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Hradec Králové

Coordinates: 50°12′33″N 15°49′56″E / 50.20917°N 15.83222°E / 50.20917; 15.83222
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Hradec Králové
Velké Square, the historic centre
Velké Square, the historic centre
Flag of Hradec Králové
Coat of arms of Hradec Králové
Hradec Králové is located in Czech Republic
Hradec Králové
Hradec Králové
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°12′33″N 15°49′56″E / 50.20917°N 15.83222°E / 50.20917; 15.83222
Country Czech Republic
RegionHradec Králové
DistrictHradec Králové
First mentioned1091
 • MayorPavlína Springerová
 • Total105.69 km2 (40.81 sq mi)
235 m (771 ft)
 • Total93,906
 • Density890/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
500 XX, 503 XX

Hradec Králové (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɦradɛts ˈkraːlovɛː] ; German: Königgrätz) is a city of the Czech Republic. It has about 94,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of the Hradec Králové Region. The historic centre of Hradec Králové is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument reservation, the wider centre is protected as an urban monument zone.

Administrative division[edit]

Administrative parts of Hradec Králové

Hradec Králové is made up of 21 city parts:[2]

  • Březhrad
  • Hradec Králové
  • Nový Hradec Králové
  • Kukleny
  • Malšova Lhota
  • Malšovice
  • Moravské Předměstí
  • Piletice
  • Plácky
  • Plačice
  • Plotiště nad Labem
  • Pouchov
  • Pražské Předměstí
  • Roudnička
  • Rusek
  • Slatina
  • Slezské Předměstí
  • Svinary
  • Svobodné Dvory
  • Třebeš
  • Věkoše


The city was originally named Hradec, which is a diminutive of hrad (i.e. "castle"). Later, when it was owned by Bohemian queens, the Králové attribute (genitive of králová, "queen" in Old Czech) was added. So the name literally means "queen's castle".[3]


The Elbe running through the city

Hradec Králové is located about 95 kilometres (59 mi) east of Prague and forms an agglomeration with the city of Pardubice, which is located about 19 kilometres (12 mi) south of Hradec Králové. It lies in the East Elbe Table, in the eastern part of the Polabí lowlands. The highest point is the hill Slatina at 281 m (922 ft) above sea level. The city is situated at the confluence of the Elbe and the Orlice rivers. The municipal territory is rich in small fishponds.


11th–16th centuries[edit]

The first written mention of a castle named Hradec is in Chronica Boemorum written in 1119–1125, when the record of the castle is associated with the year 1091. The document from 1073 that mentioned Hradec is a forgery from the 12th century. The first written mention of the settlement of Hradec is from 1225 and it was already referred to as a city. In 1306, Hradec became a dowry town ruled by Bohemian queens. It was the residence of Elizabeth Richeza of Poland in 1308–1318 or Elizabeth of Pomerania in 1378–1393. In the 14th century, thanks to the presence of the queens, the city became a military and political center of a region with a high level of education and culture.[4][5][6]

Extensive fires in 1290, 1339 and 1407 accelerated the reconstruction of the city. In 1420, during the Hussite Wars, the city was conquered by the Hussites and became their military centre. In 1423, the Hussites completely destroyed the castle where the queens used to live. During the rule of King George of Poděbrady, the city experienced a new period of economic, political and cultural prosperity.[6]

The development ended in 1547, when Hradec Králové joined the campaign against Emperor Ferdinand I, and as a result many of its properties were confiscated and its privileges were taken away. The city did not recover economically until the end of the 16th century. At this time, the houses were rebuilt in the Renaissance style.[6]

17th–18th centuries[edit]

Hradec Králové was hit hard by the Thirty Years' War. It was conquered by the Swedish army in 1639 and several more times in the following years. At the end of the war, the city was depopulated and almost destroyed. However, the city recovered and in the 17th and early 18th century acquired a Baroque character. During the War of the Austrian Succession, the city was again involved in the war due to its strategic location.[6]

