The 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 back to that period.
In the late 13th century, a new royal town ground plan was built on the confluence of four rivers – the river Úslava, Úhlava, Radbuza and Mže in the northern direction from 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 (103 m), 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 a 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 famous for its world-famous Pilsner Urquell beer; the brewery offers guided tours and tastings..