Benkovice – history
The village of Benkovice is located 416 m high above sea level. The village is partly protected from winds by gentle slopes.
The name of the village was derived (by the suffix -ovice) from the personal name Benek, which was a domestic form of the then frequented name Benedikt. Benkovice meant the village of Benek´s people.
The first mention dates from 1363, the oldest record in Opava archives is from 1413 (Benkowitz in German), since 1570 Czech name Benkovice has been used.
A school was built in 1834. In 1974 it was closed down – there were only ten children in the village. Now the building serves as a youth club and a library.
A wind mill in the village burnt down in 1869. The stones from its foundations were used in the construction of a chapel, which was started in 1869 and consecrated on April 24th 1870.
In 1897 a voluntary fire brigade was set up, in 1911 a stage was bought and the first performance was played in September 1902 by amateur actors from Štáblovice. Between WWI and WWII physical education organizations Sokol (Falcon), Orel (Eagle) and Workers´ Physical Education Organization were active in the village.
The village was liberated on 4th May 1945.
In 1952 forty farmers founded a cooperative farm; in 1953, however, it fell apart. In the 1950s the members of the Union of Youth played amateur performances both in Benkovice and nearby villages, they also set up a singing club and played sport matches in the local playground.
Electricity was installed in the village in 1947 and the telephone connection in 1948.
In 1958 a fire reservoir was completed, a pond in the village square was filled up.
In 1992 water-distribution network started functioning. In the 1990s the citizens of Benkovice built a tennis court, which serves as an ice- rink in winter. They also adapted a football pitch close by.
At the turn of the millennium two organizations were active in the village: The Voluntary Fire Brigade and The Czech Women´s Union. The fire brigade has been active so far. In May 2009 Benkovice had a population of 186. Not all the village houses are permanently settled; some serve as second holiday homes to town people.
The chapel and a three-sided wayside shrine
The chapel was built in 1868 and consecrated to St. Konstantin and Methodius on 5th July 1869. It was repaired in 1908 and then in 1969. The bell weighing 154 kg was installed in the chapel in 1958. A three-sided wayside shrine behind the crossroads leading to Štáblovice was built around 1840. It was consecrated in July 1893 and now is listed in the Central list of cultural monuments of the Czech Republic.
The Chapel of St. Mary of Lourdes from 1935 is situated in the lower part of the village. As a typical example of folk architecture, it is listed in the Central list of cultural monuments. In 2007 it was repaired and newly consecrated after being damaged by a car crash.