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Plzeň

This West Bohemian metropolis with 170,000 inhabitants is the fourth-largest city in the Czech Republic. Its historical predecessor was a former watch castle dating from the 10th century on the place of the recent Starý Plzenec. The pre-Romanesque Rotunda of St. Peter dates to that period as well.

In the late 13th century, a new royal town ground plan was built on the confluence of four rivers – the Úslava, Úhlava, Radbuza and Mže – to the north of the castle. The town was built on a chessboard plan and is an example of high-Gothic urbanism. The tower of the Church of St. Bartholomew, the highest in the Czech Republic (at 103 meters), is the dominant feature of the town.

The Plzeň historical underground, a network of three-storey cellars gradually constructed since the Middle Ages, is a remarkable sight. The Renaissance period is represented by the monumental town hall, numerous citizens' houses and wide range of stone portals. The building of the bishopric is a significant Baroque sight built after a design by Jakub Auguston.

In the late 19th century, the third-largest synagogue in the world was founded in Plzeň, constructed in the Moorish-Romanesque style. At that time, a large zone of parks and orchards was established on the site of the ruined medieval fortifications. Plzeň is known for its world-famous beer, Pilsner Urquell; the brewery offers guided tours and tastings..

The city houses the district government of the Plzeň region.

Further information:
http://info.plzen-city.cz/article.asp?sec=5  - official website
http://www.prazdroj.cz/eng/index.php  - Pilsner Urquell brewery

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