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Coordinates: 50°46′N 15°4′E / 50.767°N 15.067°E / 50.767; 15.067
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View from the city hall tower
View from the city hall tower
Flag of Liberec
Coat of arms of Liberec
Liberec is located in Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°46′N 15°4′E / 50.767°N 15.067°E / 50.767; 15.067
Country Czech Republic
First mentioned1352
 • MayorJaroslav Zámečník [cs] (SLK)
 • Total106.09 km2 (40.96 sq mi)
374 m (1,227 ft)
 • Total107,982
 • Density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
460 01

Liberec (Czech: [ˈlɪbɛrɛts] ; German: Reichenberg) is a city in the Czech Republic. It has about 108,000 inhabitants and it is the fifth-largest city in the country. It lies on the Lusatian Neisse, in a basin surrounded by mountains. The city centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument zone.

Liberec was once home to a thriving textile industry and hence nicknamed the "Manchester of Bohemia". For many Czechs, Liberec is mostly associated with the city's dominant Ještěd Tower. Since the end of the 19th century, the city has been a conurbation with the suburb of Vratislavice nad Nisou and the neighbouring city of Jablonec nad Nisou.

Administrative division[edit]

Administrative parts of Liberec

Liberec is made up of 32 city parts and one self-governing borough (Vratislavice nad Nisou):[2]

  • Liberec I-Staré Město
  • Liberec II-Nové Město
  • Liberec III-Jeřáb
  • Liberec IV-Perštýn
  • Liberec V-Kristiánov
  • Liberec VI-Rochlice
  • Liberec VII-Horní Růžodol
  • Liberec VIII-Dolní Hanychov
  • Liberec IX-Janův Důl
  • Liberec X-Františkov
  • Liberec XI-Růžodol I
  • Liberec XII-Staré Pavlovice
  • Liberec XIII-Nové Pavlovice
  • Liberec XIV-Ruprechtice
  • Liberec XV-Starý Harcov
  • Liberec XVI-Nový Harcov
  • Liberec XVII-Kateřinky
  • Liberec XVIII-Karlinky
  • Liberec XIX-Horní Hanychov
  • Liberec XX-Ostašov
  • Liberec XXI-Rudolfov
  • Liberec XXII-Horní Suchá
  • Liberec XXIII-Doubí
  • Liberec XXIV-Pilínkov
  • Liberec XXV-Vesec
  • Liberec XXVIII-Hluboká
  • Liberec XXIX-Kunratice
  • Liberec XXX-Vratislavice nad Nisou
  • Liberec XXXI-Krásná Studánka
  • Liberec XXXII-Radčice
  • Liberec XXXIII-Machnín
  • Liberec XXXIV-Bedřichovka
  • Liberec XXXV-Karlov pod Ještědem

In the early 1990s, some parts became independent municipalities: Stráž nad Nisou (formerly Liberec XXVI-Stráž nad Nisou and Liberec XXVII-Svárov), Dlouhý Most (formerly Liberec XXXVI-Dlouhý Most), Jeřmanice (formerly Liberec XXXVII-Jeřmanice) and Šimonovice (formerly Liberec XXXVIII-Minkovice and Liberec XXXIX-Šimonovice).[3]


The oldest known names of the city are German, Reychinberch (1352) and Reychmberg (1369), meaning "rich/resourceful mountain" (reicher Berg in modern German). It was also spelled Reichenberg (1385–1399) and Rychmberg (1410).[4]

The Czech equivalent originated as a distortion: Rychberk (1545), Libercum (1634), Liberk (1790), and finally Liberec (1845). In Czech, words starting with "R" were often dissimilated into "L". Since then, the city was known as Liberec in Czech and as Reichenberg in German.[4]


Ještěd mountain with the Ještěd Tower

Liberec is located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) northeast of Prague. Most of the municipal territory lies in the Zittau Basin. In the northeast, the territory extends into the Jizera Mountains and to the eponymous protected landscape area. In the west, the territory extends into the Ještěd–Kozákov Ridge and includes the highest point of Liberec and of the entire Ještěd–Kozákov Ridge, the mountain Ještěd at 1,012 m (3,320 ft) above sea level.

