České Budějovice

Coordinates: 48°58′29″N 14°28′29″E / 48.97472°N 14.47472°E / 48.97472; 14.47472
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České Budějovice
From top: Ottokar II Square, city swimming stadium, Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Máj centre, IGY shopping centre, Faculty of Philosophy of the University of South Bohemia, Regional hospital
From top: Ottokar II Square, city swimming stadium, Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Máj centre, IGY shopping centre, Faculty of Philosophy of the University of South Bohemia, Regional hospital
Flag of České Budějovice
Coat of arms of České Budějovice
České Budějovice is located in Czech Republic
České Budějovice
České Budějovice
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 48°58′29″N 14°28′29″E / 48.97472°N 14.47472°E / 48.97472; 14.47472
Country Czech Republic
RegionSouth Bohemian
DistrictČeské Budějovice
First mentioned1251
 • MayorDagmar Škodová Parmová (ODS)
 • Total55.71 km2 (21.51 sq mi)
381 m (1,250 ft)
 • Total96,417
 • Density1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
370 01

České Budějovice (Czech: [ˈtʃɛskɛː ˈbuɟɛjovɪtsɛ] ; German: Budweis [ˈbʊtvaɪs] ) is a city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 96,000 inhabitants. The city is located in the valley of the Vltava River, at its confluence with the Malše.

České Budějovice is the largest city in the region and its political and commercial capital, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice and the University of South Bohemia. It is famous for the Budweiser Budvar Brewery. The historic city centre is well preserved and is protected as an urban monument reservation.

Administrative parts[edit]

České Budějovice is made up of seven city parts named České Budějovice 1–7. České Budějovice 5 forms an exclave of the municipal territory.


The name Budějovice is derived from personal Slavic name Budivoj, meaning "the village of the Budivoj's people". The name first appeared as Budoywicz, then it appeared in various similar forms. The German name was created by transcribing and shortening the Czech name. When the royal city was founded in 1265, the name appeared as Budwoyz and then it was adapted to Budweis. The name Budvicium was used in Latin. After the Hussite revolution in the first half of the 15th century, the name České Budějovice ("Bohemian Budějovice") appeared to distinguish it from Moravské Budějovice ("Moravian Budějovice").[2]


Tourist boat on a river in České Budějovice

České Budějovice is located about 120 kilometres (75 mi) south of Prague. The city lies in the České Budějovice Basin, a small eastern part extends into the Třeboň Basin. The city spread mostly across a plain making it nearly flat in the inner parts with hillier areas in the eastern suburbs. The highest point lies at about 560 metres (1,840 ft) above sea level.

České Budějovice is situated in the valley of the Vltava River, at its confluence with the Malše. A set of large fish ponds is located in the northwestern part of the municipal territory. The largest pond is Novohaklovský with an area of 47.2 hectares (117 acres).[3] Several of the ponds lies within the Vrbenské rybníky nature reserve.[4]


České Budějovice has a cooler and wet inland version of a humid continental climate (Dfb) with an average annual temperature of 8.3 °C (46.9 °F). There are four seasons, with a murky dry winter between early December and early March, a sunny and wetter spring between half of March up to half of May changing to a rainy and warm summer during late May and early September when a dry autumn lasting to late November begins. There are between 1,550 and 1,800 hours of sunshine in most years.

Climate data for České Budějovice
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
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42
Source: Climate Data ORG[5]


Trams on Radecký Street (now Žižkova Street), c. 1909

The first written mention of Budějovice is from 1251, when it was only a village.[2] The royal city was founded on its site by King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1265. The siting and planning of the city was carried out by the king's knight Hirzo. The German-speaking settlers were coming from the Bohemian Forest and Upper Austria.[6] 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 became extinct in 1611.

In 1341 King John of Bohemia allowed Jewish families to reside within the city walls, and the first synagogue was built 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, České Budějovice remained a loyal supporter of Emperor Ferdinand II in the Thirty Years' War. České Budějovice underwent a short occupation by Prussia during the Silesian Wars, and the war between the Habsburgs and the French army in 1742.

