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Plzeň , also called Pilsen in English and German, is a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic. About 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of Prague.
The city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer, created by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll there in 1842.
It is the 4th largest city in the country and the largest city in West Bohemia, and is a convenient base for exploring this region of the Czech Republic.
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|LANGUAGE :||Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8%|
|AREA :||137.65 km2 (53.15 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :|| Center Náměstí Republiky|
- elevation 310 m (1,017 ft)
- elevation 452 m (1,483 ft)
Lowest point Berounka River
- location NE edge of the city
- elevation 293 m (961 ft)
|COORDINATES :||49°44′51″N 13°22′39″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.2%|
• Female: 50.8%
|AREA CODE :||377|
|POSTAL CODE :||301 00 – 326 00|
|DIALING CODE :||+420 377|
Pilsen is in Bohemia, in the Czech Republic in Central Europe. It is the home and birthplace of the Pilsener (or pilsner) beer variety which is derived from the city's name.
It is the 4th largest city in the country and the largest city in West Bohemia, and is a convenient base for exploring this region of the Czech Republic.
The most prominent sights of Plzeň are the Gothic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, founded in the late 13th century, whose tower, at 102 metres (335 feet), is the highest in the Czech Republic, the Renaissance Town Hall, and the Moorish Revival Great Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. There is also a 20 km (12 mi) historic underground tunnel/cellar network, among the longest in Central Europe. Part of this network is open to the public for tours of about 750 metres (2,500 feet) in length and down to a depth of 12 m (39 ft).
Built in 1532, the former water tower was integrated into the city's fortification system at Prague Gate. Another storey was added in 1822 in French Imperial style. The Gothic portal (dating from the 1500s) was added in 1912, coming from another house that had been demolished. Above the portal there is a commemorative plaque dedicated to Dr Josef Skoda (a professor at the Vienna University), who was born next door on 10 December 1805.
Plzeň is also well known for the Pilsner Urquell (since 1842) and Gambrinus(since 1869) breweries, currently owned by South African Breweries. A popular tourist attraction is the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery tour where visitors can discover the history of beer. The pilsener style of beer was developed in Plzeň in the 19th century.
Plzeň was a European Capital Of Culture in 2015, along with Mons, Belgium.
There are two official tourist information offices in Pilsen. Start your visit of Pilsen by visiting them (choose the main one on the náměstí Republiky, if possible), finding out about the current events and collecting a free map of the city. Both offices are open daily from 9.00 to 18.00 (until 19.00 between April and September).
- Informační centrum města Plzně (the main city tourist office), náměstí Republiky 41, 301 16 Plzeň (to the left of the Renaissance city hall), , e-mail: [email protected].
- Informační centrum města Plzně Hlavní nádraží ČD (the smaller city tourist office), Nádražní 102, 301 10 Plzeň (at the main train station).
Plzeň was first mentioned as a castle in 976, as the scene of a battle between Duke Boleslaus II the Pious of Bohemia and Emperor Otto II. It became a town in 1295 when King Wenceslaus II granted Plzeň its civic charter as a "Royal City" and established a new town site, some 10 km (6 mi) away from the original settlement, which is the current town of Starý Plzenec. It quickly became an important town on trade routes leading to Nuremberg and Regensburg; in the 14th century, it was the third-largest town in Bohemia after Prague and Kutná Hora. During the Hussite Wars, it was the centre of Catholic resistance to the Hussites: Prokop the Greatunsuccessfully besieged it three times, and it joined the league of Catholic nobles against King George of Podebrady. In 1468, the town acquired a printing press; the Trojan Chronicle (Kronika trojánská in Czech), the first book published in Bohemia, was printed on it.
Emperor Rudolf II made Plzeň his seat from 1599–1600. During the Thirty Years' War the town was taken by Mansfeld in 1618 after the Siege of Plzeň and it was not recaptured by Imperial troops until 1621. Wallenstein made it his winter quarters in 1633. The town was unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in 1637 and 1648. The town and region have been staunchly Catholic despite the Hussite Wars.
From the end of the 17th century, the architecture of Plzeň has been influenced by the Baroque style. The city centre has been under cultural heritage preservation since 1989.
In the second half of the 19th century Plzeň, already an important trade centre for Bohemia, near the Bavarian/German border, began to industrialise rapidly. In 1869 Emil Škoda started up the Škoda Works, which became the most important and influential engineering company in the country and a crucial supplier of arms to the Austro-Hungarian Army. By 1917 the Škoda Works employed over 30,000 workers. After 1898 the second largest employer was the National Railways train workshop, with about 2,000 employees: this was the largest rail repair shop in all Austria-Hungary. Between 1861 and 1877, the Plzeň railway junction was completed and in 1899 the first tram line started in the city. This burst of industry had two important effects: the growth of the local Czech (Slavic) population and of the urban poor. After 1868 first Czech mayor of the city was elected.