Liberec is situated on the Lusatian Neisse River. The largest body of water is Harcov Reservoir (also called Liberec Dam). The reservoir is located inside the built-up area on the Lusatian Neisse's tributary, the stream of Harcovský potok. Today it serves mainly as a recreational place for the residents of Liberec, but it was originally designed to protect the city from floods and as a water reservoir for industrial use. It is also important as a biotope with the occurrence of protected animals.[5]


Liberec has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). The annual average temperature is 8.3 °C (46.9 °F), the hottest month in July is 18.0 °C (64.4 °F), and the coldest month is −1.2 °C (29.8 °F) in January. The annual precipitation is 845.3 millimetres (33.28 in), of which July is the wettest with 107.1 millimetres (4.22 in), while April is the driest with only 41.3 millimetres (1.63 in). The extreme temperature throughout the year ranged from −24.6 °C (−12.3 °F) on 14 January 1987 to 36.2 °C (97.2 °F) on 31 July 1994.

Climate data for Liberec (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1960-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.3
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 1.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.2
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −3.9
Record low °C (°F) −24.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 12.9 11.0 11.7 8.3 10.8 11.2 11.6 10.3 9.8 9.9 10.9 12.5 130.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 44.0 67.9 117.0 177.8 210.2 208.1 222.7 216.6 155.3 104.4 40.2 34.4 1,598.6
Source 1: Czech Hydrometeorological Institute[6][7]
Source 2: NOAA[8]


Liberec City Hall and Neptune's Fountain
Liberec Castle
City spa, today the regional gallery

11th–16th centuries[edit]

In the 11th or 12th century, a settlement named Habersdorf, which was the predecessor of Liberec, was established on the trade route from Bohemia to Lusatia by Czech settlers and German colonizers. In the 13th century, a second settlement named Reichenberg was established near the first one. The two settlements later merged. The first written mention of Liberec under its German name Reichenberg is from 1352.[9]

Starting in 1278, the area was owned by the noble Bieberstein family. Reichenberg suffered from the passing through of troops during the Hussite Wars, then was burned down in 1469 during a battle with the army of King George of Poděbrady. After the Biebersteins died out, the Frýdlant estate, which included Reichenberg, was bought by the Redern family in 1558. The Rederns contributed significantly to the development of the settlement, as they built new buildings, modernized the settlement and laid the foundation of the textile industry. In 1577, Reichenberg was promoted to a town by Emperor Rudolf II. He gave the town the coat of arms it still uses today.[9]

17th–19th centuries[edit]

From 1600, the town was administered by Kateřina of Redern, who obtained the right to trade in salt for the town, had a chapel added to the castle and contributed to the construction of the town hall. When the Redern family was forced to leave Reichenberg after the Battle of White Mountain (1620), it was acquired by Albrecht von Wallenstein. After his death it belonged to the Gallas and Clam Gallas families, who did not care much about the town. The prosperous local industry was interrupted by the Thirty Years' War and a great plague in 1680. The crises resulted in a series of harshly suppressed serf uprisings.[9]

In the 18th century, Reichenberg flourished. The number of inhabitants tripled and the cloth industry was very successful. The Battle of Reichenberg between Austria and Prussia occurred nearby in 1757 during the Seven Years' War, but the town continued to develop. During the 19th century, the town became the centre of textile industry in the entire Austria-Hungary. In 1850, it became a self-governing city.[9]

Reichenberg became a rich industrial city without representative buildings. In the late 19th century, a spectacular collection of representative buildings was created, mostly in the neo-Renaissance style: the city hall, the opera house, the North Bohemian Museum, the Old Synagogue, and others. A representative villa district and a forest with a botanical garden and a zoo were created.[9]

20th century[edit]

Until 1918, the city was part of Austria-Hungary, seat of the Reichenberg district, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.[10] After the end of World War I, Austria-Hungary fell apart and the Czechs of Bohemia joined newly established Czechoslovakia on 29 October 1918 whilst the Germans wanted to stay with Austria to form reduced German Austria on 12 November 1918, both citing Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points and the doctrine of self-determination. Liberec was declared the capital of the German-Austrian province of German Bohemia. Czechs however argued that these lands, though German-settled since the Middle Ages, were historically an integral part of the Duchy and Kingdom of Bohemia. On 16 December 1918, the Czechoslovak Army entered Liberec and the whole province remained part of Bohemia.[11]

The Great Depression devastated the economy of the area with its textile, carpet, glass and other light industry. The high number of unemployed people, hunger, fear of the future and dissatisfaction with the Prague government led to the flash rise of the populist Sudeten German Party (SdP), founded by Konrad Henlein, born in the suburbs of Liberec. The city became the centre of Pan-German movements and later of the Nazis, especially after the 1935 election, despite its important democratic mayor, Karl Kostka (German Democratic Freedom Party). The final change came in Summer 1938, after the radicalization of the terror of the SdP, whose death threats forced Kostka and his family to flee to Prague.

