Sunday, May 27, 2007

Budejovice, Czech Republic

About ten miles north of Cesky Krumlov is the larger town of Cesky Budejovice - about 100,000 population. There is a brewery in town by the name of Budvar and beer has been made here since the 13th century. In German, the name of the city is Budweis and thus the Budvar beer is known as Budweiser. How the Anheuser-Busch family came up with the name Budweiser for the popular American beer is unclear, but the result has been a long running series of lawsuits brought by Anheuser and multiple offers to buy Budvar. To date all suits have failed and all offers have been spurned resulting in the Busch product being marketed under other less appealing names in many parts of Europe.
Outside of this ongoing spat, Budejovice is rightly famous for its wide range of architecture and many well preserved buildings. The town is quite focused around the Otakar Square which is vast, in fact the largest square in the Czech Republic. We stopped by briefly to check it out.

The somewhat whimsical Baroque town hall stands in
one corner of the Otakar Square. It was built in 1730

Two of the four figures atop the town hall representing the
citizen’s virtues: Fairness, Wisdom, Caution and Bravery.

Town hall clock and minuscule belfry

Detail of the Samsonova Kašna (Samson's Fountain)
in the square built shortly before the town hall

The Vcela (bee) Palace in one corner of the square

St Nichola Cathedral, originally 13th century, rebuilt in the
16th century, burned down and rebuilt again in the 17th
century, is just off the square diagonally opposite the
town hall. The curious Baroque Chapel of Mortal
Fears of Our Lord
was added in the 18th century

Behind St Nichola's is the Black Tower built
as a watch and bell tower in about 1550. At
around 230 feet in height, this was quite an
accomplishment. The clock was added later

A block or two north of the square, down a
side street, is the Dominican Monastery and
the Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady.
The monastery was begun in 1265

A few downtown streets were quaintly enhanced
by pedestrian arcades like this one

Just outside of the old city where we
parked was this souped up Panelak

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