In 1766, Joseph II decided to build a large modern military fortress in the city. Its construction changed the character of the city and its surroundings, some suburbs were demolished and the inhabitants moved into newly established settlements. A nearby hill was dismantled to build the massive walls and the riverbed of both the Elbe and the Orlice were changed. A complete defense infrastructure was built inside the walls. The fortress was finished in 1789 and occupied 320 hectares (790 acres), but during its existence, it was never used in the war.[5][6]

19th–20th centuries[edit]

General view

In the mid-19th century, the industrialisation began and several industrial enterprises were founded inside the fortifications. The Battle of Königgrätz, the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, took place on 3 July 1866 near Hradec Králové. This event is commemorated in the famous "Königgrätzer Marsch". Moreover, the battle put an end to the age of fortifications. The fortress was formally abolished in 1884 and gradually demolished between 1893 and 1914. The last remnants were demolished between 1929 and 1930.[6]

In 1884, a then-unique international competition for the city's regulatory plan was announced. In the 1890s, several representative buildings (monastery, synagogue, high school, etc.) were built. Before the World War I, the harmonious development of the city and its high architectural level were influenced especially by the architect Jan Kotěra. In the 1920s, his pupil, another prominent Czech architect Josef Gočár, became the leading figure in the city's development, and his regulatory plan from 1926–1928 became the basis for the construction activity in the years to come. The urban development of Hradec Králové in the 1920s and 1930s was also appreciated abroad and the city was nicknamed the "Salon of the Republic".[6]


Historical population
Source: Censuses[7][8]


Former seat of the Petrof company

The largest industrial employers with headquarters in the city are ARROW International, a manufacturer of medical instruments and technology owned by Teleflex,[9] and Trelleborg Bohemia, which focuses on the production of rubber and rubber products.[10]

A traditional industry is the musical instrument manufacturing. Hradec Králové is known for the Petrof piano manufacturer, founded in 1864.[6]

The largest non-industrial employer is the hospital.


Riegrovo Square with the main railway station

Hradec Králové is connected with Prague by the D11 motorway, which runs along the western municipal border. Three main roads crosses the city centre: the I/11 (which connects the D11 motorway with Šumperk and continues to Ostrava), the I/35 (the section from Liberec to Olomouc) and the I/37 (which connects Hradec Králové with Pardubice).

The city is located on the intraregional railway lines Pardubice–Liberec and Prague–Trutnov. The municipal territory is served by five train stations and stops: Hradec Králové hlavní nádraží, Hradec Králové zastávka, Hradec Králové-Kukleny, Hradec Králové-Slezské Předměstí and Plotiště nad Labem.[11]

Hradec Králové is served by the Hradec Králové Airport. It is a public domestic and private international airport, located about 3 km (2 mi) from the city centre.[12]

Intra-city transport is provided by the company Dopravní podnik města Hradce Králové, a.s., which is owned by the city of Hradce Králové. In addition to buses, trolleybuses also provide intra-city transport. Trolleybus service was started in 1949. There are eight trolleybus lines in operation.[13]


Former tanner high school designed by J. Gočár

Hradec Králové serves as the educational centre of the region. The first school was founded here in 1362. Today the University of Hradec Králové, established in 2000, is located in the city. Charles University in Prague has two faculties in Hradec Králové: Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Pharmacy. The University of Defense in Brno has its Faculty of Military Medicine in Hradec Králové.[14]


Klicpera's Theatre

The Klicpera's Theatre is one of the best regional drama theatres in the country. The puppet Drak Theatre is a world-class artistic institution.[4]

The REGIONS International Theatre Festival Hradec Králové is an annual cultural event held in the city. It is one of the largest theatrical showcases in the country.[15] It was founded in 1995 by the Klicpera Theatre.[16]

Jazz Goes to Town is an international jazz festival, which has been held in Hradec Králové every October since 1995.[17] Since 2003 the city hosts Hip Hop Kemp. It is the biggest hip hop festival in Central and Eastern Europe.[18] Since 2007 the city hosts Rock for People, the biggest rock festival and one of the largest open-air music festivals in the Czech Republic.