In September 1938, the Munich Agreement awarded the city to Nazi Germany. In 1939, it became the capital of Reichsgau Sudetenland.[12] Most of the city's Jewish and Czech population fled to the rest of Czechoslovakia or were expelled. The important synagogue was burned down. Henlein himself confiscated a villa in Liberec that had belonged to a Jewish businessman, which remained Henlein's home until 1945.[13]

After World War II, the city again became a part of Czechoslovakia and nearly all of the city's German population was expelled following the Beneš decrees. The region was then resettled with Czechs.[14]


Historical population
Source: Censuses[15][16]


Cable car to Ještěd

Liberec city transport provides bus and tram lines. The first tram was used in Liberec in 1897. Liberec shares the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge tramway line which connects it to its neighbouring city, Jablonec nad Nisou which is 12 km away. There are also two city lines with 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge: The first connects Horní Hanychov (next to the cable car to Ještěd) and Lidové Sady via Fügnerova. The second connects Dolní Hanychov and Lidové Sady via Fügnerova (only during workdays). There are also four historical trams. In the city centre there are two tracks as a memorial, in the past trams were used also on the central place in front of the city hall.

The European route E442 passes through Liberec.

A private international airport is located in the Liberec part of Ostašov.

Education and science[edit]

The Research Library and the New Synagogue

Technical University of Liberec was founded in 1953 as " University of Mechanical Engineering in Liberec". After the number of fields has grown, in 1995, the university was renamed. It is known especially for its research in the field of textile engineering.[17] It has about 9,000 students in 6 faculties (Mechanical Engineering, Textile Engineering, Arts and Architecture, Mechatronics Informatics and Inter-Disciplinary Studies, Science-Humanities and Education, and Economics), and it also comprises Institute for Nanomaterials, Advanced Technologies and Innovation.[18]

Regional Research Library in Liberec is a general public science library, aiming at general education in the region. Founded in 1900, based on the decision of the municipal council to establish a municipal library. It has an exceptional collection of Germano-Slavica and Sudetica (periodicals and books in German language from Bohemia). New building was completed in 2000 on the site of the Old Synagogue, which was burnt down by the Nazis in November 1938. Its building comprises also a modern New Synagogue.


Mateřinka is a theatre festival held biennially in June.


Home Credit Arena winter stadium

The city is home to FC Slovan Liberec, a football club founded in Liberec which plays in the Czech First League, the top tier. Slovan Liberec is one of the most successful clubs in the Czech Republic, having won three league titles. There is also SK VTJ Rapid Liberec. It plays in one of the lowest divisions.

The ice hockey team HC Bílí Tygři Liberec play in the Czech Extraliga, the national top tier. It plays in Home Credit Arena.

Liberec has hosted two European Luge Championships, having done so in 1914 and 1939. In 2009, it hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The Ski Jumping World Cup always comes to Liberec in January. The World Karate Championships took place in May 2011.

In 2015, Liberec hosted the 2015 World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships.

Motorcycle speedway takes place at the Pavlovický Stadion. It was built in 1930. The most important event that was run on it was the semi-final of the Under-21 World Championship in 2019.[19] The team Start Gniezno Liberec race at the stadium.


F. X. Šalda Theatre
North Bohemian Museum

The main landmark and one of the symbols of the city is the Ještěd Tower on the Ještěd mountain,which is used as a transmitter, observation tower and hotel. It was built in 1966–1973 according to the design by the architect Karel Hubáček. It is the most important monument in the city, protected as a national cultural monument since 2006. The building has won many architectural awards and a poll for the most important Czech building of the 20th century.[20]

Among the most valuable buildings of the city centre is the Liberec City Hall. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1888–1893, according to the design by Franz Neumann. It has three towers; the highest of them is 61 m (200 ft) high. In the summer season, the interiors and one of the towers are open to the public.[21] Since 2024, it has been protected as a national cultural monument.[22]

The Liberec Castle was built in several stages, the oldest part was built in the Renaissance style in 1582–1583. After World War II, it was in a state of disrepair, after which it was insensitively reconstructed and used by a glass manufacturer. The castle has not been used since 1997 and is gradually deteriorating.[23]

A notable building is the F. X. Šalda Theatre. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1881–1883. A valuable element is the curtain with the theme Triumph of Love, made by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt and Franz von Matsch.[24]

