The village of Valašská Bystřice is located in the picturesque surroundings of the Vsetín district. Busy cultural and social life is typical for this village. Several cultural groups are working here, too. This way, the village attempts to preserve original folk traditions and to revive historic events related to its past. The group named “Valašský sbor portášsky”, led by Mr. Libor Fojtů along with the mayor of the village of Valašská Bystřice, Mr. Martínek, is an active group focusing on the preservation of the tradition of the so-called “portáš people”, who were famous border guards. The rich experience of this group’s leaders connected with group leadership and organisation of social events focused on the reconstruction of historic fights has attracted the attention of a group of devotees from the village of Vavrišovo. In 2008, the two villages agreed upon mutual cooperation, which resulted in the submission of a common project, which shall, to a considerable extent, contribute to the deepening of cultural cooperation in the region around the borders between the Czech and Slovak Republic. Both villages are interested in supporting local history and presenting it in an innovative way, unique for the region around the borders. Activities of this kind shall support the development of experience tourism, brush up the local and regional history, and contribute to the creation of a new identity for both villages.
The group “Valašský sbor portášsky” started to form in 2003, and its main seat is in the village of Valašská Bystřice, which was the traditional home of the “portáš” commandants. More and more people have been gradually joining this group, not only from among the inhabitants of the village, but also from the wider surroundings. Many members have rich experience in terms of reconstructing historic fights, as the “portáš people” are regular guests at many events of similar character. They prepare their arms and uniforms step by step and without any help. The existence of the “portáš people” serves as evidence of the fact that traditions and history still have their place in the village, and through their activities, the “portáš people” help to revive these traditions. The “portáš people” were a unique and irreplaceable regional historic subject, living through centuries, composed mainly of selected regional peoples, and formed in order to serve and protect the region.
PROJECT ACTIVITES OF THE VILLAGE OF VALAŠSKÁ BYSTŘICE:
Information board by the tombs of the “portáš people”
In the village of Valašská Bystřice, the so-called tombs of the “portáš people” are located. These are the tombs of Jiří Křenek, his wife Mariana and their sons. Jiří Křenek and his sons Jan and Michal were the last commandants – lieutenants of the group of “portáš people”, up until the abolition of the group in 1830. The tombs are under the protection of the state as cultural monuments. They are the most significant monument devoted to the “portáš people” in the entire region of eastern Morava, where the group of “portáš people”, this specific group of guards, used to operate for a period of 200 years. The information board next to the tombs is already quite worn-out, and thus a new one is needed instead.
Information leaflets about the “portáš people”
The information leaflets shall include texts about the history of the “portáš people”, the unique group of guards operating in the Morava region, especially in Valašsko. The text shall be printed in the Czech, English, German and Polish languages. It shall also include historic and contemporary photographs and further graphic materials.
Sculpture dedicated to the “portáš people”
In 2007, the so-called “Společenský dom u Pernických” (social venue) was built in the village of Valašská Bystřice. It is used for the organisation of various cultural, social and sports events, and the building comprises of a multi-purpose hall with a stage as well as three clubrooms. All areas are equipped only with furniture and are not decorated at all. In honour of the memory of the most significant part of the history of the village – the existence of the commandants of the “portáš” group – the building shall be decorated with a sculpture dedicated to the “portáš people”. The sculpture shall be placed in the multi-purpose hall.
Construction of a village amphitheatre
Over the summer, several cultural and social events are held in the village of Valašská Bystřice. These include setting up and knocking over of a maypole, “dožinky” celebrations (end of harvest), festival of brass bands, festival of music bands, as well as further concerts and events. The events are held on a mobile wooden stage, which is usually placed on the premises of TJ, in the park next to the church, or elsewhere, depending on the event. This is an emergency arrangement, which should be abolished through the construction of a permanent stage – an amphitheatre. This shall be constructed as a raised wooden stage of 12 x 8 m. On the back of the stage, a wooden wall with doors for performers shall be erected. Part of the stage shall be roofed by a stylish roof on wooden poles. Seating shall be arranged in front of the stage on an area covered with sand spreading, and it shall be composed of firmly anchored benches, organised in a semicircle, with total capacity of 100 people. The remaining area shall serve as an area for standing or can be equipped with non-anchored benches.
Collection about the “portáš people” and historic research
The aim of the intended project is a deeper historic, sociological, ethnographic and cultural research in the field of specific standing of the “portáš people” within the Austrian monarchy. Some of the tasks of the research should include historic research of high quality in the field of topography, biography of significant persons connected with the “portáš people”, as well as a more detailed evaluation of the participation of the “portáš people” in significant events of the Czech, Moravian, Sliezsko and Slovak history. As a part of the research, a constructional-historic reconstruction of some folk buildings used by the “portáš people” shall also be carried out.
PROJECT ACTIVITIES OF THE GROUP VALAŠSKÝ ZBOR PORTÁŠSKY:
Raid on the village of Valašská Bystřice by the “kuruc people” of Vavrišovo”
During the summer of 2009, a scene from the history of the village of Valašská Bystřice shall be mutually planned and organised, and although the events shall not be authentic, they shall present various alternative events that could have happened in the 17th and 18th centuries in this village. The “kuruc people” of Vavrišovo raid the village of Valašská Bystřice in full arms (which they shall use only in a symbolic way, adhering to all precautionary measures). They shall raid the houses in the village and threaten the villagers (everything shall be agreed beforehand). The mayor of the village, who is a “portáš” himself, shall give a signal to his colleagues, who are on an errand in the forest at the time, and these shall come and help the inhabitants of the village of Valašská Bystřice. The “portáš people” shall then follow the “kuruc people” around the village and, in the end, they shall catch them all and bring them to trial on the village square, right in front of the villagers. Afterwards, sentences, which might be staged in a comical way, shall follow, accompanied by traditional songs and a couple of other traditions. The villagers can join the trial, too, and participate in it. Eventually the “kuruc people” shall promise that they shall never raid again. This topic shall be the basis for more activities in the village, ongoing in the course of a weekend between July and August 2009.
International festival of folk artistic groups in the village of Valašská Bystřice in honour of the opening of the village amphitheatre
Just as thinking has been changing over periods of time, the view of historic events, folk, as well as traditions of the “portáš people” is changing nowadays. The “portáš” celebrations intend to remind the people of this period in history.
Folk culture is a very important tradition in the village of Valašská Bystřice. Several artistic groups present the history of clothing, traditional life, and all its different features, including entertainment, dance and singing.
For its long-term activities, the “Troják” group deserves the chance not only to present itself at home, but also to exchange experience with similar regional and foreign groups.