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Ground Plan | History | Timeline

The Center for Metamedia is located on the grounds of a former Cistercian monastery in Plasy, a town in the western Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. The entire complex is a national monument and under the care of the Institute for Historic Monuments.

The architecture of the former monastery and the surrounding landscape are resonant, inspiring environments for work and study and for artists' dialogue with a place. The spaces used by the Center are ideal for art installations and exhibitions, performance, concerts and recordings. Film and video projects, as well as work in other forms of new media may also benefit from the environment. The facilities are also well-suited for seminars and workshops, and other types of meetings and educational projects.

The areas used by the Center include:



A large two-story structure built in the Baroque style around an interior courtyard. The cloister is being restored by the state and is open to the public for guided tours. Its two chapels have exceptional acoustics for recordings and performances of experimental sound and music. Other areas of the cloister – the ambit, courtyard, rotunda, refectory – are also periodically available for exhibitions and performances.[more]

A Baroque expansion from a gothic chapel that had been used built for food storage is now the CMM’s primary space for work, rehearsal, exhibitions, screenings, and performances. Eight spacious work and performance areas (each 320 sq. meters) are located here, as well as various ground-level and subterranean rooms as well as a clock tower.[more]



A hexagon-shaped space originally built as a garden room. It is used by the Center as a work and rehearsal studio, and for exhibitions and performances.

The monastery's grounds include courtyards and parks used for performances and outdoor studios. The surroundings--the Strela River, meadows, and forested hills--are also frequently incorporated into artists' work.



Ground Plan



The monastery, a national monument under the care of the Czech state, was founded by the Cistercian Order in 1145. Its grounds have been settled, however, since the Neolithic period, and the town within which it lies has been called Plasy since the Celts resided here around 700 b.c. It is a descriptive name: the Celtic word for a place where one may cross a river. The monastery stands, in fact, within a turn of the Strela River, and the river's underground steams underlie the structure's foundation. At the time of the monastery's Baroque reconstruction by Jan Blazej Santini, an inscription was carved above the convent's basement-level aqueduct: hoc aedificium sine aquis ruet [without water this edifice will fall to ruin]. While today the architecture's fundamental dependence upon the natural environment threatens its stability as the river's pollution rises, for the Cistercian Order, the connection with nature was an attempt at Eden, the monastery being a sheltered retreat from urbanity.

With a decree of Josef II around the time of the French Revolution, the monastery was closed. A representative of the new aristocratic elite, C.W.L. Metternich-Wineberg purchased the complex in the 1820s, and the property remained in his family until it was confiscated by the Czechoslovak state in 1945. Public cultural events were organized at the former monastery by the residents of Plasy in the 1950s, but its use soon became secondary to the efforts to protect and restore its architecture. Today the complex and grounds are used jointly by the state's Historical Monument Institute, the County Archive and Library, for public concerts, and by the Center for Metamedia. With its activities, the Center allows for a rediscovery of the former monastery's past and its re-connection with the present.



2500 b.c. - Neolithic settlement along the banks of the Strela River
700 b.c. - Celtic settlement
800 a.d. - first Slavic settlement
around 1000 - Prague princedom's assumes sovereignty over Plasy and its surrounding region.
1144 - Prince Vladislav II grants the Plasy and surrounding villages to the Cistercian Order.
1150 - Extensive construction begins under Abbot Ivo.
1154 - The St. Wenceslaus and Mary Magdalene Chapels are built.
1204 - The convent's basilica is built.
1230-1253 - King Wenceslaus resides in the Plasy monastery.
1253-1278 - King Premysla Otakar II resides in the Plasy monastery.
1420 - Hussites attack and damage the monastery.
1500-1550 - The monastery and its grounds fall into decline.
1611 - The Virgin Mary Ruzencová Church is built along the monastery's wall.
1616 - Abbot Jiri Wasmutius is named as of head the monastery.
1666 - Construction is completed on the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
1686 - Construction is completed on the granary by the architect J.B. Mathey, which extends out from the King's Chapel.
1701 - The new prelature is finished.
1711 - Abbot Eugene Tyttl inaugurates the construction of a new convent by the architect Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel which is completed in 1740. Important works of Baroque sculpture and painting are placed within the convent.
around 1750 - Courts are established by the convent's aristocracy.
1785 - Emperor Josef II decrees the monastery's dissolution.
1826 - The former monastery is purchased by the Chancellor C.W.L. Metternich-Wineberg.
1828 - Chancellor Metternich establishes an iron works and in the former monastery's vicinity an English Park; part of the monastery's wall is torn down.
1894 - A fire destroys the convent's roof; Chancellor Metternich undertakes its repair.
1945 - The Czechoslovak state confiscates Chancellor Metternich's property.
1949 - The village of Plasy becomes the county's capital, and the convent and prelature are used as its main administrative offices.
1956 - Galerie Stretti begins holding exhibitions at the former monastery.
1960 - Gradual restoration of the former monastery begins with Plasy's incorporation into North Plzen county.
1963 - A bunker is built under the prelature.
1965 - The former monastery and its grounds are subsumed by the state office for the Care of Historical Monument.
1976 - The convent's hospital wing is reconstructed and an exhibition of historical paintings is installed there.
1980 - The ambit on the convent's first floor is restored.
1981 - The now-legendary, unofficial photography exhibition "9x9" is held in the granary.
1982 - The convent's interior is gradually filled with historical exhibitions by the Historical Monuments Institute.
1992 - The first annual Hermit Symposium is held by the Center for Metamedia.
1993 - The Hermit Foundation is established.
1995-1997 - Reconstruction and restoration of various parts of the former monastery is organized by the Historical Monuments Institute and the Hermit Foundation.
1997 - The Center for Metamedia begins organizing a more extensive program of residencies and projects throughout the monument's open season from May to November.