Pilsen is a major industrial, financial, cultural and tourist center of the Czech Republic, located in West Bohemia. The city has a rich history, and cultural and historical sites of Pilsen are known throughout Europe.
Top 12 Sights of Pilsen
The city was founded by King Wenceslas II of Bohemia in the late 13th century, and is famous for being one of the centers of the Hussites, who fought for reforming the Catholic Church, the conduct of worship in the Czech language, etc. At the beginning of the 15th century, Plzeň became one of the centers of the Hussites.
It is the center of the Old Town of Pilsen and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Here are the most interesting sights of the city from the Middle Ages, including. City Hall, the church, the Plague Pillar, etc.
The square appeared in the 13th century, then it was called the Market Square, as in other European medieval cities. Even today, Christmas and Easter celebrations are held here, and beer, punch, Czech cheese, gingerbread, and other goodies are sold.
A few years ago on the square installed fountains with images of symbols of the city: an angel, a dog and a camel, though to see them in a modern design of pipes can only be a local resident, well versed in the history of Pilsen.
In 80 of the 17th century, an epidemic of plague came to Pilsen, killing hundreds of citizens. When it became clear that the plague had receded and the people had overcome the disease, this Plague Pillar was erected in Market Square in gratitude to God.
On its top is a statue of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by statues of the town’s patron saints, the protectors against the plague. Over the years, the number of these saints has been added near the Plague Pillar. In the 1990s, the entire composition was restored.
Today, these sculptures are lost against the background of the magnificent Gothic cathedral of Pilsen, visitors to the city may simply not see them. However, the Plague Pillar with statues looks great against the background of old mansions and is recognized as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic.
Museum of Horrors
On the Republic Square in Pilsen you can find the Museum of Horrors, where the creepiest characters from fairy tales and movies are on public display, surrounded by equally gruesome, scary interiors.
You can come to the museum with the little ones, but do not be in a hurry to scare them. There is a special route for children, where you can see quite harmless monsters. The rest of us can safely go to the local dungeon.
Interestingly, on the site of the house, which today houses the Museum of Horrors, previously stood a mansion of the 14th century. He and preserved spirits and ghosts in his cellars.
The most intrepid citizens of Pilsen celebrate their birthdays in this Museum.
City underground is located under the Old Town, the first underground corridors appeared in the 14th century, over the years the underground corridors and halls began to grow and expand, today their total length is almost 20 km.
Narrow manholes were dug under the ground, small rooms where wine and food were kept and craftsmen worked by candlelight. Deep mines were dug here for water extraction, and sewage flowed in.
During World War II, the dungeon became a bomb shelter, storing weapons, food and water. Today you can go under the ground, but only if accompanied by a guide.
Be sure to wear warm clothes beforehand.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Bartholomew
This cathedral is a symbol of Pilsen and one of the examples of Gothic architecture. It was built at the end of the 13th century, is located in the main square of the city, has a strict Gothic appearance, narrow windows and a high bell tower.
For several centuries this temple was completed, although services were held. It belonged to the Teutonic Order from the beginning of the 14th century to the middle of the 16th. The cathedral contains one of its main treasures: a sculpture of the Virgin Mary by a blind sculptor.
Legend has it that upon completion of the sculpture at the end of the 14th century, its author suddenly had an epiphany. History has not preserved his name, and a sculpture of the Virgin Mary is kept near the main altar of the cathedral.
The Great Synagogue
This synagogue is located in the New Town of Pilsen, near the local opera house. It is known to be one of the largest Jewish temples in the world, with a capacity of at least 2,000 people at a time.
The synagogue was built in the late 19th century at the request of the Jewish community. It is brightly decorated, has many towers and domes, which is akin to the ancient Moorish architecture. There are some Gothic features in the synagogue building.
It is interesting that the synagogue was supposed to be higher than St. Peter’s Cathedral. Bartholomew, but the local government forbade the architect to build such a tall temple. Today there are daily services here, but there are very few Jews in the city.
These gardens are another ornament of the Old Town and are located near the West Bohemian Museum. In their place many centuries ago stood the fortress walls. At first they were called the Royal Gardens, and then they expanded to be called the Shafarzhikovs.
Here you can see beautiful flowerbeds and several alleys with metal wrought iron arbors covered with leaves of wild rose bushes, in them it is good to rest after walking through the Old Town.
In the garden is a sculptural group of cartoon characters, familiar to every child in the Czech Republic.
Several years ago this group was destroyed by vandals, but to the delight of the kids and their parents it was rebuilt again.
The Dominican Monastery and the Church of St. John the Baptist. Anne’s
This monastery was founded in the early 18th century, financed by a local philanthropist named Vratislav. It was he who bought the land and received permission from the city authorities to build, which lasted only a year.
But it took more than two years to finish the premises, at the end of which the nuns of the Dominican order were able to move into their new home. The monastery was finally built in the 30s of the 18th century after the erection of the Church of St. Mary. Anna.
Half a century later, many Catholic churches and monasteries were closed by order of the emperor. The nuns had to leave their convent, and a gymnasium and later a philosophical school were organized in the convent itself.
Jan Hus Church
It is a small religious building with a tower on top of which is a bowl, the symbol of the Hussites. The temple was built in the 1920s by order of the Evangelical Church and was consecrated in honor of the famous Jan Hus, the reformer of Catholicism.
Architect Hvoyka wanted to make the church a chamber church, did not expect large crowds. Therefore, there are many ornaments made of wood, creating a homely atmosphere in the temple. Paintings on the walls of a century ago have survived to this day.
In the church there is a baroque organ with antique pipes, which was made only a few years ago. It accompanies the daily evening service. Not only believers come to listen to him, but also citizens and guests of the city.
This monastery arose together with Pilsen in the 14th century. In those days, the city authorities and its inhabitants favored the various Catholic orders and spared no expense in making generous donations.
Attitudes changed during the Hussite wars, during which the monastery was severely damaged. Then came the Thirty Years’ War, which also destroyed this abode of God. The monastery was reconstructed and restored in baroque style only in the 18th century.
But at the end of the 18th century, after the reforms of the Catholic Church, they tried to dissolve the monastery, but at the request of the monks it was preserved. But in the middle of the 20th century it was confiscated by the Communists. It is now a museum of church art.
That baroque castle is on the outskirts of Pilsen. Once there was an ancient fortress of the 13th century, but the new owners five centuries later, decided to give the fortress more comfort, convenience, so they rebuilt it.
After World War II, the castle was taken from the owners and given to the company Skoda, and half a century later, it was returned. Today in the castle Křimice organized museum, around which stretches a park of 5 hectares, access to the park is open to all.
This building is one of the main attractions of Pilsen, located on the Republic Square in the Old Town. The original town hall was built in the 13th century and was a small Gothic mansion.
At the end of the 15th century, due to the rapid growth of the city, it was decided to build a new town hall, but it soon burned down in a fire. So we decided to restore the old version. By the mid-16th century a new neo-Renaissance town hall had emerged.
In the 19th century it was again reconstructed, another floor and staircase were added. Today, various celebrations and ceremonies are often held in this town hall, and many residents of the city marry here, etc.