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The first written mention of the town is in 1220. Before that, it was probably a Slavic settlement. At the end of the 12th century more people arrived. At the beginning of the 13th century a Gothic castle was built (it was gradually rebuilt into a Renaissance chateau in the 16th century). In the census following the Thirty Years' War, Jindřichův Hradec was the second largest city in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Between 1831-1935 it was the first city in the area to get electricity for lighting, in 1888 the water mill was converted to electricity.
The city castle and palace is the third largest in the country after those in Prague and Český Krumlov. It covers three ha. and contains 320 rooms. More than 10,000 works of art and a similar number of books may be found there.
The district museum, which is in a renaissance building that was once the Jesuit seminary appeared in the city in 1882 and is one of the oldest regional museums in Bohemia. The most well-known item in the museum is the Kryza, the largest mechanical Christmas manger scene in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Kurt Adler (1907–1977), a Jewish conductor, chorus master, and pianist; the Chorus Master and Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, United States and Author (forced to flee under Nazism)