Would you like to know what was built up by the Baťa family in Zlín? Would you like to follow his footprints and walk through the factory site or visit the residential neighbourhoods where his employees used to live? If so, let’s go for a stroll around the city.
The shoemaking enterprise in Zlín was founded by the Baťa brothers in the year 1894. Right from the start, the factory flourished and soon affected also the city life and the growth of the city which was significantly speeded up. An ancient town of artisans and merchants was transformed into an important industrial centre.
Changing the face of Zlín went hand in hand with the expansion of the shoemaking company, in particular after Tomáš Baťa was elected a mayor of the city in 1923. His company built shopping malls, hotels, cinema, large hospital, many shools and research facilities, film studios, and thousands of new apartments all over the fast-growing city. The population of Zlín was rapidly rising: from 4 678 inhabitants in 1921, 21 582 in 1930, 37 342 in 1937 up to present approximately 75 000 inhabitants. A hectic construction activity soon reshaped Zlín into a supermodern industrial city. The construction was by no means spontaneus, quite the opposite was the case as the city was planned according to modern urban approaches by well-known architects (J. Kotěra, F. L. Gahura, V. Karfík, M. Lorenc). Zlín thus acquired a unique nature of functional city unparalleled anywhere in Europe at that time.
One of the masterpieces of modern Czechoslovakian architecture inbetween two wars is the administrative building of the Baťa company. This sixteen-storey building with its height of 77.5 meters was before the war the highest man-made object in Czechoslovakia and even today it is a landmark of the city.
Even after the Velvet Revolution, Zlín has been still devoted to architecture of the highest quality. A few buildings carefully projected by the architect Eva Jiřičná, who is a native of Zlin, were added to the city centre. Among them, the Congress Centre built in 2010 is one of the places with best acoustics in the Czech Republic.
Among the cultural events in Zlín, the most noteworthy one is certainly the Zlín Film Festival being held annually at the end of May and beginning of June. There are presented movies from various countries across the globe and the festival also attracts a plenty of home and foreign celebrities connected to the movie industry. Rich side events during the festival days are taken for granted. Fans of motor sport come to Zlín usually in the second half of August in order to watch the Barum Czech Rally Zlín which belongs to one of the highlights of motor sport events in the Czech Republic. Even if there is no big event in the city at the time of your visit you can still enjoy many exhibitions or music concerts. The culture in Zlín is alive and almost every month there is something worth seeing