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History of České Budějovice from 18 century

České Budějovice continued to prosper as late as the 18th century. An ostentatious Baroque town hall was built at that time (1727 - 1730) as well as Samson‘s Fountain and the water tower, and a statue was erected in front of each of the town gates. An important moment, which improved the education of the town‘s inhabitants, was the arrival of the Piarists, who founded a Latin grammar school and a Piarist college. Another significant year in the town‘s history is 1751, when České Budějovice first became the administrative centre of the newly-established Region of České Budějovice. Emperor Joseph II closed two convents in the town as part of his church reforms, but in 1785 he made České Budějovice a bishopric.

České Budějovice at the time of the Industrial Revolution

České Budějovice - The oldest “railway building“ in Continental Europe - the original station of the horsedrawn tramway, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The industrial revolution of the 19th century brought about major changes to the town. A horse-drawn tramway linking České Budějovice to the Austrian towns of Linz (in 1832) and Gmunden (1836) was built in the period from 1827 to 1836. It was the first railway in continental Europe. It was especially used for transportation of goods, particularly salt (to Bohemia). The Vltava River, which was made navigable, was another cause of the town‘s economic boom. Along with the horse-drawn tramway, they created an easier route for the transportation of goods to Prague and further north. This was one of the conditions for development of business in the town. An example of this is the establishment of the Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth factory producing pencil leads from a mixture of graphite and fine clay. The horse-drawn tramway of České Budějovice ran for 40 years. A modern railway connection from Prague, Vienna and Pilsen was built in 1868-1874.

National friction between Czechs and Germans, which sometimes turned into conflicts, was part of the atmosphere of České Budějovice at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A typical phenomenon of that time was establishing Czech and German unions with the same focus, which competed with each other as a result. The same applied to industry. Everybody was worried about the national rivalry between Czechs and Germans except for the local veteran society Militär Veteranen Verein. It has been said that at one of their festive events in the countryside they placed a sign saying: We are not Czech / we are not German / we are veterans of the monarchy / Austrian patriots! National disputes eased temporarily with the end of World War I in connection with the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia.

České Budějovice and World War II

On 15 March 1939 the town was occupied by Nazis and Czech officials were immediately replaced with the German occupation administration. A German became the town mayor and a Gestapo office was founded. The occupiers blew up the local synagogue in 1942. At the end of the war, on 23 and 24 March 1945, České Budějovice endured two air raids by American bombers, during which many houses were destroyed and about 200 people lost their lives. The end of the war for the inhabitants of České Budějovice came on 9 May 1945. It was the day when the Soviet army entered the town. The Americans had to stop on the demarcation line at the southwest edge of the town (they did not get over the Long Bridge). The subsequent post-war expulsion of German inhabitants affected approximately 7,500 people, about 16% of inhabitants.

Development of České Budějovice in the 2nd half of the 20th century

České Budějovice - Campus of the University of South Bohemia, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.In 1949 České Budějovice became a regional town and in 1952 its historic centre was declared a Town Conservation Area. In the following decades several new residential quarters were established as well as the House of Culture, a town swimming pool and a number of public facilities. The period after 1989 was a time of major changes - culture and sport developed, tourism increased, modern industry flourished (Bosch, Madeta, Budvar, etc.). The University of South Bohemia was founded in 1991. A significant project was the transformation of the former military airport in Planá u Českých Budějovic into a civil transportation airport (it is to be opened in 2014).