Ceske Budejovice is a corporate town and an economic, administrative and cultural metropolis of the South Bohemian region. It is situated in a beautiful counryside on the junction of the rivers Vltava and Malse and it has approximately 95 000 inhabitants. The name is derivated from the old colony Budivojovice, the predicate Ceske started to appear only during the Hussite wars. In the historical city there are many remarkable monuments.The centre of the city with the largest quadrate square (133x133) in the country is a historical monument preserve.Ceske Budejovice was founded by the king Premysl Otakar II in around 1265. The new royal town was supposed to represent the so far missing base of the royal power in the South Bohemia and the counterbalance to the power of the Vítkovci (resp. Rožmberks). Along the centuries the town had been fulfilling the purpose with success and so had become the support of the royal power in the region. The pattern of the town whose centre is made of a regular net of wide streets around the large quadrate square belongs to the top of the medieval urbanism in Bohemia. The town‘s convenient location close to the trade paths led to the economic grow and already at the turn of the 13th and 14th century Budejovice had become a very important centre of the crafts and trade in Southern Bohemia and so gained on other cities in the region. The kings Vaclav II. and Karel IV endowed the town with numerous privileges and helped that way to its fast development. Karel IV. ordered the merchants to pass throuhg Budejovice and offer their goods there. At that time the town had already two precious cathedrals and a solid fortification.At the time of the Hussite wars the catholic Budejovice were on the king’s side, especially due to the patriciat that was largely of the german origin. During and after the Hussite wars Budejovice declined financially because of the disarranged circumstances in the country that diverted the trade paths from it. The trade war with the family of Rozmberks became a habit that overgrew into armed quarrels. The city belonged to the biggest ones in the Czech kingdom at the time. Two thirds out of 4000 inhabitants were german but there was also a jewish minority living. The town preserved the loyalty to the king even during the corporative resistance against the emperor Ferdinand I in the period from 1546 to 1547 when it didn’t join the other significant czech cities. Budejovice earned many new privileges that were at the beginning of an exceptional prosperity of the town.
The financial fortune ensued from an extensive silver mining , the income of cooking beer, the salt or the cloth trade or the fish management. U Rudolfa (a small town on the northeast border of Budejovice) where the silver mines were, there was a mint from 1569 to 1611. Due to these new incomes the town got a charming renaissance face, a new town hall and a tower nowdays called Cerna-Black were built. During the corporative resistance and the following Thirty years war Budejovice took the side of the emperor and resisted all the attacks of the corporative force. The city became a strategically important fortress surrounded with a modern fortification. Considering the fights in the central and northern Bohemia Budejovice became the temporal capital of the kingdom into which some of the important institutions were desplaced from Prague. The year 1641 happened to be the black year for Budejovice when more then a half of it was destroyed in a fire. The following renovation and reconstruction of the town in its economy was slow, the prosperity and the construction development were regenerated on a wider scale only in the 18th century. The new baroque buildings gave the city a new image Many new especially ecclesiastical buildings were built up.
The Piarists Order settled down here, they founded a lyceum and a piarist dormitory . In 1751 Ceske Budejovice became the administrative centre of the new created region Budejovice. During the josephs reforms of the in 1785 an episcopacy was set up there.Up to the beginning of the 19th century Ceske Budejovice was a smaller town closed up in a rampart with less than 10.000 inhabitants. An important turning point was the foundation of the horse yoke railway from Ceske Budejovice to the northaustrian Lince, the first railway in the old continent and after England the second in Europe. The first train pulled out in 1832.The first industrial concerns started to rise at the time, Vojtech Lanna founded a river dock. Along the 19th century the development of the town went on and the rampart was pulled down. Ceske Budejovice kept on enlarging to the nowdays form of the hundreds of thousands city. In the 20th century the South Bohemian University was established. The city preserved the tradition of cooking beer. There is the Budejovicky brewery making Budvar and also the burgess brewery where the beer Samson is cooked.
Most of the historical and cultural monuments of Ceske Budejovice is concentrated in the square of Premysl Otakar II and its nearest surroundings, in the historical centre of the town. The characteristic of the square that is all lined with the typical arcades of the burgess houses from the periods of renaissance and barocco is the Samson’s fountain. Not far from it there is a boulder set in the paving where used to be a gallowss in the middle ages.Who according to the legend steps over it after 9 p.m. without knowing, loses his sense of orientation and would ramble the streets. There i also a very richly decorated town hall with statues of 4 virtues in an above-lifesize. To the oldest part of Ceske Budejovice belongs the former dominican monastery together with the church of Sacrifice of the Virgin Mary founded at the same time as the city very close to the square.
The church was a part of the fortification system, pulled down in the 19th century and only some rests of the rampart together with the tower called the Iron maiden, round citadel Otakarka on the rivierside of Malse and the Rabstejnska tower were preserved up to now. The only remaining of all city gates is the Solna gate leading to the river. The best known construction and point of the town as well the view is is the 72 m high Black tower built in the 16th century close to the square. The bottom part (5 floors) is built in a gothic style, the top part with a circled citadel and a dome is renaissance. Originally it served as a belfry. Today it is a view point. In its neighbourhood there is a cathedral baroque minster. In the Old town in the place of the original colony Budivojice there is a graveyard church of the St.Baptist and St. Prokop that was indicated as a parish church. It was reconstructed to the way it looks today in the 15th and the 16th century. Today, there are many cultural institutions in the historical part of the town. There is the South Bohemian museum, at the riverside of Malse there’s an old empire building of the South Bohemian Theatre from 1918, at the junction of the rivers there’s an observatory and a planetarium. In the new part of the town on the left side of Vltava there was established a large exhibition ground where, besides many others exhibitions, takes place the annual international fair the Earth Feeder.
Thanks to all of these monuments and the proximity of others historically valuable places like for example Hluboká nad Vltavou, town Český Krumlov, monasteries in Zlaté Koruna and Vyšší Brod and the monument of UNESCO the country open air museum Holasovice, Ceske Budejovice is a frequent trip destination for the tourists.
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