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Brief history of Litoměřice

The oldest place in Litoměřice is Cathedral Hill where the first Slavonic settlements appeared in the 8th century and where the Slavs erected a powerful early medieval castle, the guardian of surrounding land. This fortified settlement was one of the most important in Bohemia. Thanks to Cosmas, the earliest Czech chronicler, we know the local Slavonic tribe by its name - Liutomerici. Dated May 31, 993 A. D., there is documentary evidence of the province of Litoměřice.

Cathedral HillOne of the most important Přemyslid seat spread out on 6 hectares. In the year 1057 Prince Spytihněv II found the local chapter and a church consecrated to St. Stephen rebuilt in gothic style in the 14th century. In the years 1662 to 1663 the original building was destroyed and in the years 1663 - 70 present cathedral was erected. Its chief architect is unknown. Domenico Orsi was charged with its accomplishment. The cathedral was consecrated in 1681. Today's cathedral tower replaced wooden baroque belfry in the years 1883 - 89.

Mírové Square with an area of 1,8 hectares is one of the largest in Bohemia. It acquired its shape after 1228 during the reign of King Přemysl Otakar I. The altitude at the foot of the city tower is 163,6 m above sea level.

Peace SquareThe city has a very extensive underground system. The basement goes as many as three floors underground, the cellars are large and interconnected with a network of galleries. The underground system is rated among the longest anywhere in Bohemia (about 3 km). Part of the underground system, 366 metres long, is accessible by way of the wine bar "Radniční sklípek" at No. 21/13, phone 416731142.

Upon on the arrival to the town you are attracted by walls. Original city fortification was built in the gothic style during the reign of Charles IV. It provided with bastions, one of which served as in-prison chapel where famous acolyte and later criminal Václav Babinský worked. Nowadays the restaurant "Bastion" is placed there. The other preserved bastion served for prison and torture chamber. Today it is the seat of Czech Middle Mountains Protected Landscape Area Administration. Present perimeter of fortification is 1 800 m long. Unfortunately, none of four town bars was preserved. They were destroyed on account of new city build-up at the end of the 19th century.

Old Bridge Part of the castle, New Palace, was preserved from the second half of the 14th century and at present it neighbours on the Culture house. Its architect was Czech king and Roman emperor - Charles IV.

Marked style changes left only a few traces of Gothic - timbered rooms, wagon-vaults and portals. Gothic building are represented by house No. 24 in Mírové Square and Gothic Twins in Jezuitská Street (courtyard tract of No. 4) from the 15th century.

The Renaissance building boom in the 16th century determined the architectural appearance of the city until as late as the 19th century. The first evidence of Renaissance style is Old Town Hall (rebuilt from two houses in the year 1537 to 1539 by Italian architect Ambrose Balli) in which District Museum of Local History and Geography is located. Black Eagle House was also developed in Renaissance style by A. Balli (before 1560). Its prominent features include the Renaissance gables and figural sgraffiti on the facade. The city council seated there since 1855. At present the restaurant "Salva Guarda" houses there.

The Chalice, the Dome House, represents the other work of A. Balli. It was redeveloped in 1560-1570 for patrician Jan Mráz of Milešovka. In the 17th century it became municipal property and served as the seat of the salt office. Walled in the left side of the arcade is the Austrian monarchy emblem that went with the salt office. Nowadays it serves as the seat of the City Council and Municipal Information Centre. The name is derived from sightseeing turret in the form of chalice whose shape is often used as symbol of the town.

Marianske SquareIn the half of the 17th century an era of grandiose Baroquization set in and started redevelopment of the war-ravaged houses and development of new building.

Main architects of this period were Giulio Broggio (1628-1703) and his son Octaviano (1670-1742). Their work includes St. Wenceslas Church, the Five Virgin House and former Jezuit Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady that was turned into a storehouse for a brewery and consecrated again in 1810. The building now houses the exhibition of contemporary sculptors called Baroque and nowadays. (Information: Gallery, phone 416/732382)

Cathedral Hill is admired for St. Stephen Cathedral, Chapter Consistory, canonical houses and residence of the 18th bishop, ThDr. J. Koukl. (Information: Chapter Consistory, phone 416/731448)

Old Train stationOn the way from Cathedral Hill you cannot pass over St. Wenceslas Church, from the years 1714 - 16, plague column in Mírové Square, built in memory of the victims of the epidemic of plague in 1680, Decanal Church of All Saints with the most famous walls in Litoměřice - several windows build-in from the 13th century. The church became the production of Baroquization executed in 1718-29. Celebrities buried in the church include architects G. and O. Broggio. Until 1790 the main municipal cemetery was situated in the adjoining Church Square.

Next to Church of All Saints you can admire City Tower, first mentioned in 1341. Small, pointed ridge portal in the groundfloor was instrumental to deposit their valuables in times of jeopardy. This four-storey tower is 54,30 metres high.

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