Regional capital: Plzen (Pilsen)
An industrial and beer-producing region, but also a region of great historical and natural heritage and many opportunities for sports and leisure. The Cesky les (Upper Palatinate Forest) and Sumava borderline mountain ranges offer many cycling trails and ski resorts (www.spicak.cz). The unique ecosystem (“the green roof of Europe”) consisting of the Sumava National Park and Landscape Protected Area and the adjacent Bayerischer Wald National Park was designated as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990.The region’s most interesting historical monuments include the Stary Plzenec hill fort with Saints Peter and Paul rotunda and the nearby ruins of Radyne Castle, the ruins of the Romanesque Primda Castle (the country’s oldest stone castle – www.primada.cz), the monumental ruins of the Gothic Rabi Castle (www.hrad-rabi.eu), the unique Svihov water castle (www.hradsvihov.cz) and the charming Kozel Chateau (www.zamek-kozel.cz), as well as fine examples of ecclesiastical architecture by leading Bohemian Baroque architects Santini and Dientzenhofer: the Benedictine monastery at Kladruby founded in 1115 (www.klasterkladruby.cz) and the Cisterician monastery in Plasy founded in 1146 (with uniquely preserved Baroque sanitary facilities – www.klaster-plasy.eu). The regional capital Plzen (info.plzen-city.cz) was founded in 1295. The dominant feature of its skyline is the tower of the Church of Saint Bartholomew (102 m, the highest in Bohemia.) Plzen has the world’s third largest synagogue (the Great Synagogue), Europe’s largest collection of Gothic guns (housed in the West Bohemian Museum), and one of the oldest brewery museums in the world (www.prazdrojvisit.cz). Other popular sights include a zoo and botanical garden with a new Japanese garden (zooplzen.cz). Plzen is home to the University (www.lfp.cuni.cz). The leading companies based in Plzen are the Plzensky Prazdroj/Pilsner Urquell brewery (www.pilsner-urquell.cz), Skoda Holding (www.skoda.cz) and the sparkling wine producer Bohemia Sekt (www.bohemiasekt.cz) www.plzensky-kraj.cz
An example of pure Viennese Baroque architecture, called the “flower chateau” because of the floral patterns that dominate its interior decorations. Rebuilt from a Renaissance fortified manor, the chateau consists of an entrance tract a tower and two wings forming a courtyard. The wings were connected by arcade corridors with remnants of the original Renaissance sgraffito decorations. Today the chateau houses a unique collection of Venetian glass chandeliers. Nebilovy is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue.
Originally a 16th-century Renaissance chateau, rebuilt in the Baroque style following a fire. A roofed passageway connects the chateau with the decanal Church of Saint John the Baptist. Historical interiors with fresoes and a collection of Baroque art. Remarkable collection of paintings by Uaclav Dvorak depicting chateau servants at work.
The origins of the pilgrimage site go back to 1230 and are connected with the activities of the Cisterician monastery in nearby Plasy. A provostry was established and the original church enlarged in the second half of the 17th century. The former provostry building now houses a regional museim.