The city is home to one of the Czech Republic's leading orchestras, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra. It was established in 1978.[19]


Hradec Králové is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hradec Králové, established in 1664.[20]


The football club FC Hradec Králové plays in the Czech First League in the Malšovická aréna stadium with a capacity of 9,300 people.

The ice hockey club of Hradec Králové is Mountfield HK, which plays in the Czech Extraliga.

The women's basketball team, Hradecké Lvice, plays in the national women basketball league.

A motorcycle speedway track existed in Svobodné Dvory from 1951 until the mid-1960s.[21] The track hosted a team called Východočeský KV Hradec Králové, which won two bronze medals in the Czechoslovak Championship in 1961 and 1962.[22]


Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, White Tower and former city hall
Museum of Eastern Bohemia

The historic city centre is located around the Velké Square, where all the most valuable historic buildings are located. The face of the modern city dates from the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, when many monumental representative buildings in the Art Nouveau and Functionalism styles were built here.[6]

The main landmark of Hradec Králové and the most important monument is the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The Church of the Holy Spirit was founded by Elizabeth Richeza in 1307, the two massive towers were added in 1360. It was promoted to a cathedral by Pope Alexander VII in 1664. It is the only Gothic church, which survived the construction of the fortress in the 18th century.[20]

The second landmark and the tallest building in the city with 72 metres (236 ft) is the White Tower. The originally Renaissance bell tower was built in 1574–1580 and completed in 1589. It includes the third biggest bell in Bohemia. Today the tower serves as a lookout tower and space for exhibitions.[5][23]

The Church of Saint John of Nepomuk was built on the site of the former castle in 1710–1729. The interior contains valuable paintings from 1887, created in the Beuron Art School style.[24]

The Museum of Eastern Bohemia in Hradec Králové was founded in 1880. The large museum building was designed by architect Jan Kotěra and built in 1909–1912. The museum has approximately 3,000,000 items in archeological, scientific and historical collections.[25] One of the most valuable exhibits is the oldest surviving collections of Czech Renaissance polyphony, the Codex Speciálník manuscript.[26]

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Hradec Králové is twinned with:[27]

Cooperation agreements[edit]

Hradec Králové also cooperates with:[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2024". Czech Statistical Office. 17 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Části obcí". Územně identifikační registr ČR (in Czech). Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Brno jako bahniště a ve Zlíně žil zlý člověk. Jak vznikla jména měst" (in Czech). iDnes. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Základní informace o městě" (in Czech). City of Hradec Králové. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "History". Tourist Information Centre Hradec Králové. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Historie" (in Czech). Tourist Information Centre Hradec Králové. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Hradec Králové" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015. pp. 3–4.
  8. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 27 March 2021.
  9. ^ "About Us". Teleflex Incorporated. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Annual Report 2021" (PDF). Trelleborg AB. p. 87. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Detail stanice Hradec Králové hl.n." (in Czech). České dráhy. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Úvod" (in Czech). Letiště Hradec Králové. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  13. ^ "Trolejbusy jezdí v Hradci Králové už 70 let" (in Czech). City of Hradec Králové. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  14. ^ "University city". Tourist Information Centre Hradec Králové. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  15. ^ "About Festival". REGIONS International Theatre Festival. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  16. ^ "V Hradci Králové začíná 25. ročník festivalu Divadlo evropských regionů" (in Czech). City of Hradec Králové. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  17. ^ "International music festival Jazz Goes to Town". Jazz Goes to Town. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Hip Hop Kemp 2022" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra". Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Katedrála sv. Ducha Hradec Králové" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Abeceda ploché dráhy – písmeno "H" (2. část)". speedwayfakta.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  22. ^ "Czechoslovakia Team Championship". historyspeedway.nstrefa.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  23. ^ "Bílá věž v Hradci Králové" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého v Hradci Králové" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Charakteristika muzea" (in Czech). Muzeum východních Čech v Hradci Králové. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Slyšte a vizte Kodex Speciálník v katedrále" (in Czech). Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  27. ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). City of Hradec Králové. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Spolupracující města" (in Czech). City of Hradec Králové. Retrieved 13 April 2022.

External links[edit]