Coordinates: 50°19′48″N 13°32′40″E / 50.33000°N 13.54444°E / 50.33000; 13.54444
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Svobody Square with town hall and Holy Trinity Column
Svobody Square with town hall and Holy Trinity Column
Flag of Žatec
Coat of arms of Žatec
Žatec is located in Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°19′48″N 13°32′40″E / 50.33000°N 13.54444°E / 50.33000; 13.54444
Country Czech Republic
RegionÚstí nad Labem
First mentioned1004
 • MayorRadim Laibl
 • Total42.68 km2 (16.48 sq mi)
233 m (764 ft)
 • Total19,044
 • Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
438 01
Official nameŽatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops
CriteriaCultural: (iii), (iv), (v)
Designated2023 (45th session)
Reference no.1558-002

Žatec (Czech pronunciation: [ˈʒa.tɛt͡s]; German: Saaz) is a town in Louny District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 19,000 inhabitants. It lies on the Ohře river. Žatec is famous for an over-700-year-long tradition of growing Saaz noble hops used by several breweries. Žatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2023. The historic town centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument reservation and partly also as an urban monument zone.

Administrative parts[edit]

Villages of Bezděkov, Milčeves, Radíčeves, Trnovany, Velichov and Záhoří are administrative parts of Žatec.


The name Žatec is derived from the Old Czech word záteč / zateč. It was a designation for a place on a river where ice accumulates in a narrowed channel.[2]


Žatec is located about 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Louny and 62 km (39 mi) northwest of Prague. It lies in an agricultural landscape of the Most Basin. The highest point is at 337 m (1,106 ft) above sea level. The Ohře River flows through the town. The confluence of the Ohře and Blšanka rivers is situated on the eastern municipal border.


The Priests' Gate, part of remains of the town fortifications

The first written mention of Žatec is in the Latin chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg of 1004. In 1248, Žatec was firstly titled as a town. In 1265, it received the privileges of a royal town from King Ottokar II of Bohemia.[3]

In the 16th century, Žatec had around 5,000 inhabitants and was one of the most populous towns in the kingdom. In 1827, a chain bridge over the Ohře, the first chain bridge in Bohemia, was built.[3]

From the outbreak of the Hussite Wars in 1419 to the Thirty Years' War, the town was Hussite or Protestant, but after the Battle of White Mountain (1620) the greater part of the Czech inhabitants left the town.[3] It remained German and Roman Catholic until 1945, when the German speaking inhabitants were expelled to Germany. On 3 June 1945, about 5,000 German inhabitants were gathered on the town square and marched to Postoloprty, where at least 763 were murdered, estimates range up to 2,000 victims killed by Czechoslovak military in Žatec and on the march.[4]


Historical population
Source: Censuses[5][6]


Žatec and its surroundings is known for its tradition of growing Saaz hops. Saaz hops or Žatec hops is a protected designation of origin.[7]

The tradition of beer brewing started here in 1261; growing of hops is first documented in 1348.[3] In 1800–1801, the Žatec Brewery started its production, which continues to this day.[8]


Žatec lies on the PlzeňMost railway line.


Žatec hosts Dočesná, a hops-related harvest festival. It takes place on the town square every September.[9]


Hošťálkovo Square with Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Since 1961, the historic core of Žatec has been protected as an urban monument reservation. It is a collection of important buildings and architectural styles from the Romanesque period to the Art Nouveau.[3]

Since 2003, the area south of the historic centre has been protected as an urban monument zone. It is valuable mainly for its technical constructions related to hop growing.[10]

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is one of the most significant monuments. It was originally built in the Romanesque style and some of its Romanesque parts are still preserved. In 1724–1728, the Chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk was added. Around 1740, the west façade was reconstructed in the Baroque style.[11]

The hop-growing and brewing tradition is widely presented by the town. There are Hop Museum and Brewing Museum. The Temple of Hops and Beer is a tourist complex with several attractions, including a lookout tower and a small astronomical clock. Žatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops (which includes the village of Trnovany within Žatec and the village of Stekník) was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2023.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

Žatec was used as a filming location for many historical films and TV series, including[13] Yentl (1983), The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992), Les Misérables (1998), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999), Oliver Twist (1999), Burning Bush (2013),[14] The Zookeeper's Wife (2016),[15] A Bag of Marbles (2017) and Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit (2019).[16]

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Žatec is twinned with:[17]


  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2023". Czech Statistical Office. 2023-05-23.
  2. ^ "Jméno Žatecký". Ptejte se knihovny (in Czech). National Library of the Czech Republic. 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Historie" (in Czech). Město Žatec. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  4. ^ "Mord im Fasanengarten" (in German). Der Spiegel. 2009-08-30.
  5. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Louny" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 2015-12-21. pp. 15–16.
  6. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 2021-03-27.
  7. ^ "Žatecký chmel" (in Czech). Žatecký chmel. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  8. ^ "Historie" (in Czech). Žatec Brewery. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  9. ^ "Dočesná" (in Czech). Žatecká Dočesná. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  10. ^ "Žatec – městská památková zóna" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  11. ^ "Chrám Nanebevzetí Panny Marie v Žatci" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  12. ^ "Žatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops". UNESCO. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  13. ^ "Městem Žatec po stopách natáčení slavných filmů" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  14. ^ "Režisérka dokončila natáčení filmu o Janu Palachovi" (in Czech). Žatecký deník. 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  15. ^ "Úkrytem v zoo projdou čeští herci i pražské exteriéry, svou průměrnost ale neschová" (in Czech). Czech Radio. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  16. ^ "Žatec: Czech town providing perfect location for major productions including JoJo Rabbit". Czech Radio. 2020-02-27. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  17. ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Město Žatec. Retrieved 2023-10-17.

External links[edit]