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Plzensky kraj

The Plzeň Region, also known as the Pilsen Region is one of the 14 administrative regions of the Czech Republic, with the Plzeň as its cultural and economic center and also the capital city. It is located in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, creating a state border with the German region of Bavaria. Additionally, it neighbors the Karlovarský Region in the northwest, the Středočeský Region in the northeast, and the Jihočeský Region in the southeast. The area of the Plzeň Region adds up to 7,649 kilometers squared, which ranks the Region as the third-largest in the Czech Republic. The region consists of seven districts, Domažlice, Klatovy, Plzeň-město, Plzeň-jih, Plzeň-sever, Rokycany, and Tachov. The Plzeň territory stretches through several notable geographical areas including Kingswood cider, the Plzeň Uplands, the Brdy Highlands, the Bohemian Forest, and Šumava Mountains. The most dominant river flowing through the region and also through the Plzeň city is called Berounka. The population of the Plzeň Region makes it the sixth smallest region of the Czech Republic. As of December 31st, 2016, the region was inhabited by 578,629 people, making up 5.5% of the Czech Republic’s total population. The region has the third-lowest density of population, which amounts to 75.6 inhabitants per square kilometer.[1]

What Plzensky kraj is known for

Plzeň Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell) is a world-renowned beer brand, its tradition lasting over 100 years. In 1842, in the new Burghers’ Brewery, the first batch of the Pilsen beer was brewed and in 1859 the Pilsner Bier was registered as a trademark. Over the course of the following years, multiple breweries that produced the beer under the Pilsner Urquell brand were established, including Gambrinus, Velké Popovice (which was later registered as Kozel brand), and the Radegast brewery. Nowadays, the alcohol produced by the breweries is exported worldwide and is also available from the tank in nearly 90 restaurants outside Czechia. In 2013, a new brand under the Pilsner Urquell company, known as Kingswood cider, was established, which follows a British cider brewing tradition. [4]

Another point of interest in the Plzeň Region is its natural attractions. Located in close proximity to Plzeň city is the Bolevec Lakes System offering various water attractions and numerous hiking trails as well. This lake system was built in the late gothic times of the 15th century.[5] Another popular touristic destination is the Šumava National park. Šumava offers kilometers of hiking trails, cycling routes, and water attractions, as well as various natural sights, such as eight glacial lakes. The great appeal of this natural area is seemingly due to its highly preserved original nature, which includes the presence of multiple rare plant and animal species inhabiting this territory, such as elks, grey wolves, lynxes, and otters. [6]

Concerning the historical and cultural sights, the region is filled with well-preserved castles, chateaus, and museums. One such example is the Romanesque-Gothic Zbiroh Castle, built at the end of the 12th century. The castle is the oldest Czech aristocratic residence. Zbiroh offers an in-castle hotel, which enables visitors to spend the night in the original castle chambers, which used to be inhabited by emperors such as King Charles IV, or the world-renowned painter Alfonz Mucha. The castle also features museum expositions, an active park-rope center for children, and a chateau pub serving period meals. In the castle, there are also gardens located on the premises, as well as the deepest well in Europe. [7] Another historical sight is the Kladruby Monastery, which was built in 1393. A dominant of the monastery is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which was reconstructed by the architect Jan Blažej Santini Aichel. The monastery offers two different excursion tours and also hosts the Kladruby Summer Music Festival of classical music every year. [8]

Among the industrial dominants of the Plzeň Region is the Caolinum Center, Nevřeň Caolin Mine, and the Pilsen historical underground. The underground tour starts in the Pilsen brewery museum. [9]


A substantial part of the Plzeň Region territory is represented by the Plzeň Uplands and the Plzeň Basin located in the northeast. The Brdy Mountains also extend into the Plzeň territory from the Central Bohemian Region. The highest mountains of the region are the Bohemian Forest and a fraction of the Šumava Mountains, where the highest peak of the Plzeň area, Velká Mokrůvka, can be found. It reaches an altitude of 1370.4 meters above sea level. The region's presumably most important protected area is the Šumava National Park, which is one of the most notorious national parks in the Czech Republic. The protected landscape areas of the Plzeň Region are Šumava, Český les, Brdy, Křivoklátsko, and Slavkovský less. The well-preserved nature and the pollution are lower compared to other regions, due to the population's relatively lower density within the region.[2]

Regarding the water conditions, reservoirs Nýrsko and Lučina play crucial roles in supplying the population with drinking water. The most significant river in this territory is the Berounka river, which flows directly through Plzeň city. Other rivers in the region are Otava and Řezná. The region also consists of numerous lakes, such as the glacial Black Lake, Devil's Lake, Prášilské Lake, Laka, and the covered Odlezelské Lake.[2]

Concerning the Plzeň Region's temperature and climate conditions, the Plzeň territory, as well as the rest of the Czech Republic, is situated in the continental climate area. The climate conditions are characterized by the alteration of four seasons throughout the year, with relatively hot summers and cold winters. In general, July is the warmest month of the year with a maximum average temperature of 21.0°C. The coldest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 0.0°C. August typically receives the most precipitation, with an average rainfall of 69mm. The driest month is February with 30mm of rainfall on average.[3]


The first mention of the Plzeň city can be dated back to the year 976 as the "Old Pilsen". However, the location of the city changed, and what we know today as Plzeň was originally known as "New Pilsen", which was established in 1295 near an important trade crossroads of western Bohemia, on the route from Prague to Bavaria. This solved the water supply problems, as the newly relocated town was situated at the confluence of the Mže and Radbuza rivers. Due to its location near the trade route from Bavaria to Prague, Plzeň soon became the third most prominent city in Bohemia, after Prague and Kutná Hora. From 1467, the Prague Chapter was located in Plzeň, which was the highest body of the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia. The first book printing company in the Czech Republic was established in Plzeň in 1533. For nine months, at the turn of 1599 and 1600, Plzeň became the capital of the Roman Empire, when Emperor Rudolf II fled the plague epidemics and moved to Plzeň. Later in 1799, during the Napoleonic Wars, Russian troops passed through the city. [10]

In the 19th century, economic and cultural development took place. A significant milestone for Plzeň's business development occurred in the year 1839 when the city brewery was established. Currently, the brewery is under the Pilsner Urquell brand. In 1869 a factory building was purchased by chief engineer Emil Škoda, who established the origins of automobile manufacturing there. The automobile factory was established in 1895, which makes the Škoda brand one of the oldest carmaking companies in the world. At this point in time, the car company Škoda resides in the city of Mladá Boleslav. In 1882, František Křižík obtained a patent for his invention of the arc lamp, which led to the modernization of city lighting. In 1938, the Czechoslovak Republic lost its border territories to Germany. Although the majority of Czech Pilsen remained on the territory of Czechoslovakia, it became a city on the border itself and was surrounded on three sides by Germany. Škoda's factory became an important armory supplying factory for the German army. Later, the Pilsner Urquell brewery building and the Škoda factory were destroyed due to bombings during the war. The city was finally liberated by American troops, led by General Patton, on May 6, 1945.[10]