In 1762 the Piarists established a gymnasium here and Emperor Joseph II founded the diocese in 1785. In 1847, the production of Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth pencils was relocated from Vienna to Budějovice. Aside from Hardtmuth, Adalbert Lanna the Elder belonged among the city's most prominent industrialists of the 19th century. During his time, Budějovice became a major trade hub. The Budweis–Linz Horse-Drawn Railway was built in 1825–1832 and became the second oldest public line in continental Europe (after the St. Étienne-Andrézieux line in France).[7]

The city remained a German-speaking enclave until 1880, after which Czechs became the majority. Until the end of World War II, the city contained a significant German minority (about 15.5% in 1930). For example, the ratios between the Germans and the Czechs were in 1880: 11,829 Germans to 11,812 Czechs, in 1890: 11,642 to 16,585, in 1900: 15,400 to 23,400, in 1910: 16,900 to 27,300 and in 1921: 7,415 to 35,800.[8]

During World War II, the city was occupied by Nazi Germany. The occupiers operated a Gestapo prison[9] and a forced labour camp in the city.[10] During the final stages of the war, in March 1945, České Budějovice's marshalling yard was twice targeted by United States Army Air Forces raids that greatly damaged the city and caused great loss of life. At the end of the war, on 9 May 1945, Soviet troops liberated the city. The entire German population was expelled in 1945 under the Beneš decrees and the Potsdam Agreement.


Historical population
Source: Censuses[11][12]


České Budějovice is the economic centre of the entire South Bohemian Region and the seat of many large corporations. The largest employers with its headquarters in České Budějovice and at least 1,000 employers are:[13]

Economic entity Number of employees Activity
České Budějovice Hospital 4,000–4,999 Health care
dm-drogerie markt 3,000–3,999 Retail sale
Robert Bosch 3,000–3,999 Automotive industry
University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice 2,000–2,499 Education
ČEVAK 1,000–1,499 Operation of water management infrastructure
E.ON Česká republika 1,000–1,499 Distributor of electricity and natural gas
Jednota 1,000–1,499 Retail sale
Groz-Beckert Czech 1,000–1,499 Manufacturer of tools for the textile industry
Madeta 1,000–1,499 Dairy
Swietelsky stavební 1,000–1,499 Construction

Beer brewing[edit]

Budweiser Budvar Brewery
Budweiser Budvar, one of the world's most famous beers

Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. In 1256 the Svitavy brewery was founded there, which was closed in 2002.[14] For a time, the town was the imperial brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (i.e. beer from Budweis) became,[15] along with Pilsner from Plzeň, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry.

The largest brewery, founded in 1895, is Budweiser Budvar, 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 and Anheuser-Busch sells its beer as "Bud" in most of the European Union. 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 operating and second largest brewery, founded in 1795, 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.


Trolleybus Škoda 25Tr serving the city

The city can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by inter-city and euro-city trains. The city has access to the D3 motorway running from Prague to the Austrian border at Dolní Dvořiště. Internationally, a direct railroads built by the Czech-Austrian companies Emperor Franz Joseph Railway in 1868 and Empress Elisabeth Railway in 1871, connecting Vienna with Plzeň and Prague with Zürich, via Linz and Salzburg, also makes a stop in České Budějovice.[16]

The city is served by České Budějovice railway station, a Neo-Renaissance style station building in the new town.[17]

Local buses and trolleybuses take passengers to most areas of the city. The metropolitan area is served by regional busses and S-Bahn system of regional trains.

Public domestic and international České Budějovice Airport is located 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) south-west from České Budějovice, in the nearby municipality of Planá.


