About a month ago a received an offer for buying the abandoned Public Observatory of Zdanice in the Czech Republic.
The observatory was build in the 1960’s, the communist era of Czechoslovakia. It was abandoned after the revolution when the subventions dried up and the founder died.
The Observatory consists of two parts: the original Observatory and a later added hotel.
The hotel is in very bad condition. Very expensive to restore and no added value to the observatory. The observatory is worth restoring.
My initial idea was to keep the observatory and to take down the hotel. Impossible to get a permit.
The only option was to buy only the inventory of the observatory.
After we closed the deal I got the message that I only got one week to remove the inventory. Panic but ok. Found a team of six people and a transporter.
It’s a ones in a lifetime opportunity. So adrenaline is very helpful ;-)
In the inventory are included a 20cm f:15 and 16cm f:15 equatorial mounted refractors in 4.5meter domes. Another 16cm refractor and two 25cm Classical Cassegrains on altaz mounts.
A 20cm Schmidt camera and 10cm Coronagraph who were mounted on the scopes.
Fantastic instruments build by Prof. Ing. Vilém GAJDUŠEK (optics) and Frantisek Kozelsky (mounts and hardware).
The scopes are very professionally made.
The mounts weight about 250kg.
Beside the optical instruments there was a library, movie theatre and a planetarium. Unfortunately the planetarium projector was already moved to the Brno observatory.
It was a huge library of about 15.000 books in Czech, Russian, German and some in English.
Only a small part was astronomy related. The library also served the local community.
In the movie theatre I found about 60 astronomical films.
The observatory was very successful and was one of the largest public observatories in Eastern Europe.
The future of the building is very uncertain. There are several claims on the ground and building.
I found the observatory as a time capsule. Very weird.
It was like they closed the doors fifteen years ago and we opened it again for the first time.
All the rooms and offices were intact.