Regional capital: Hradec Kralove
The region has played an important part in Czech history, both as the scene of historical events (the Battle of Hradec Kralove, called Koniggratz in German, on 3 july 1866 decided the Austro-Prussian War) and as the birthplace of famous people, including the writers Bozena Nemcova, Josef Skvorecky and Karel Capek (creator of the word “robot”). A tradional industrial area, it has a large pool of highly skilled workforce concentrated mainly in the automotive industry (Skoda Superb, the most luxurious Czech cars, is manufactured in the Skoda Auto factory at Kvasiny), textile and food industries and the medical technologies industry. Another major company based in the region is PETROF, a renowned piano manufacturer (www.petrof.com). The largest ongoing investment project in the region is the construction of a segment of the D11 (E67) motorway connecting the Czech Republic’s and Poland’s motorway networks. Traditional local products include the Vamberk lace, produced in the region for four centuries.
(www.vambereckakrajka.cz), and culinary specialities such as the Horice waffle tubes, Miletin gingerbread “prayerbook” cakes, “kyselo” (typical sour soup from the Krkonose mountains), plum sauce and fried potato pancakes. The regional capital Hradec Kralove (www.hradeckralove.org) was the country’s first town to have a comprehensive urban development plan; in the 1920’s and 1930’s it was known as the “(Czechoslovak) Republic’s salon” because of its distinctive modern image consistently shaped by the architects Josef Gocar and Jan Kotera. However, the interesting architectural heritage of Hradec Kralove includes buildings in the Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist, and Art Nouveau as well as Functionalist styles. Hradec Kralove is a university town (www.uhk.cz) and the seat of a diocese. It has a congress centre, a network of cultural insititutions, and offers some popular sights such as a giant aquarium (www.obriakvarium.cz). The region includes parts of the Cesky raj (Bohemian Paradise) tourist area with “rock town” landscape areas, castles and chateaus (Kost, Humprecht, Detenice) and vernacular architecture (www.ceskyraj.cz) Another major tourist area is the Krkonose mountain range (www.krkonose.eu) with the country’s oldest national park (www.krnap.cz) and highest peak (Snezka, 1,602m above sea level). Most valuable examples of the region’s historical heritage are its chateaux: Castolovice (www.zamek-castolovice.cz), Hradek u Nechanic, Karlova Koruna, Kuks, Nove Mesto nad Metuji, Opocno and Rychnov nad Kneznou. Other famous sights are the Dvur Kralove Safari Zoo (www.zoodk.cz) and the mechanical nativity scene in Trebechovice.
A large Baroque compound founded by Count Franz Anton von Sporck (1962), combining architecture, sculptures and landscape. Includes a park, a hospital and pharmacy, the Holy Trinity Church and the Sporck family crypt. Numerous sculptures by Matthias Bernhard Braun, including Biblical figures and scenes hewn into rocks in the adjoining forest.
A castle located on an old trading route is mentioned by the early mediaeval historian Cosmas of Prague as early as in 1068. The castle was destroyed during the Hussite Wars in 1425. A Renaisscance chateau was built on the ruins by the Trczka family in the mid-16th century. In 1813, the Russian Tsar Alexander I, Prussian Emperor Freidrich Wilhelm III and Austrian Foreign Minister Metternich met at the chateau to plan a strategy against Napoleon.
A spa town on the southern slope of the Krkonose mountain range (670 m above sea level), in a relatively warm climate of the foothills, with abundant solar radiation. The 29.6 C mineral springs are used for rehabilitation therapies.