A city of history, a city with tradition. A city of culture and art. A city of sports. A city of research and development. A university city. The city that gave the beer its name. The city where the Škoda brand was born. A city where life is good. The European Capital of Culture 2015.
The royal city of Pilsen was founded in 1295 by King Wenceslas II at the confluence of four rivers: the Radbuza, Mže, Úhlava, and Úslava. The city enjoyed various privileges granted to it by kings, emperors and even the Pope himself, which reinforced the local pride and independence, with crafts and trade booming. This tradition was followed up on later by famous enterprises such as Škoda and the Pilsner Urquell Brewery.
The industrial tradition of the city also contributed to its economic strength and the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century can be marked down as the golden era of Pilsen, which saw the construction of the Great Synagogue, the theatre, the City Clubhouse (Měšťanská beseda), a number of school buildings... The city was living culture and Pilseners were getting richer and paying attention to the style and the beauty around them. Among the unique heritage from this period are the interiors of Adolf Loos, who frequently stayed in Pilsen in the period at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s, and it was right here where he found a cultured clientele. It is not a coincidence that artists with world-famous names such as Ladislav Sutnar, Jiří Trnka, Josef Skupa and a number of others come from Pilsen.
World War II and the subsequent years of communism set Pilsen’s growth back, and the political division of Europe positioned the city on the hem of the Iron Curtain. Despite persecution, though, Pilseners never forgot the liberation of their city by the U.S. Army in 1945, and in 1953 even found the courage to revolt against the currency reform of the communist regime. After the fall of communism in 1989, they returned again with pride to their old traditions and Pilsen followed up on its successful history.
The Pilsen of today is almost 140 km2 in area and has a population exceeding 168,000. It is the seat of a bishopric and a university. Continuing the industrial tradition of the city are enterprises such as Škoda Transportation a.s., Doosan Škoda Power s.r.o and a number of new businesses specialising in power engineering and transportation systems; the city is also growing into a major centre of research and development. Pilsen boasts the Techmania Science Centre, which contributes to the popularisation of science and technology among the general public. Brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Bohemia Sekt and Stock have a great tradition in Pilsen. Conditions facilitating the development of entrepreneurship are also supported by sufficient numbers of qualified workers, often graduates from the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen where over 17,000 students pursue their studies every year. Also, the Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University operates in Pilsen and has opened an advanced biomedical centre here.
In the sporting arena, Pilsen has earned renown thanks to the likes of FC Viktoria Plzeň, HC Škoda Plzeň, Kateřina Emmons, David Křížek and a number of other successful sportspeople. Culture aficionados come to Pilsen for its rich spectrum of festivals and its museums, clubs, theatres and galleries. The Zoological and Botanical Gardens of the City of Pilsen invite you to relax and learn. The Pilsner Urquell Brewery is one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in the Czech Republic and further spreads the reputation of the city whose name is concealed in the name of the world famous Pilsner Urquell beer. The area surrounding the city boasts beautiful nature and invites you to discover sights commemorating, among other things, the illustrious Baroque era and the presence of Jan Blažej Santini Aichel.
In 2015, Pilsen becomes the European Capital of Culture. It will open up to fresh cultural impulses, and welcome artists from various domains and corners of the world.
Don’t miss out on the action and take a peek at what the small paradise of Pilsen has in store for you.
For beer connoisseurs
- The Pilsner Urquell Brewery
- The Gambrinus Brewery
- The historic Brewery Museum and the Pilsen Historical Underground
- The unique pubs and taverns with their own tradition and dozens of other pleasant places that you can find at www.visitpilsen.eu
For those interested in history and historic sights
- The St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral featuring the tallest church spire in the Czech Republic
- The Renaissance Town Hall on Republic Square
- The Franciscan Monastery with the Museum of Religious Art
- The West Bohemian Gallery
(The galleries Masné krámy – Medieval Meat Market Hall – and Galerie 13 – Exhibition Hall 13)
- The West Bohemian Museum, featuring permanent exhibitions of archaeology, history, the municipal armoury and puppets.
