České Budějovice

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Coordinates: 48°58′29″N 14°28′29″E / 48.97472°N 14.47472°E / 48.97472; 14.47472
České Budějovice (Budějce)
České Budějovice - centrum letecky.jpg
Old town
Coat of arms
Country Czech Republic
Region South Bohemian
District České Budějovice
Rivers Vltava, Malše
Center Přemysl Otakar II Square
 - elevation 381 m (1,250 ft)
 - coordinates 48°58′29″N 14°28′29″E / 48.97472°N 14.47472°E / 48.97472; 14.47472
Area 55.56 km2 (21 sq mi)
Population 96,053 (As of 2009)
Density 1,729 / km2 (4,478 / sq mi)
Founded 1265
Mayor Juraj Thoma
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 370 01
Czechia - background map.png
Wikimedia Commons: České Budějovice
Website: www.c-budejovice.cz

České Budějovice (Czech pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛskɛː ˈbuɟɛjovɪtsɛ]; colloquially: Budějice or Budějce; German: Budweis or Böhmisch Budweis; sometimes referred to as Budweis in English) is a statutory city in the Czech Republic. It is the largest city in the South Bohemian Region as well as its political and commercial capital, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice, the University of South Bohemia, and the Academy of Sciences. It is located in the center of a valley of the Vltava River, at the confluence with the Malše.

České Budějovice, which is located in the historical province of Bohemia, is not to be confused with Moravské Budějovice in Moravia.


The city was founded by Hirzo, a knight of King Ottokar II of Bohemia, and was granted its municipal charter in 1265. The royal city was created as a platform of the king's power in South Bohemia and to counterbalance the powerful noble House of Rosenberg, which finally became extinct in 1611.

In 1341 King John of Bohemia accorded permission to Jewish families to reside within the Budweis walls and a first synagogue was erected in 1380, however several pogroms occurred in the late 15th and early 16th century. Since the Hussite Wars, the city was traditionally a bulwark of the Catholic Church during the long-lasting religious conflicts in the Kingdom of Bohemia. A part of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1526, Budweis remained a loyal supporter of Emperor Ferdinand II in the Thirty Years' War. In 1762 the Piarists established a gymnasium here and Emperor Joseph II founded the Budweis diocese in 1785. In 1847 the production of Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth pencils was relocated from Vienna to Budweis.

Barracks on Radeckystraße, c. 1909

The city remained a German-speaking enclave until 1880, when during the industrialization of the city, Czechs became the ethnic majority. Until the expulsions after World War II, the city contained a significant German minority (about 15.5% in 1930). Some population figures: 1828: 6,800; 1832: 8,100; 1851: 15,200; 1880 (the first to report nationality): 11,829 Germans and 11,812 Czechs; 1890: 11,642 and 16,585; 1900: 15,400 and 23,400; 1910: 16,900 and 27,300; 1921 (the first held under Czech rule): 7,415 and 35,800.[1]


Low-lying city spreads mostly in the plains making it nearly flat in the inner parts with hillier areas in the eastern suburbs. The lowest point lies 375 meters ASL (1233 feet) and the highest point at 452 meters ASL (1483 feet). For it is not very well ventilated some strong frosts do occur; the strongest frost plummeted to −42.2 °C (−44.0 °F) in 1929 in the southern part of Budweis with lower temperatures elsewhere in the meantime. Nevertheless, such a strong frost is something exceptional, especially outside of valley bottoms.

Budweis has cooler and wet inland version of temperate Oceanic climate (Cfb) with average annual temperature 8.3 °C (46.9 °F). There are profound four seasons with murky dry winter between early December and early March, sunny and wetter spring between half of March up to half of May changing to rainy and warm summer during late May and early September when start dry autumn lasting to late November. There is between 1550 and 1800 hours of sunshine in most years.

Climate data for Budweis
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.9
Average low °C (°F) −5.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 42
Source: Climate Data ORG[2]


Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time the town was the imperial brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (i.e. beer from Budweis) became,[3] along with Pilsner from Plzeň, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry.

The largest brewery, founded in 1895, is "Pivovar Budějovický Budvar" (Budweiser Budvar Brewery) which has legal rights to market its beer under the "Budweiser" brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names "Budvar" and "Czechvar" due to legal disagreements with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Bohemian original, but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name "Budweiser", but the Czech government has refused all such offers, regarding the Czech Budweiser name as a matter of national pride.

The oldest (founded in 1795) and second largest brewery was renamed to "Pivovar Samson", replacing its original German name "Budweiser Bürgerbräu" during the communist period. It also exported, mostly under the "Samson" and "Crystal" labels. Recently, they reacquired naming rights for Budweiser for Europe while offering "B. B. Bürgerbräu" in the US since 2005.


České Budějovice's town square: Naměstí Přemysla Otakara II (Přemysl Otakar II Square).
St. Nicholas Cathedral with the Black Tower on the opposite corner of the square

The old town preserves interesting architecture from Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and 19th century period. This includes buildings around the large town square, the old town hall with murals and bronze gargoyles, and the town tower "Černá věž" ("Black Tower"). In the new town the Belle Époque Austro-Hungarian train station is notable. The most valuable historic building in České Budějovice is the Dominican convent with the Gothic Presentation of the Virgin Mary church on Piaristic Square. The horse-drawn railroad line connecting České Budějovice to Linz was the second oldest public line in continental Europe (after the St.Etienne-Andrézieux line in France), constructed from 1824 to 1832; mere traces of the line can be seen south of the city center.

The ruins of the home castle of the Czech national hero Jan Žižka, Trocnov (now part of Borovany), are located some ten kilometres (6 miles) southeast of the town. A bit further away (approximately 30 km), the town of Český Krumlov is another popular tourist destination in South Bohemia. In 1992, it was added to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Town square at night


Local buses and trolleybuses take passengers to most areas of the city. The city can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by train. Internationally, a direct railroad built by the Austrian Empress Elisabeth Railway company in 1871, connecting the Czech capital Prague with Zürich, via Linz and Salzburg, also makes a stop in České Budějovice. The town will receive access to the planned D3 motorway running from Prague to Kaplice. A former military airport is located at the nearby village of Planá.


It was the birthplace of:

The city is also one of the major settings in the novel "The Good Soldier Švejk" by Jaroslav Hašek. Budějovice is the setting and was the working title for the play The Misunderstanding by Albert Camus

International relations[edit]

Town hall and Samson fountain

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

České Budějovice is twinned with:


  1. ^ Jeremy King, 'Budweisers into Czechs and Germans', 2002
  2. ^ Template:Citr web
  3. ^ See the entry for Monday, 4 February 2008 on 365 Amazing Trivia Facts (Workman Publishing, 2008).
  4. ^ a b c d e f BUDWeb.cz (Budweis information server
  5. ^ Места: Будвайзер
  6. ^ a b c d e Budweis city authority website

External links[edit]