Litoměřice

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Litoměřice
Town
Cathedral of St. Stephen with belfry.
Cathedral of St. Stephen with belfry.
Flag of Litoměřice
Flag
Coat of arms of Litoměřice
Coat of arms
Litoměřice is located in Czech Republic
Litoměřice
Litoměřice
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°32′3″N 14°7′58″E / 50.53417°N 14.13278°E / 50.53417; 14.13278Coordinates: 50°32′3″N 14°7′58″E / 50.53417°N 14.13278°E / 50.53417; 14.13278
CountryCzech Republic
RegionÚstí nad Labem
DistrictLitoměřice
Founded around10th century
Royal status1219
Government
 • MayorLadislav Chlupáč (ODS)
Area
 • Total17.99 km2 (6.95 sq mi)
Elevation
136 m (446 ft)
Population
 (2019-01-01[1])
 • Total24,001
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
412 01
Websitewww.litomerice.cz

Litoměřice (Czech pronunciation: [ˈlɪtomɲɛr̝ɪtsɛ]; German: Leitmeritz) is a town at the junction of the rivers Elbe (Czech: Labe) and Ohře (German: Eger) in the northern part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km (40 mi) northwest of Prague.

The area within the Ústí nad Labem Region is sometimes called The Garden of Bohemia due to the mild weather conditions important for growing fruits and grapes. During the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many pensioners chose it over more southern areas of the Empire.

The town is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Litoměřice (part of Archdiocese of Prague), the 4th oldest – and 3rd still existing – Catholic diocese on present Czech territory.

History[edit]

The settlement of Litoměřice has a deep history of Paleolithic cultures as well as large Celtic settlements of the La Tène culture, which did not survive the incoming Germanic attacks. The area was later settled by Germanic tribes, when Litoměřice first appear on Ptolemy's Map in the 2nd Century under the name of Nomisterium. The Germanic tribes later migrated west and those remaining mingled with the incoming Slavs.

Litoměřice as seen from the Radobýl Hill

One of the oldest Czech towns, Litoměřice was established in the 10th century on the site of an early medieval Přemyslid Dynasty fort. The area was settled by the Czech tribe of Litoměřici, after which the town was named. In the High Middle Ages a small group of German settlers was also invited in by Slavic rulers. A royal-town statute was granted in 1219 by the Czech king, Přemysl Otakar I.. From the 12th to the 17th century it was a significant trading centre in the Holy Roman Empire.

The population suffered during the 15th century Hussite Wars. After the Protestant tensions with the Catholics that triggered the Thirty Years' War and the Protestants' defeat in the Battle of White Mountain, the surviving population of the city was forced to accept Catholicism or face property confiscation and the obligation to leave the kingdom. In this way, the town became a Catholic bishop's residency in 1655. As a result, the Czech Protestant population shrank and the town became largely Germanized.

Occupation, 1938

In 1918, Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia became constituent parts of the newly-created Czechoslovakia (which was confirmed by the Treaty of St. Germain), along with a large border area inhabited predominantly by Germans. Local Germans tried to join German Austria (which in turn aimed to join post-war German Reich), but Czechoslovak troops prevented this. Known under the informal name of the Sudetenland, the region became the subject of political controversy in the following years. Slavs settled there again, but remained a minority. In 1938, after the Munich Agreement, German troops occupied the Sudetenland (and all the rest of Czech lands a few months later). The Czech population, which had grown to about 5,000 people, had to leave again.

Jews from Leitmeritz were forced to flee to the Protectorate or were deported during the Holocaust in the Sudetenland.[2] From March 1944 to May 1945, Leitmeritz concentration camp was located west of the town. 18,000 prisoners passed through the camp and were forced to work mostly on excavating underground factories (Richard I and II) under Radobýl. 4,500 died.[3][4]

In the final stages of World War II, German troops retreated to escape the advancing Red Army. The Czech resistance took control of the castle on 27 April 1945, and after a few days they started negotiations with the German commander about the terms of his surrender. The Wehrmacht capitulated in the night after 8 May, but German troops fled on 9 May, just before Soviet troops entered the town on 10 May 1945. Most of the German population of the town was expelled by the so-called Beneš decrees in August 1945, along with about 2.5 million other former Czechoslovak citizens of German ethnicity from the country.

Sights[edit]

Old Town Hall and the Church of All Saints
Main Square with the Town Hall

There are several main sights already visible when approaching Litoměřice. The Baroque St. Stephen's Cathedral at the Cathedral Square (Dómské náměstí) was built in place of an older Romanasque basilica in the years 1664–1668. The interior is almost completely authentic with main and six side altars and a lot of original paintings. Right next to the dome is a bishop's residence built in 1683–1701 by Giulio Broggio. On the main square there is All-Saints Church and within distance there is an Annunciation (Lady Day) Church, another masterpiece built by the son of Giulio Broggio, Octavio. The old town hall (now city museum) and Black Eagle House (Dům u černého orla) on the main square are also worthy a look. The symbol of the city is a chalice, since the watchout tower on the Town Hall has this shape.

There are numerous cellars connected by an extensive web of underground ways under the town. In some places, the cellars were built in three floors. The ways are about three kilometers (1.9 miles) long and they belong to the longest of their kind in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, only 336 metres (1,102 feet) of these underground ways are open to the public. You can notice the ancient town wall when entering the town. The original town wall was built in the Gothic style. Northern Bohemian Gallery of Creative Arts (SGVU) is based close the main square. Extensive collection spans from 13th century to contemporary art with numerous other exhibitions during the year.

Population[edit]

  • 1 December 1930 : 18,498 (10,878 Germans, 6,485 Czechs, 143 Jews[5])
  • 17 May 1939: 17,267
  • 22 May 1947: 14,402
  • 2 June 2004: 25,517
  • 31 December 2012: 24,316
  • 1 January 2015: 24,101
  • 1 January 2019: 24,001

Notable residents[edit]

There are several successful sportsmen who were born, lived or are living in Litoměřice, among other olympic medalists, world champions or Stanley Cup winners:

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Litoměřice is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Population of municipalities of the Czech republic". Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  2. ^ Osterloh, Jörg (2015). "Sudetenland". In Gruner, Wolf; Osterloh, Jörg (eds.). The Greater German Reich and the Jews: Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935–1945. War and Genocide. Translated by Heise, Bernard. New York: Berghahn Books. pp. 68–98. ISBN 978-1-78238-444-1.
  3. ^ Le Blond, Josie (26 May 2014). "Slave probe exposes Audi's Nazi past". The Local. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  4. ^ Skriebeleit, Jörg (2007). "Leitmeritz". In Benz, Wolfgang; Distel, Barbara (eds.). Flossenbürg: das Konzentrationslager Flossenbürg und seine Außenlager [Flossenbürg: Flossenbürg Concentration Camp and its Subcamps] (in German). Munich: C. H. Beck. pp. 169–175. ISBN 9783406562297.
  5. ^ Michael Rademacher (dissertation): Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte von der Reichseinigung 1871 bis zur Wiedervereinigung 1990. Landkreis Leitmeritz, Osnabrück, 2006.

External links[edit]