Plzen is located in Western Bohemia, it is the fourth largest city inside the Czech Republic. Home to the Municipality with Extended Competence and the Municipality with Commissioned Local Authority, Plzen is more famously known as the home for Pilsner Beer. In 976, a battle between Duke Boleslaus II of Bohemia and Emperor Otto II is the first recorded mention of Plzen existence. The official notification came in 1295 when King Wenceslaus II granted a civic charter and established the location of a new town site. This new site was located approximately 10 km away from the initial location.
All trade routes to Nurmerberg and Regensburg began and ended in Plzen. The Troyan Chronicle, first book published in Bohemia, was printed on the first printing press obtained by Plzen in 1468. The 17th century brought Baroque inspired architecture to the Plzen region. A section of the city has remained under historical preservation since 1989.
Plzen is regarded as the centre for business, cultural and academic life in the western part of the Czech Republic. The University of West Bohemia boasts popular curriculum in the areas of law; mechanical engineering; and applied science. The Skoda Company located in Plzen plays an important role in Austro-Hungarian, Czech Republic and Czech engineering as a result. Established in 1859, the company’s production followed the needs of the Eastern Bloc. Following the Velvet Revolution, the company experienced debt problems and had to scale back on operations. Present day, the company maintains two subsidiaries: Skoda Transportation and Skoda Power.
One of the more prosperous cities in the Czech Republic, Plzen shows a total GDP of $7.2 billion. The per capita GDP for Plzen is $44,000. This can partially be explained by the numbers of commuters that live elsewhere but chose employment in Plzen. Numerous foreign companies now located a portion of production companies in Plzen. Companies such as Panasonic utilize vacant buildings once housed by Skoda for production. Home of the largest brewery and the largest distillery in the Czech Republic, Plzen is world known for the production of Pilsner Beer.
The Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Plzen. Founded in the late 13th century, this cathedral boasts a tower that is 335 feet high making it the highest tower in the entire Czech Republic. Other popular spots include the Renaissance Hall and the third largest synagogue in the world behind Jerusalem and Budapest. Running under parts of the Old Town Plzen is a network of underground cellars. At some points, the series of cellars runs approximately three levels deep. Developed in the 19th century, Plzen has long been known as the home to Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus breweries. The particular Plzen beer style was also developed during this time period.