Swimming Stadium České Budějovice
Aerial view of the historic centre

České Budějovice is the site of many sports facilities and national stadiums, including the football Stadion Střelecký ostrov, the ice-hockey Budvar Arena and the Athletic Stadium Sokol. The Swimming Stadium České Budějovice features a 50-metre indoor pool, a diving pool, saunas, an outdoor swimming pool and a children's pool. After the modernization in 1998 a covered water slide was added and after the modernization in 2017 a new whirlpool. Major sport clubs include:


Black Tower and Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Iron Maiden Tower

The historic city centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument reservation.[18]

Among the main landmarks of the city and most visited tourist destinations is the Black Tower (Černá věž). It was built in 1550–1577 as a guarding tower and a bell tower. It is 72 m (236 ft) high and 225 wooden steps lead to the top. The tower is equipped by six bells.[19]

The Iron Maiden Tower and the Rabenštejn Tower are a 14th-century former prisons and two of the few remains of the Old Town's Gothic fortifications.

City square[edit]

The historic city centre is formed by the large Přemysla Otakara II Square and its surroundings. The city square has the shape of a regular square and belongs among the largest squares in the country.[20] The square is lined with Renaissance and Baroque houses with arcades. Most of the houses have a Gothic core.[21]

In the middle of the square is Samson Fountain. It is a Baroque fountain built in 1721–1727, which is the largest fountain in the Czech Republic with a diameter of 17 m (56 ft). Originally, it was not only decorative, but also served to supply the city with water from the Vltava river.[22] Next to the fountain is the so-called Lost Rock, the only remnant of the original pavement.

The City Hall is the most distinctive house on the square. It was originally a Renaissance house from the mid-16th century, completely rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1727–1730 according to the design of Anton Erhard Martinelli. The façade with three towers is decorated with four allegorical sculptures. On the highest tower there is a carillon from 1995. The City Hall still serves its purpose today, but it also offers guided tours.[23]

Sacral monuments[edit]

Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (rear)

Among the most valuable historic buildings in České Budějovice is the Dominican monastery with the Gothic Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 13th century.


Museum of South Bohemia

The Museum of South Bohemia was founded in 1870 and opened to the public in 1877 in a house next to the city hall. The current museum was built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1899–1901 and opened in 1903. The museum has four permanent exhibitions: archaeological, natural science, geological and ethnographic.[24]

The Museum of the Horse Drawn Railway is a branch of the Museum of South Bohemia. It is located in a former guardhouse at the point where the Budweis–Linz Horse-Drawn Railway started. The house, as well as all the preserved sections of the horse-drawn railway, is protected as a national cultural monument.[7]

In literature[edit]

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

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

České Budějovice is twinned with:[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2023". Czech Statistical Office. 23 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Jméno města". Encyklopedie Českých Budějovic (in Czech). NEBE. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Novohaklovský rybník" (in Czech). Klub českých turistů Tábor. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Vrbenské rybníky" (in Czech). Klub českých turistů Tábor. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Climate: Budweis". Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  6. ^ Rene Schreiber, Budweis / Ceske Budejovice: Eine südböhmische Stadt, p. 1.
  7. ^ a b "Muzeum koněspřežky" (in Czech). Museum of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  8. ^ King, Jeremy (2018). Budweisers into Czechs and Germans: A Local History of Bohemian Politics, 1848–1948. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-18638-2.
  9. ^ "Gestapogefängnis Budweis". Bundesarchiv.de (in German). Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Arbeitserziehungslager Budweis". Bundesarchiv.de (in German). Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres České Budějovice" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015. pp. 1–2.
  12. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 27 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Registr ekonomických subjektů". Business Register (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  14. ^ www.europeanbeerguide.net
  15. ^ See the entry for Monday, 4 February 2008 on 365 Amazing Trivia Facts (Workman Publishing, 2008).
  16. ^ "Schema linek dálkových vlaků ČR" (PDF). České dráhy. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  17. ^ Kopáček, Jiří; Vondra, Václav. "Nádraží (železniční)". Encyklopedie Českých Budějovic. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  18. ^ "České Budějovice" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  19. ^ "Black Tower". City of České Budějovice. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  20. ^ "České Budějovice" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  21. ^ "Přemysla Otakara II Square". City of České Budějovice. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Samsonova kašna v Českých Budějovicích" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  23. ^ "České Budějovice Town Hall". City of České Budějovice. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  24. ^ "Jihočeské muzeum v Českých Budějovicích" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  25. ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Statutární město České Budějovice. Retrieved 20 February 2022.

External links[edit]