Following Czechoslovak independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918 the German-speaking minority in the countryside bordering the city of Plzeň hoped to be united with Austria and were unhappy at being included in Czechoslovakia. Many allied themselves to the Nazi cause after 1933, in the hope that Adolf Hitler might be able to unite them with their German-speaking neighbours.
Following the Munich Agreement in 1938, Plzeň became literally a frontier town, after the creation of the Sudetenland moved the Third Reich borders to the city's outer limits. During the Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945 the Škoda Works in Pilsen was forced to provide armaments for the Wehrmacht, and Czech contributions, particularly in the field of tanks, were noted.
Between 17 and 26 January 1942, over 2,000 Jewish inhabitants, most of Plzeň's Jewish population, were deported by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
The German-speaking population was forcibly expelled from the city and indeed all of Czechoslovakia after the end of the war in 1945, according to the provisions of the Potsdam agreement. All of their property was confiscated.
On 6 May 1945, near the end of the Second World War, Plzeň was liberated from Nazi Germany by the 16th Armored Division of General Patton's 3rd Army. Also participating in the liberation of the city were elements of the 97th and 2nd Infantry Divisions. Other Third Army units liberated major portions of Western Bohemia. The rest of Czechoslovakia was liberated from German control by the Soviet Red Army. Elements of the 3rd Army, as well as units from the 1st Army, remained in Plzeň until late November 1945, assisting the Czechs with rebuilding. After seizing power in 1948, the Communists undertook a systematic campaign to suppress all acknowledgement of the U.S. Army's role in liberating the city and Western Bohemia. This continued until 1989 when the Communists were removed from power. Since 1990, the city of Plzeň has organised an annual Liberation Festival, taking place in May, which has already become a local tradition, and has been attended by many American and Allied veterans.
After the Communist takeover of February 1948, the totalitarian, Soviet-oriented Czechoslovak government launched a currency reform in 1953. This decision caused a wave of discontent, including the Plzeň uprising. On 1 June 1953 over 20,000 people, mainly workers at the Škoda Works, began demonstrating against the communist regime. Demonstrators forced their way into the town hall and threw Communist symbols, furniture and other objects out of the windows. The demonstration was violently suppressed by Communist officials. In retaliation the regime immediately destroyed the statue of Thomas Garrigue Masaryk.
The next year, a West German homing pigeon was lost near the Czechoslovak border. It returned two days later, bearing a strong anti-Communist message, signed "Unbowed Pilsen." The bird was named Leaping Lena, and taken to the United States as a celebrity Cold War hero.
Climate data for Plzeň
|Record high °C (°F)||16|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−2.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||−24|
|Source #1: www.weatherbase.com|
|Source #2: http://www.chmi.cz/meteo/opss/opsss.html|
Plzeň is a centre of academic, business, and cultural life for the western part of the Czech Republic. The University of West Bohemia in Plzeň is well known for its Faculty of Law, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Applied Science in particular.
Since the late 1990s the city has experienced high growth in foreign investment. In 2007, Israeli mall developer Plaza Centers opened the Pilsen Plaza, a 20,000-square-metre (220,000-square-foot) shopping mall and entertainment centre featuring a multiplex cinema from Cinema City Czech Republic.
Plzeň produces about two-thirds of the Plzeň Region GDP, even though it contains only 29.8% of its population. Based on these figures, the city of Plzeň has a total GDP of approximately $7.2 billion, and a per capita GDP of $44,000. While part of this is explained by commuters to the city, it is one of the most prosperous cities in the Czech Republic.
The Škoda company, established in Plzeň in 1859, has been an important element of Austro-Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Czech engineering, and one of the biggest European arms factories. During the Communist era (1948–1989) the company's production had been directed to the needs of the Eastern Bloc. Disarray in the era after the Velvet Revolution, and unsuccessful efforts to gain new Western markets, resulted in sales problems and debts. After a huge restructuring process the company now has just two principal subsidiaries: Škoda Transportation (locomotives, underground trains and trams, which have been sold to Portland, Oregon; Tacoma; Seattle and Sardinia) and Škoda Power (turbines) now owned by the UK company.
Many foreign companies now have manufacturing bases in Plzeň, including Daikin and Panasonic. There has been much discussion of redeveloping those large areas of the Škoda plant which the company no longer uses.
