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Cities and towns

Cities and towns

The cultural, political and economic centre of the region is the statutory city of Plzeň, founded by the Czech King Václav II on a rectangular construction site in 1295. Plzeň is the fourth largest city in Czech Republic.

The spacious main square is dominated by the Gothic cathedral of St Bartholomew with its 102 metres tall spire and the famous stone statue of the Madonna of Plzeň. The observation gallery on the spire offers views of the whole historic centre of the city comprising a number of burgher houses in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Particularly valuable is the Renaissance town hall in the main square. The former fortification walls and moats were replaced by parks and public gardens full of trees, lawns and water fountains. An easy stroll through the parks will lead the visitor to the Great Synagogue, the imposing buildings of the Big Theatre of J. K. Tyl and the Museum of West Bohemia with its unique permanent exhibition of historic blunderbuss guns. Close to the main square is a Franciscan monastery including a diocese museum, and entry to the historic underground of the city – a maze of cellar corridors and shafts dug in the sandstone foundations of the original walled-in city.

    A popular goal for weekend family outings are the city zoologi­cal and botanical gardens, the second oldest in the country. České údolí (Czech Valley) in Bory is the place where the former political prisoner Luboš Hruška built his Memorial to the Victims of Evil, also known as the Meditation Garden. In that he was assisted by sculptor Roman Podrázský and other devoted friends who felt it necessary to leave a warning testimony to the cruel fate of the prisoners of the communist labour camps in the 1950s. The famous prison in Bory with its classic star-shaped layout and capac­ity of 900 prisoners used to rank among the largest institutions of its kind in Europe.

   He who sets out on a trip from Plzeň heading north, should pay a visit to Manětín, a small town noted for unique Baroque sculptures and stone-cut decorations. Manětín is often referred to as the Baroque pearl of West Bohe­mia. Further up north you will find one of the smallest towns of Europe (with mere 30 permanent residents) – Rabštejn nad Střelou, overlooking the romantic wooded countryside from a headland above the Střela river. The towns of Horní Bříza, Třemošná, Kaznějov and Kožlany are noted for ceramic products including wall and floor tiles and jugs. The largest kaolin pit in Europe is located in the deep forests near Horní Bříza.

    West of the region’s capital lies the ancient Royal and mining town of Stříbro with a fine town hall in the Renaissance style and an old bridge with a gate across the Mže river. Another 30 km in the westward direction you will find Tachov whose well-preserved medieval fortifications still create an impres­sion. The town’s sky-line is dominated by the three-nave basilica of Virgin Mary’s Assumption. In the nearby Světce reconstruc­tion work is in progress on a large riding-school hall of the Windischgrätz house from the mid 19th century.

One of the last rural districts in Bohemia with characteristic folklore traditions, Chodsko, is located south-west of Plzeň, at the foot of the Bohemian Forest. Some older people there still wear folk costumes on week days and speak a distinct dialect. Chodsko is also noted for its typical hand-painted earthenware manufactured at Klenčí and Koloveč. The administration centre of the Chodsko district is the Royal town of Domažlice. The well-known features of this old town are the arcaded houses in the square and two slim towers visible from afar. One of these, originally a watch tower, belongs to the Gothic church of Virgin Mary’s Birth, the other is part of the Chodský castle, now a local museum. The old part of the nearby town of Horšovský Týn is a municipal conservation zone including a medieval bishop’s castle rebuilt in the mid 16th century to a chateau.

    Klatovy is known as the gate to the Šumava mountains. The town is a popular tourist destination with many sacral constructions and remains of medieval fortifications. Special attractions are the Black Tower in the main square, unique Baroque drug-store and the catacombs. Another ”gate to the Šumava” is the town of Sušice on the Otava river with a long tradition of match manufacturing. There is an interesting square and a museum of the Šumava; the museum has affiliated exhibition rooms in Kašperské Hory and Železná Ruda. Close to the borderline dividing the Plzeň and South-Bohemia regions lies the town of Horažďovice, originally a settlement round the ancient Prácheň castle.

Nepomuk, a town on the road connecting Plzeň and Horažďovice, is the birthplace of St Jan of Nepomuk, the patron saint of waters, whose statues can be found not only in Czech Republic, but also in other Catholic countries all over Europe. Visible from afar, the monumental Baroque cathedral of Virgin Mary’s Assumption in Přeštice is the work of the master builder K. I. Dienzenhofer. St Vitus’ church in Dobřany built by J. Auguston ranks among the most interesting Baroque constructions in Cen­tral Europe. The town of Rokycany used to be known as the seat of the bicycle manufacturer Favorit. Now you will go there to see a collection of stone-age artefacts at Dr Bohuslav Horák’s museum or to visit the only astronomical observatory in the Plzeň region. The Baroque chateau on a hill overlooking Zbiroh near Rokycany is open for the public all the year round.

 

Last edited by: Beránek Filip (29.06.2010)

 

  • The city of Spálené Poříčí

    The city of Spálené Poříčí

    The city of Spálené Poříčí has a lot to offer - and has been awarded the prestigious title of The Historical City of 2003 (the only one in the Pilsen region) for its care of historical monuments.

 


 

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