Pilsen is the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic. It is located in western Bohemia. It is an important industrial, commercial, cultural, and administrative center.
The city was founded on the confluence of four rivers – Uhlava, Uslava, Radbuza and Mze – by the Czech king Wenceslas II in 1295. Situated on the crossroads of two important trade routes and close to Prague, Pilsen experienced an immediate rapid growth.
Nowadays, the Pilsen metropolitan area covers 125 square kilometres. Its population is 165, 000 inhabitants. In 1989, the ancient town center was declared a historical landmark to be carefully preserved. The rich architectural gems here include Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Renaissance City Hall, Baroque reconstruction of the Archdeacon’s house and Franciscan Monastery, and the recently re-opened Great Synagogue of Pilsen. Many Pilsen public buildings, such as the city theatre, museum, the Burgher Hall or houses with Mikolas Ales’s sgraffiti, date back to the 19th century.
Industrialisation took off in the 19th century. At that time, such industrial giants as the engineering complex Skoda and the Pilsen Brewery were established. Nowadays, the modern industrial zone in Borska Fields represents an extraordinary project in the Czech industrial sphere.
In an effort to increase the quality of education in the area, the University of West Bohemia was founded in the city in 1991. Pilsen is a center of international cultural events and festivals that include the Smetana Days, the Theatre Festival, International Drawing Biennial, Skupa’s Plzen, and the International Big-Band Festival.
5 places you must see in Pilsen:
- Pilsner Urquell Brewery – and beer directly from the source
- Republic Square – with the beautiful Gothic cathedral of St. Bartholomew with the tallest church spire in the Czech Republic, City Hall and its fountains
- Pilsen Historical Underground – build under the city centre in the 14th century and due to its lengh of 20 km it is among one of the largest in the Czech Republic
- The Great and Old Synagogue – the Great Synagogue is the second biggest Synagogue in Europe
- Loos interiors – a unique collection of residential interiors designed by a world famous architect Adolf Loos