project management
  • Educational Activities for the Local Community and the Self-governement

Implemented activities

Establishment of the Community Garden

In June 2022, the Monastery Garden reopened after 15 years, at an event where the public had a chance to see the entire space and learn the principles for creating and operating a community garden. A “recruitment of enthusiastic gardeners” was held, resulting in the formation of a solid core group of community gardeners. People interested in gardening together met regularly at the Monastery Garden in the summer through the autumn of 2022 and cooperated to shape the community garden under the guidance of its coordinator Petra Formánková and the project coordinator Lucie Maříková. The actual preparations began in autumn 2022, when the necessary gardening tools were purchased and raised seedbeds were established. Throughout the autumn, the community also actively tended the monastery orchard, and its different varieties were identified by a specialist. The community garden’s first growing season began in the spring of 2023, and during the summer community members actively tended the garden and harvested the first fruits of their labour.

The Cultural Heritage Conference: Innovative Approaches and Sustainable Community Development

During the Monastery Garden’s winter hibernation, preparations were underway for the Cultural Heritage Conference, which was intended to educate the public about innovative approaches to revitalizing heritage and sustainably developing it. The conference was held in March of 2023 and brought new perspectives on the use of this former Capuchin monastery and on work with the community to revitalize it. Experts from the Czech Republic and Norway came to Opočno to present examples of good practice during this three-day conference.

Opening of the Monastery Garden to the Public

From 1 November 2022, the monastery grounds were placed under the management of the Museum and Gallery of the Orlické Mountains in Rychnov nad Kněžnou, which is its technical manager during the implementation of the “Community Gardens of the Capuchin Monastery in Opočno” project and will remain responsible for the development of the monastery grounds after the project completes at the end of 2023.

For the Monastery Garden to be opened to the public, utilities needed to be brought into operation on the grounds and in the garden house, which served as facilities for cultural and community activities. Before the opening day, toilet facilities were also put into operation and the security of the whole area was ensured.

Thanks to project funding from the 2014 – 2021 EEA Grants, it was possible to procure park furniture (benches, tables and chairs, a multi-purpose shelter and a stage) for the Monastery Garden, thus creating infrastructure for both active leisure and relaxation. Some of the benches were produced during a carpentry workshop with the participation of local residents in October 2022. The workshop was held directly in the Monastery Garden under the guidance of lecturers from the Norwegian partner organisation Fjellugla Kompetanse and craftsmen from the Secondary School of Crafts in Jaroměř. This gave local residents a chance to be involved from the very beginning in giving the Monastery Garden its new form and thus to develop a relationship with this long-closed historical site.

The opening ceremony of the Monastery Garden took place on 21 May 2023 in the presence of representatives of the town of Opočno and the Hradec Králové Region.The first visitors could enjoy a pair of concerts by the Opočno Elementary Art School and the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra.

A Summer of Culture in the Monastery Garden

Another cultural programme was prepared for Monastery Garden visitors for the summer. August began with a concert by the popular singer-songwriter Michal Horák, who spoke to over 300 visitors of all ages with his music. On the same day, an exhibition entitled “The Five Year Plan of Horrors” was placed in the Monastery Garden, recording the life stories of witnesses from the Hradec Králové Region, including several from Opočno. Their fates were strongly impacted by the events of the 1950s and the communist coup, which caused the Capuchin Order’s departure from the Opočno monastery. The witnesses’ stories were compiled and the exhibition was lent to the Monastery Garden for the entire month of August by the East Bohemia branch of Memory of the Nation.

Development Strategy for the Monastery and the Discussion with the Public about its New Utilisation

The project for the Community Garden of the Capuchin Monastery in Opočno was the first step towards revitalizing the monastery complex, but already during the project it was necessary to reflect on its future destiny. Therefore, the needs of the town of Opočno were carefully mapped out and interviews were conducted with its representatives and local residents. Two public discussions were held in June and August 2023, at which Opočno residents could present their own ideas on new ways the monastery could be used.

These suggestions were elaborated by the architectural studio City Upgrade into a development strategy for the Monastery, which is available in full at On the basis of all the suggestions gathered, a draft concept for the new utilisation of the Monastery was created and presented publicly on 1 October 2023 in the Monastery Garden. This concept serves for reflections on the future potential direction of the Monastery after the project ends and will be further developed and discussed.

IDU Academy: Revitalization and Innovative Use of Cultural Heritage

The project of the Community Garden of the Capuchin Monastery in Opočno was concluded with the educational IDU Academy focusing on revitalization and innovative use of cultural heritage. The Academy was intended for 20 registered candidates from the Hradec Králové Region and its aim was to transfer the experience of the implementation of the project for the revitalization of the Monastery in Opočno and thus contribute to the development of other projects for the revitalization of monuments in the Hradec Králové Region.

The Academy was intended for cultural managers, representatives of public administration and owners of unused buildings. Educational seminars focused on project management, project financing, strategic planning and examples of good practice. Practical workshops were also included; during these, participants had the opportunity to improve their skills in e.g. preparing project applications and developing strategies and thus gain the necessary know-how for developing their own projects. Among the presenters were Lucie Maříková (Department of Culture, Heritage Care and Tourism of the Hradec Králové Region), Magdalena Müllerová and Eva Žáková (IDU Academy), Tereza Raabová (KREIA Group), Adriana Světlíková (Nová síť), Ivo Janoušek (Český Krumlov Monastery), Jakub Deml (Brána Jihlavy), Milota Sidorová (Office for Territorial Planning and Construction of the Slovak Republic) and Roman Klíma (Department of Regional Development, Grants and Subsidies of the Hradec Králové Region).

The Academy in Opočno lasted for three days (20 – 22 November 2023), and its participants had the opportunity to tour the whole Monastery grounds during the first day and were introduced to the content of the Community Garden of the Capuchin Monastery in Opočno project. The next day, architect Lucie Kadrmanová Chytilová from the City Upgrade studio, which had prepared the monastery’s development strategy during the project, presented that strategy to them.