Plzeň also has the biggest distillery (Stock) in the Czech Republic.
- Plzeň 1-Lochotín
- Plzeň 2-Slovany
- Plzeň 3-Bory
- Plzeň 4-Doubravka
- Plzeň 5-Křimice
- Plzeň 6-Litice
- Plzeň 7-Radčice
- Plzeň 8-Černice
- Plzeň 9-Malesice
- Plzeň 10-Lhota
You may find Internet connection in many hotels, so better ask at the reception first. In case of needing an Internet cafe, there are several options in Pilsen.
- Aréna - Internet Cafe - Františkánská 10
- Nico - Internet Cafe - Koperníkova 25
- Marriott - Internet in the lobby - Sady 5. kvetna 57
Prices in Plzen
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.51|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€3.60|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€10.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€18.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.40|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1.30|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.05|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€3.50|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€4.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.12|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€3.30|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€2.40|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€58.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€28.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€62.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.65|
50 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
107 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
From Prague, bus and train are the easy options of getting there. Trains leave from Prague's main train station (Praha - Hlavní nádraží ČD) hourly during the day. Buses leave frequently from Prague's terminus metro station Zličín (line B). The trip takes approximately an hour and 40 minutes by train and about an hour by bus.
From Germany, Pilsen is easily accessible by train on the Prague - Munich track.
Pilsen's main train station (Plzeň - Hlavní nádraží ČD) and the main bus station (Plzeň - Centrální autobusové nádraží) are located within walking distance of the center of the city.
For information on schedules and rates, see the online timetable.
Transportation - Get Around
To get around the compact city center, it is best to walk. To get around the whole city, the services of the public transport operator PMDP are recommended. The PMDP operate trams, buses and trolley-buses in Pilsen.
For information on lines, schedules and rates, visit the PMDP's official website[www].
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- Na Spilce, U Prazdroje 7, , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Th, Sat 11AM-10PM. F 11AM-11PM. Sun 11AM-9PM. The biggest restaurant in the Czech Republic with 550 seats. Within the grounds of the Prazdroj brewery
- Potrefená Husa (Martinská 1) - a big restaurant, good selection of meals and drinks
- Plzeňská bašta (Riegrova 5) - a stylish Czech restaurant, good meals
- U Salzmannů (Pražská 8) - the oldest beer restaurant in Pilsen serving Czech traditional cuisine
- Jadran (Bezručova 9) - both Czech and international (especially Mediterranean) cuisine
- Slunečnice (Jungmannova 4) - healthy bio cuisine including vegetarian and vegan cuisine
- Vegetka (Americká 13) – vegetarian dishes, vegetable salads and soups
- Anděl Vegetarian Restaurant (Bezručova 5) - a creative and stylish vegetarian :)restaurant
- La Tartelette (nám. Republiky 18) - French fast food (soups, salads, quiche ...)
- Stará sladovna (Malá 3) - Middle-Age-style restaurant
- Na Parkane (Veleslavinova 4) - the pub to get truly excellent unfiltered Urquell
- U Pašáka (Poděbradova 12) - microbrewery with home-brewed beer and good Czech cuisine
Coffe & Drink
Pilsen is the city where the pilsner beer was invented. Pilsner Urquell is the famous beer brand of Pilsen. In a few pubs (Senk Na Parkanu) and at the brewery, you can get the unfiltered, unpasteurized version of Pilsner Urquell, which tastes even better that the common filtered version. Another brand made in the same brewery is Gambrinus. Gambrinus Light (desitka) is probably the most common beer in the Czech Republic, and it's cheaper and weaker than Pilsner Urquell.
- Měšťanská beseda (Kopeckého sady 13) - a luxurious Art Nouveau style café
- CrossCafe (Jungmannova 5) - good coffee and some small stuff to eat (sandwiches, salads, yogurts ...)
- Sky Bar Café (Anglické nábřeží 1) - coffee and something to eat as well
- Kajetánka (Sedláčkova 2) - a winehouse
- Anděl Café (Bezručova 7) - coffee and chocolate house with music
- Kačaba (Prokopova 17) - café and teahouse employing people with disabilities as part of a therapy
- Nebeská čajovna (Sady Pětatřicátníků 2) - a stylish New Age-like teahouse
Sights & Landmarks
- St. Bartholomew's Cathedral - the Gothic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral was founded in the late 13th century. Its tower (102.26 m/335 ft) is the highest in the Czech Republic. Official website [www].
- The Town Hall - this Renaissance masterpiece was built in 1554-1559, based on the designs of an Italian architect, Giovanni de Statia.
