Karnola Community and Cultural Space

Karnola in Hranice is a former textile factory that Jan and Marka Vařeka began renting after returning from Prague to live in their hometown of Janov. They wanted to renovate a part of the factory lying close to the city center, and build a new cultural and community center there. The Vařekas took up the approach of the factory’s first owner Oli Helcl, an artist and independent regional organizer, who had used the space as a studio. The renovation of the former women’s changing rooms and washroom became an important part of the project. It was turned into an accommodating space which now regularly hosts a community of local patrons. The Vařekas founded the Zvěř association to support their activities, using it to organize cultural, social and educational events. At first, the couple focused on importing cultural projects of a more challenging nature from the cities, but later they decided to cater to the broader public, to attract more visitors. They now offer community and family-oriented events, lectures, workshops and discussions. Karnola also hosts yoga sessions, English lessons, and art courses. The association also undertook various educational projects, becoming the initiator of the international project Back to the Roots, whose goal is to spread awareness of cultural diversity. Apart from the Vařekas, the project also brings in a larger circle of organizers from various disciplines. Karnola often hosts the hardcore and indie scenes of Ostrava, and lovers of contemporary electronica from Olomouc and other regions. A major activity organized by Zvěř is the festival Letiště, which annually offers a selection of contemporary alternative and electronic music. The pandemic has significantly impacted the association’s activities and many events were cancelled due to health measures. During the first wave, the association tried to continue their activities online and launched a podcast series. The second wave brought a deficit of finances, which led to a significant lull in activity. Karnola’s future operations remain an open question.