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České Budějovice ( ; colloquially: Budějce; or Böhmisch Budweis, often referred to simply as Budweis in English; ) is a city in the Czech Republicmarker. It is the largest city in the South Bohemian Regionmarker and is the political and commercial capital of the region and centre of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice and of the University of South Bohemia. The town is not to be confused with Moravské Budějovicemarker in Moravia.


The city was founded by Hirzo, a knight of King Ottokar II of Bohemia, and was granted its Municipal charter in 1265. The royal city was created as a platform of the king's power in South Bohemia and to counterbalance the powerful aristocratic House of Witigonen and the successive House of Rosenberg. The House of Rosenberg died out in 1611. The city was traditionally a bulwark of the Catholics in the long-lasting religious conflicts in Bohemia.

The city was a German-speaking enclave since 17th century until 1890. During the industrialization of the city, Czechs became the ethnic majority. Until the ethnic cleansing of Germans by the Czech government in 1945 after World War II, the city contained a significant German minority (about 15.5 % in 1930).


Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time the town was the royal brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (beer from Budweis) became, along with Plzeňmarker's Pilsener, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry.

The largest brewery, founded in 1895, is Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser Budvar Brewery), which has legal rights to market its beer under the "Budweiser" brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names "Budvar" and "Czechvar" due to legal squabbles with Anheuser-Buschmarker over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Bohemian original, but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name "Budweiser", but the Czech government has refused all such offers, regarding the Czech Budweiser name to be a matter of national pride.

The oldest (since 1795) and second largest brewery was renamed Pivovar Samson by the communists, dropping its original German name. It also exported, mostly under the "Samson" and "Crystal" labels. Recently, they reacquired naming rights for Budweiser for Europe while offering "B. B. Bürgerbräu" in the US since last year.


The city is in the center of a valley of the Vltava River, where the Vltava meets the Malšemarker river.


Naměstí Přemysl Otakara II, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
The old town preserves interesting architecture from Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and 19th century period. This includes buildings around the large town square, the old town hall with murals and bronze gargoyles, and the town tower "Černá věž" ("Black Tower"). In the new town the Belle Epoque Austro-Hungarian train station is notable. The most valuable historical building in České Budějovice is Dominican convent with Gothic church Presentation of Virgin Marymarker on Piaristic square. The horse-drawn railroad line connecting České Budějovice to Linzmarker was the oldest public line in continental Europe (after the line St.Etienne-Andrexieux in France), constructed from 1824 to 1832; mere traces of the line can be seen south of the city center.

The ruins of the home castle of the Czech national hero Jan Žižka, Trocnov, are located some ten kilometres southeast from the town. A bit further away (approximately 30 km), the enchanting town of Český Krumlovmarker is another compulsory stop for the visitor of South Bohemia. In 1992, it was added to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sitesmarker.


Local bus and trolley bus routes take passengers to most areas of the city. The city itself can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by train. Internationally, a direct railroad line connecting Praguemarker to Venicemarker, Italymarker also makes a stop in České Budějovice.


It is home to the University of South Bohemia and an Academy of Sciences.

It was the birthplace of: The city is also one of the major settings in the novel "The Good Soldier Švejk" by Jaroslav Hašek.

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

České Budějovice is twinned with:


  1. See the entry for Monday, February 4, 2008 on 365 Amazing Trivia Facts (Workman Publishing, 2008).

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