With its city walls and castle-moats Plzeň was already in early years one of the most important fortified cities in the country. The city was founded in 1295 by the king Vaclav II. Plzen has been situated on the trade path from Prague to Germany. The German immigrants settled and developed the city rapidly. They builded a typical colonists city; a floor plan with a checkerboard patern of 22 rectangular squares. Of those squares 2 weren't build on. These 2 rectangles are the city squares of today.
The centre of the historic city is the Náměstí Republiky. It is the largest square in Bohemia. At the square is the Renaissance city hall from the year 1558. The large hall is decorated with the fresco "The Crucifixion". In this fresco you can see in the background the oldest overview over the city (1578).
The Gothic Church of St. Bartholomew towers above the surrounding buildings. The tower is 103 m. high and the highest in the country. On the main alter from 1883 you can see the "Madonna of Plzeň", a masterpiece of Gothic sculpting from 1390.
At the cemetery of the Church of St. Nicolas the playwriter Kajetan Tyl is buried. He was the writer of the national anthem "Kde domov můj?", Where is my home?.
Only at the beginning of the industrial revolution Plzeň developed rapidly into a very important industrial center. In 1848 the world famous Prazdroj Brewery was founded. When you leave the city in the direction of Praque you will see the brewery Pilsner Urquell. Impressive is the entrance gate in Neo Renaissance style. The brewery can be visited by groups. Beside the brewery you will find the restaurant with beer hall Prazdroj where you can buy souvenirs.
Even more, Plzeň is known as steel city, especially thanks to the gigantic Škoda factories. Metal industry has become the main income provider after Emil Škoda opened his machine factory in 1868. Beside the already mentioned industry, Plzeň is also renowned for its schooling institutes in medicine, electro techniques and mechanical engineering.
Useful information See it on the map Campgrounds near Plzeň
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