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České Budějovice

České Budějovice is the largest town in the South Bohemia. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Malše and Vltava. This place was chosen by the Czech king Přemysl Otakar II in 1265, because he wanted to intensify his powerful position in South Bohemia. In 13th and 14th centuries the Bohemia kings paid for the fidelity to the Royal crown to the citizens of České Budějovice by awarding many privileges providing economic prosperity. In this time there were built two cathedrals and solid fortification. During 15th century the catholically oriented town represented big support against the Hussite movement. Thank to the fortification it was never conquered. With its 4000 inhabitants the medieval town was one of the largest and most important town of Bohemian Kingdom.
In 16th century the town grew rich on silver mining in the surrounding mines, then on beer brewing, pond economy and trade with salt. In this century was built a new town hall, the fortification was rebuilt and the town council decided to build a high tower called Black Tower. During the anti-Habsburg uprising of the Estates the Estate army destroyed many houses, but more than a half of the town was damaged in the fire in 1641.
In 19th century there was built the horse-drawn railway connected České Budějovice with Austrian Linz. Then there were built big factories for example Hardtmuth´s Koh-i-noor, where are the pencils and ceramic goods produced or Budweiser Budvar, where the well-known beer is mass-produced. The 20th century brought intense development. In 1980´s were built new localities in the area of Čtyři Dvory, České Vrbné, Suché Vrbné, Mladé,… In 1991 was opened the South Bohemian University with the faculties of Education, Agriculture, Biology, Theology and Health and Social Studies.
Now České Budějovice has population about 100 000 and area 5554 hectares. The inhabitants can choose from a whole range of cultural event. For example they can visit The South Bohemian Theatre, The South Bohemian Museum, The concert hall of Otakar Jeremiáš or Gallery of Mikoláš Aleš. The sports fans can visit the football stadium or the hockey stadium. Next they can visit three cinemas, many discos, bowling or cafés and tea rooms. And now something more about the sights: In the centre of the town there is Přemysl Otakar II Square, that is 1,7 hectare large. Thanks to its area it belongs to the biggest squares in the Czech Republic.

At the west side of the square there is a blue baroque town hall with the glockenspiel, which plays every hour. On the town hall there are located four spouters – dragons – and over them there are four statues, which represent Justice, Courage, Wisdom and Caution. In the centre of the square there is a big fountain with Samson’s statue, which shows Samson as a strong hero taming the lion. The fountain had originally not only esthetical function, but it supplied the town with the water from the Vltava River. Near the fountain there is a Mazing stone, where stood a pillory. One legend says: “When you step on this stone, you will lose.” Near the square there is the most famous cathedral of České Budějovice – St. Nicholas cathedral from 13th century. In the inches above the entrance are statues of St. Wenceslas, Nicolas and Auratianus, who is since 17th century the patron saint of the city. The 4th statue symbolise the Virgin Mary. Beside this sight there is the Black Tower, that is 72m high and has got four bells: Bumering, Marta, Budvar and Passing bell. Under the tower there is a monument dedicated to Jan Valerian Jirsík, who was the bishop of České Budějovice. This is the last work of master Jan Myslbek. In Krajinská Street there are Meet Shops. In the past the building was in the middle of the square but after the visit of Charles IV they were removed to Krajinská Street, because they smelled. Now there is a famous pub. Close to the main square there is Piaristic Square where every Saturdays the markets take place. In the square there is the old Dominican monastery and the Church of the Virgin Mary’s sacrifice. To the monastery belongs so-called White Tower. Iron Maiden and Rabenštejn Tower are the parts of the fortification. Near the monastery there is the Salt store. Originally it was built as a granary, then changed into the armoury and later into a salt store, where was stored the salt from Pasov and Salzburg. On the building there is placed a frog of stone and there is the second town’s legend, which says: “If the frog jumps up, it will be the end of the world.”.

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