- The Ethnography Museum
- The romantic ring of parks surrounding the historical centre
(Proluka – The Gap – and Mlýnská strouha – The Mill Ditch)
- Měšťanská beseda (The City Clubhouse)
- The Great Theatre
- The New Theatre
- Patton Memorial Pilsen
- The Meditation Garden
- The Great Synagogue, fourth largest in the world
- The Old Synagogue
- Loos’s interiors in Pilsen
(The apartment of J. Vogel at Klatovská 12, the apartment of V. Kraus at Bendova 10, the apartment of J. Brummel at Husova 58 and the house of O. Semler, Klatovská 110)
For parents and children
- Alfa Theatre
- The Puppet Museum
- The Museum of Ghosts and Fairy Tales
- The Zoological and Botanical Gardens of the City of Pilsen
- West Park
- Techmania Science Centre and 3D Planetarium
- Air Park by the town of Zruč featuring dozens of aircraft and armoured equipment
- Slovany Swimming Pool
- Borský park
- Škoda Sport Park
- Relax Park Štruncovy sady
- Football stadium (Doosan Arena)
- Ice hockey arena (ČEZ Aréna)
More info: www.plzen.eu
Adolf Loos’s interiors
Adolf Loos (1870–1933) is considered one the most outstanding Central European architects of the first third of the 20th century and a forerunner of functionalism, with a very progressive creative philosophy. In Pilsen, the creator of the famous Prague Villa Müller built about thirteen apartment interiors. Unfortunately, only some of them are still preserved. A new sightseeing route allows architecture aficionados to take a tour of some of these interiors.
It was the present Klatovská Avenue, and its surroundings with a concentration of the majority of Loos’s interiors, that was the most sought-after Pilsen address in the period between the two World Wars, where distinguished businesspeople, doctors and factory owners resided. All of them wanted their apartments to be unique, modern and luxurious. And Adolf Loos was the one architect able to fulfil their visions and meet their demands.
The sightseeing route maps precisely this area, taking visitors to the apartment at 10 Bendova Street (the apartment of Vilém and Gerda Kraus) featuring a lounge tiled with rare marble, further to two rooms with Loos’s interiors at 12 Klatovská Avenue (a lounge and a dining room preserved from the original apartment of Doctor Vogel), and on to the apartment of Oskar Semmler at 110 Klatovská Avenue – the only property in Pilsen incorporating a typically Loosian feature, the so called Raumplan. Tours will be permitted also by the private owner of a house at 58 Husova Street, one of the best preserved works implemented by Loos in Pilsen.
Organised by: Plzeň-TURISMUS
For more details please visit www.visitplzen.eu
Open your eyes
Not only has St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral become the symbol of the city, it also attracts the attention of all visitors to Pilsen. For all admirers of this magnificent Gothic edifice, the Bishopric of Pilsen has prepared guided tours designed to familiarise not just tourists but also Pilsen residents and students with the history of this Pilsen landmark and present the jewels hidden inside. Over the period from May to September 2015, there will be a guided tour once a month, in Czech and German, combined with an organ concert. On weekends, volunteers are scheduled to offer guide services in the cathedral.
Organised by: Biskupství plzeňské (Bishopric of Pilsen)
Interactive city tours with a trained guide who will present the city from his/her own point of view, known as the city rally, are an offbeat way to discover the West Bohemian metropolis.
A group of interested attendants move through the city following pre-prepared worksheets and working with language animation techniques during the tours so that they can familiarise themselves with the Czech or the German language very easily. This way of discovering Pilsen is intended primarily for German, Czech and mixed Czech-German groups during their visit to the West Bohemian metropolis.
Organised by: Tandem Plzeň
Hidden City is an unconventional guide to Pilsen filled with stories, memories and interesting encounters. You will be taken through surprising recesses of Pilsen’s history and present. The guide will present you with a unique cocktail of themes, events, places and personalities, and show that there is more to Pilsen than meets the eye. Get under its skin...
You can find the interactive map online at www.skrytemesto.cz. In spring 2015, you can look forward to the launch of a mobile application also offering quite handy tourist information.