The North Bohemian Museum was founded in 1873 as the first arts and crafts museum in the Czech lands. The current museum building dates from 1898. It was designed by the architect Friedrich Ohmann and built by Hans Grisebach in the romantic-historicist style. The building has a 41 m (135 ft) high tower, which is a replica of the Liberec City Hall tower.[25]

Liberecká výšina is a significant landmark of the eastern part of the city. It is a restaurant with a 25 m (82 ft) high observation tower, built in the style of a medieval castle. It was built in 1900–1901 and its look is inspired by the watchtower of the Nuremberg Castle.[26]

The most visited tourist destinations in the city are the Liberec Zoo, iQ Landia (a science centre) and Centrum Babylon (an entertainment centre which includes a large water park, amusement park, casino, shopping court and hotel).[27]

Zoo and botanical garden[edit]

White tiger in Liberec Zoo

The Liberec Zoo was founded in 1904 and is the oldest one in the territory of the former Czechoslovakia. Today it has an area of almostz 14 ha (35 acres) and keeps more than 160 species.[28] The symbol of the zoo and the main attraction are the white tigers. However, since this is a bred form of the mainland Asian tiger and not a separate species, it is planned to end their breeding after the death of the last individual.[29]

The Botanical Garden Liberec was established in 1876 by the Verein der Naturfreunde ("Society of Friends of Nature") and is the oldest one in the Czech Republic. It was originally located on the site of the North Bohemian Museum, but was moved in 1895 due to the construction of the museum. In 1996–2000, it was completely rebuilt. Today it comprises nine glasshouses for visitors with a total area of 4,002 m2 (43,080 sq ft) and more than 8,000 exotic plants.[30]

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Liberec is twinned with:[31]



  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2024". Czech Statistical Office. 17 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Statut města" (in Czech). City of Liberec. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b Profous, Antonín (1949). Místní jména v Čechách II: CH–L (in Czech). pp. 582–583.
  5. ^ "Přehradní nádrž Harcov" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Denní data dle zákona 123/1998 Sb". Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Archived from the original on 28 August 2023. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  7. ^ "Teplota vzduchu v jednotlivé kalendářní dny" (in Czech). Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. 23 December 2023. Archived from the original on 23 December 2023.
  8. ^ "Liberec Climate Normals 1991-2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 21 September 2023. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Liberecká historie v kostce" (in Czech). City of Liberec. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  10. ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm Klein, 1967
  11. ^ Švecová, Jana (27 October 2018). "V německém Liberci vznik Československé republiky moc nevítali". Liberecký deník (in Czech). Deník.cz. Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Liberec jako hlavní město Říšské župy Sudety. Nacistické představy o podobě města" (in Czech). Czech Radio. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  13. ^ Cornwall, Mark (2011). The Czechoslovak Spinx: 'Moderate and Reasonable' Konrad Henlein. London: I.B.Tauris. pp. 206–227. ISBN 978-1780768083.
  14. ^ Štráfeldová, Milena (2 May 2005). "9. května 1945 vyvěšovali Němci v Liberci bílé prapory" (in Czech). Czech Radio. Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  15. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Liberec" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015. pp. 9–10.
  16. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 27 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Technical University of Liberec". Technical University of Liberec. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Faculties and Institutes". Technical University of Liberec. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  19. ^ "V Liberci se ukážou budoucí hvězdy ploché dráhy" (in Czech). iDNES.cz. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Ještěd slaví padesát let, ikonickou stavbu kritici odmítali" (in Czech). iDNES.cz. 9 July 2023. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  21. ^ "Novorenesanční radnice v Liberci – klenot města pod Ještědem" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  22. ^ "Radnice" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  23. ^ "Zámek" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  24. ^ "Divadlo" (in Czech). National Heritage Institute. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  25. ^ "O muzeu" (in Czech). Severočeské muzeum v Liberci. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  26. ^ "Liberecká výšina – dominanta města Liberec" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  27. ^ "Návštěvnost turistických cílů 2022" (PDF) (in Czech). CzechTourism. 30 May 2023. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  28. ^ "O nás" (in Czech). Liberec Zoo. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  29. ^ "Liberecká zoo ukončí chov bílých tygrů. Zbylé dva tu nechají dožít" (in Czech). Seznam zprávy. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  30. ^ "Titulní strana" (in Czech). Botanical Garden Liberec. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  31. ^ "Zahraniční vztahy" (in Czech). City of Liberec. Retrieved 4 January 2024.

External links[edit]