- Historical underground network - a sophisticated system of cellars and tunnels of up to three levels under the whole Old Town area. It is accessible from the Brewery Museum in Veleslavínova street. Official website [www].
- The Great Synagogue - the second largest synagogue in Europe and third largest in the world (after synagogues in Jerusalem and Budapest).
- Pilsner Urquell Brewery, U Prazdroje 7, . Daily from 12:30PM. Founded in 1842, home to the Pilsner Urquell, the original Pilsener.Tour: 150 Kč.
- Pilsen Zoo - home to over one thousand species of animals in natural conditions without bars. Official website [www].
Museums & Galleries
- West Bohemian Museum (Kopeckeho sady 2, http://www.zcm.cz) - regular exhibitions
- Ethnography Museum of the Pilsen Region (nam. Republiky 13) - regular exhibitions
- Brewery Museum (Veleslavinova 6, http://www.prazdroj.cz/en/come-and-visit/pilsen-brewery/brewery-museum-tour) - history of brewing in Pilsen
- Techmania Science Center (Borská street, http://www.techmania.cz) - Modern interactive museum on the premises of the Škoda factory.
- Patton Memorial Pilsen (sady Pětatřicátníků) - The only American Army museum in Bohemia, opened on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen and South-West Bohemia. It features the stay of the American soldiers in the region May through November 1945.
- Ghost Museum (nám. Republiky 33, http://www.muzeumstrasidel.cz) - The exhibition features the themes of fairy-tale worlds and legends. Recommended especially for children.
- Puppet Museum (nám. Republiky 24, http://www.muzeumloutek.cz) - Located in the completely adapted historical house No. 24 in the Square of the Republic, the Puppet Museum was expected to be opened in 2009. Exhibitions and workshops will map the unique history and present of Pilsen puppetry and offer interactive activities for both children and adult visitors.
- Pilsen Municipal Armoury (Kopeckého sady 2, http://www.zcm.cz/index.php?page=zbrojnice) - it ranks among the best preserved armouries of the European medieval towns. It began in 1363 when the Emperor Charles IV was building armouries in a planned manner in the royal Czech towns to provide for their readiness. The oldest part includes a set of firearms from the turn of the 14th century. An extensive set of battlement guns with simple fuse systems was created in the first half of the 16th century. The firearms collection is completed historically by muskets from the Thirty-Year War period. Cold weapons are represented in the armoury by morgenstern from the 15th century and arquebuses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The armours of Plzeň burghers are represented by a great number of chest and back plates, shoulder and arm protecting plates, and many helmets of different types.
- Diocese Museum (Františkánská street) - Exposition of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures in the cloister of the Franciscan monastery, chapel of St. Barbara with Gothic frescos, exhibition hall in the Baroque monastic refectory. Museum temporarily closed.
- Pilsen City Art Gallery (Dominikánská 2)
- West Bohemian Art Gallery "Masné krámy" (Pražská 18)
- Jiří Trnka Art Gallery (nám. Republiky 40)
Things to do
- Walk through the city parks that circle the historical city center on its two sides.
- Enjoy the view of the city and its surrounding areas from the church tower of the St. Bartholomew's Cathedral.
- Enjoy a drink of Pilsner Urquell in the city that gave its name to all the pilseners in the world.
- Jet fighter flight in Czech Republic, MiGFlug & Adventure GmbH, Badenerstrasse 286, 8004 Zurich, , e-mail:[email protected]. Very nice but rather expensive experience. Starting from an Airbase close to Plzeň. The customer can fly the jet under watch of the pilot.€1999 for a flight including all preparations.
Festivals and events
There are several events during the year.
- The Liberation Festival - around May 6th, when the city of Pilsen was liberated from Nazi Germany by the George Patton's 3rd Army in 1945. The city is full of music and other culture.
- The Puppet Rock Festival - This summer festival is hold in the park behind the Plzen Plaza the last weekend of July. More info at
- The In The Streets Festival - generally in the first half of August. Small stages around the city center, a big stage on the Square of Republic. Music, theater and street performances.
- Pilsner Fest - the biggest and most famous beer festival in the Czech Republic takes place every year around September when Pilsner Urquell Brewery celebrates its birthday (in 2010 already on August 27-28)
- Zach’s Pub (Palackého nám. 2) - Irish pub with music club, regular music production
- House of Blues (Černická 10) - regular live concerts, nice millieu
- Buena Vista Club (Kollárova 20) - regular live music, movie projections, theater performances
- Jazz Rock Café (Sedláčkova 18) - a place to chill, live music, groovy-jazzy-funky
- Anděl Music Bar (Bezručova 7) - good music, projections