Masaryk Square and the Church of Saint Matthew
|• Mayor||Pavel Houdek|
|• Total||21.20 km2 (8.19 sq mi)|
|Elevation||406 m (1,332 ft)|
|• Density||240/km2 (610/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Bechyně ([ˈbɛxɪɲɛ] (listen); German: Bechin, Beching or Bechingen) is a town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has a population of around 5,000. It is located on the Lužnice River 20 km southwest of Tábor.
The area of today's town was settled already in prehistorical era. During the reconstruction of Square of TGM in 2011 ceramic shards and Celtic settlement from 1st century BC were found.
In 9th century a Slavic hillfort was built on cape above the Lužnice river (one of the most important in Bohemia at that time, according to Kosmas's Chronicle). In 1268, Přemysl Otakar II. decided to build his castle there. Jan Lucemburský established a town in castle's surroundings in 1323. In the second half of 16th century were the owners Rožmberks and they rebuilt the castle to renaissance mansion.
Bechyně was the capital of South Bohemian Region until 1776, then it became less important (at first capital of the district and finally nothing).
Ceramic tradition in Bechyně began in 15th century by small pottery shops. This ceramic tradition has evolved from pottery to a big sanitary ceramic factory of Schweizer Keramik Holding AG Laufen company. There is also the oldest vocational school of ceramics in Bohemia, which is still functioning. Among its student were people like Karel Roden or Karel Kryl.
The town is the terminus of the railway line from Tábor. This was built in 1903 and was the first electrified railway in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The original passenger train is preserved and operates several times each summer.
A 13th century castle was built in Bechyně, although almost none of that original structure remains today. A reconstruction in the late 16th century and subsequent renovation in the 1670s resulted in the structure that stands there today.
A local spa, which is here since 17th century, is specialized in body treatment using therapeutic mud.
Fireman museum on Square of TGM has a unique collection of old fire engines.
Bechyně has a rich theatre tradition since 1855, since 1990s there are 5 theatre festivals every year.
Thanks to river Lužnice and brooks Smutná and Židova strouha, Bechyně is visited by many tourists and rafters.
In the USA in Minnesota is a little town called Bechyn, probably established by people from Bechyně who emigrated to USA to work there. They still say they have Czech origin and celebrate it every year by organizing "Bechyn Czechfest", where they keep old traditions.
- Václav Pichl (1741–1805), classical composer
- Ladislav Haškovec (1866–1944), neuropsychiatrist
- Josefina Napravilová (1914–2014), humanitarian worker, an awardee of the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, lived in Bechyně at the end of her life
- Miroslav Kalousek (born 1960), politician, former Finance Minister
Twin towns – sister cities
- Heřmanův Městec, Czech Republic