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9000 Murska Sobota
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Drawing to the conservation of the historic building

Drawing to the conservation of the historic building of the former Bölcs pharmacy in Murska Sobota

The history of pharmacy in Murska Sobota dates back to before the formation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, namely to 1842, when the first pharmacy was founded here. At the end of the 19th century, in 1894, the pharmacy was acquired by Béla Bölcs, who commissioned the construction of the new pharmacy on Glavna ulica ( Fö utca in Hungarian) a good two years later. Unfortunately, he entrusted the design of the one-storey building to an unknown architect, whose stylistic fascination with historicism is evident in almost every detail of the building of the former Bölcs pharmacy.

He designed it as a one-storey bourgeois house, most of the façade of which faces the wide view of the street that had many names in the past. First, it was called Glavna ulica (Main street), during both wars it was renamed Aleksandrova ulica (Alexander street), after World War II it was known as Titova ulica (Tito street) and today it goes by Slovenska cesta (Slovenian road). Key markers of historicism are recognised in the rusticated ground floor, which expresses axial division with smaller basement openings and windows. The beautifully profiled cornice defines the level of the floor, which is perfectly complemented by richly profiled window frames within the longitudinally styled facets. The window frames are alternately decorated by flat and semi-circular finishes along the horizontal axis in a ratio of 2 > 1. The attic frame is richly profiled with a dense frieze of brackets.

In the narrower part of the building tract, a characteristic corner entrance to the building is formed diagonally to the street. This element can also be found in the opposite, otherwise magnificent Art Nouveau building of the former savings bank, and at the end of the street in the entrance to the once main social hub of Murska Sobota, the so-called Dobray casino and hotel, today known as Zvezda, and in other buildings. It is an image of a corner entrance to the building, which we can still witness in virtually every small or large town of the 19th and early 20th centuries on the western edge of the Pannonian Basin. The characteristic part of the façade on the ground floor is divided by a portal, above which, at the height of the floor, there is a beautiful, open stone balcony on a volute corbel. Needless to say, the dimensions of the balcony door testify to the typical character of the room, with the piano nobile (bel étage) right behind it. Between two rectangular blocks with decorative finishes, a set of balustrades sits proudly on the top of the corner front like some roof crown.

From the wider part of the façade, the former functional portal can still be observed behind the somewhat prominent avant-corps part. Like at the main entrance, it is decorated with a stone balustrade in the roof partition. It was possible to reach the courtyard through it (or through the lobby). The original look of the interior is today completely lost, only the spaciousness of the rooms and the authentically preserved staircase give a sense of the original dimensions of the building.

The design of basement rooms with a nicely visible brick-vaulted ceiling and strong crossbeams is, in fact, exemplary and in full compliance with the principles of progressive protection of historical buildings. The features of historicism on the façade are obvious, testifying to the ambition of the building’s first owner, but their touch is also well suited to the present features, regardless of their current or future function. We can only wish, however, that an activity would soon come to life in this building that will market this piece of cultural and historical heritage as the true masterpiece it is!

Dr. Janez Balažic

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