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(pŭl`zĕnyə), Ger. Pilsen, city (1991 pop. 173,008), W Czech Republic, in Bohemia, at the confluence of several rivers. One of the Czech Republic's largest cities, it lies near a belt of coalfields in an area where sugar beets and hops are raised. Plzeň is internationally famous for its beer (Pilsner), exported worldwide, and for the huge Skoda works, which produce heavy machinery, machine tools, military aircraft, locomotives, automobiles, and armaments. Other manufactures include paper, chemicals, cement and pottery. Founded in 1290 by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, the city was an important Bohemian trade center. It remained a stronghold of Catholicism in the Hussite WarsHussite Wars,
series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia. It was a religious struggle between Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church, a national struggle between Czechs and Germans, and a social struggle between the landed
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 (15th cent.) and served briefly (1633–34) as the headquarters of the German imperial general Wallenstein during the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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. One of the earliest printing presses was established in Plzeň in 1468. Rapid industrialization dates from the late 19th cent., when the Skoda works grew quickly. Plzeň was part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy until 1918, when it was included in newly independent Czechoslovakia. It was taken by German forces in 1939 and became a leading producer of German armaments during World War II; Allied bombing heavily damaged the munitions factories. In 1945 the city was liberated and returned to Czechoslovakia. Plzeň's historic buildings include the 13th-century Gothic Church of St. Bartholomew and a 16th-century Renaissance town hall. Among the city's educational and cultural facilities are a medical school, a technical university, and museums and theaters.



(also Pilsen), a city in western Bohemia, in the Czech Socialist Republic, at the confluence of the Mže, Radbuza, Uh-lava, and Uslava rivers. (The rivers join to form the Berounka River—a tributary of the Vltava.) Capital of the West-Bohemian region; population, 155,000 (1975).

Plzeň is one of Czechoslovakia’s major economic and cultural centers. Its economic development was fostered by the good transportation network in the Plzeň basin, of which the city is the focal point, and by the presence of coal and iron-ore deposits. Three-fourths of the region’s industrial work force is employed in Plzeň and its environs. The city is one of Czechoslovakia’s principal centers of heavy industry. The Skoda, now the V. I. Lenin, Machine-building Works is located here. The city produces electric locomotives, power-engineering and metallurgical equipment, equipment for the atomic-energy industry, and special steels. It is also well known for its breweries. Various foods are produced in Plzeň, as are paper, pottery, glass, and leather. The city has medical, machine-building, electrical-engineering, and pedagogical institutes. Numerous theaters and museums are also located here.

Plzeň was founded circa 1292 by the Bohemian king Václav II; it was situated 9 km southeast of a village and fortress of the same name (now the city of Plzeňec). In the 14th century it received the rights of a privileged royal city. The city was a major artisan and trade center in the 14th and 15th centuries. A stronghold for the revolutionary wing of the Hussites in 1419, Plzeň became a base for Catholic reaction in March 1420 and was a center for the Hapsburgs in the 15th and 16th centuries. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), the city was devastated. In 1648, Bohemia’s first printshop was established in Plzeň. Later in the century the city became a center of the Bohemian national culture.

In the 19th century, Plzeň developed into an important industrial center. Its world-famous brewery was built in 1842, and a machine-building factory was established in 1859. In the last 30 years of the 19th century and, especially, in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Plzeň was one of the principal centers for the workers’ movement. During the fascist German occupation from 1939 to 1945 a network of antifascist underground organizations was created, which participated in the city’s liberation on May 5, 1945. Plzeň was occupied by American troops from May to December 1945.

Much of Plzeň’s medieval appearance has been preserved. Architectural monuments include the Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Church (early 14th and 15th centuries) with the Sternberg Chapel (1510–29). There are several Late Renaissance and baroque houses with ornate portals and attics, which are sumptuously decorated with sculpture (“Red Heart” House, 1630). Also in Plzeň are a Renaissance town hall with sgraffito on the facade (now the city picture gallery, mid-16th century), the baroque Church of St. Anne (1711), and an eclectic-style theater (1899–1902). Since the late 1940’s the construction of new residential sections has been under way (Doubravka, Nové-Slovany).


Macák, A. Bibliograpfie historickovlastivêdné literatury Plzenska z let 1901–1960.
Plzeň, 1971. Kubín, J. Plzen. Plzeň, 1972.


an industrial city in the Czech Republic. Pop.: 163 000 (2005 est.)
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