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History of the town




 The town of As, 666 metres above the sea - level

  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 in 1910.

As 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 April 1945.

Gradually 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.

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