The town of As, 666 metres above the sea
In the period of moving of nations As hilly
territory with the impenetrable and boggy forest was uninhabited for a long time. From
11th century As territory was gradually settled by German colonists. German colonization
aimed here from the South. The first settlements were founded here by the family of Weida,
the ancestors of the squires of Plavno, who illegally controlled As territory thoughout
the whole period of Stauf government (1146 - 1266). In 1281 the German emperor ratified
the family of Weida´s territory to be the legal imperial pledge. The house of Stauf
ministers - the squires of Neuberg settled in As territory. From Jindrich from Plavno
the pledge was bought by Jan Lucembursky in 1331 and in the same year Albrecht from
Neuberg (Podhradi) offered his territory to Jan Lucembursky too.
As estate became
an autonomous microregion and it was free from any rates and taxation. In 1394 Konrad
from Neuberg died having no son. The property was inherited by his daughter Hedwiga from
Neubergand her husband Konrad Zedwitz. The Zedwitz family became the owner of Neuberg
and As. The Zedwitz family had settled in As territory since 1334. King Zikmund
confirmed the Zedwitz´s possession in 1422. By this document separation of As territory
from Cheb was sealed and the Zedwitz family became the direct subject to the Czech king.
As territory was again proclaimed a direct feud by king Ferdinand I. in 1557.
The autonomous position
of As territory protected the Zedwitz family from confiscation. Thanks to constraint of
Braniborsko and Sasko the counter - reformation was not carried out. Emperor Leopold gave
the Zedwitz family As territory again as a feud and he confirmed their existing freedom.
Thanks to it As territory again resisted the efforts to include As to Cheb region and it
remained an independent imperial estate. When Cheb region was added to the Czech kingdom
the Habsburks supposed As territory to be a part of Cheb region and the Czech kingdom. In
1775 Marie Terezie published so called “Temperament Points” (i.e. compromising) which
finished the autonomous development of As territory although they still guaranteed
freedom of religion and exemption from taxes valuable in Bohemia. All specific rights of
As were finally abolished in 1848 because of abolishing of statutory labour. In 1850
political district of As was established and in 1854 district court was constituted.
Because of it the authority of the Zedwitz family, who had reigned over As territory for
nearly 500 years, was abolished.
From the beginning
of the century manufacturers gained economic superiority and they acquired the majority of
the Zedwitz family´s estate. In Rakousko - Uhersko good conditions for export of textile
came into being, which contributed to the fast development of textile factories in As.
The year 1864 was significant because of the railway connection between Cheb and Hof.
Mechanical looms were introduced in As for the first time in that year too. The number of
inhabitants in As increased together with the extention of textile production. In 1872
As gained the statutes of the town. Further development of textile production at the
beginning of 20th century led to the concentration of production in big factories and the
number of inhabitants in As was rising. The population rose from 9.405 in 1869 to 21.880
region was added to the recently formed Czechoslovak state in 1918. The adding had its
special course. Political power was performed by As military council which refused Cheb
separatists´ request to add Cheb region to Bavorsko. After the economic situation in As
textile factories became better there was further building of the town. A town central
cemetery was opened in 1927, a new building of the post - office in 1928, As hospital in
1937. At the end of 1937 there was a rapid fall of textile industry. It happened because
of political situation in As region getting worse and worse. Political power in the
district was taken by “Sudetdeutsche” party (i.e. Border German Party). Czech
inhabitants began to leave the town. On September 21st, 1938, 9 days before the Mnichov
agreement was signed, As region was attacked by Freikorps. The Nazi occupation of As
region was finished with the liberation of As by the corps of the American army on 20th
life in the town and work in the factories were recovered. Because of the removal of
German inhabitants in 1946 As had only a half of the pre - war number of inhabitants and
it was necessary to shut many workshops and factories. In the 50s the whole As district
was included into the border zone and that is why many people moved out. Because of lack
of workers other factories were shut and wound up. Knitting factories were concentrated to
The Tosta National Enterprise, weaving factories to The Textilana Liberec National
Enterprise, the factory Ohara and factories producing organdie and lace were concentrated
to Krajka Kraslice. Because of the lowering number of inhabitants some houses remained
uninhabited. There was lack of money for their renovation and it was necessary to demolish
them. In 1964 - 65 the situation of flats improved. There were possibilities for new
coming young families to find flats because new blocks of flats were built there. Later,
in the 70s, new housing estates were built on the places of old houses in the upper part
of the town and on the Mikulas hill. At that time the facilities for inhabitants were
improved by means of building of new supermarkets, a shopping centre, a swimming - pool,
tennis courts and a ski - centre.
The end of
the communist rule in 1989 brought many positive changes. On 1st July 1990 the border -
crossing As - Wildenau was opened. As secondary school “Gymnazium” was reopened.
Damaged houses gradually changed their appearance, building of new family houses was
getting faster. Many new shops were opened. As to economy of the town a new factory
producing plastic bottles was built by the Swedish firm PLM. But it will take some time
before As becomes a flourishing town with many parks and public gardens as it was in the
first half of 20th century.