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Budweis - Namesti Premysla Otakara II
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
České Budějovice (also known as Budweis in German and English) is in South Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. It is the home of the REAL Budweiser beer (Budvar beer in Czech), not the poor American Anheuser-Busch (A-B) copy.
This prosperous and lively town was founded in 1265 by the Czech King Premysl Otakar II on the confluence of the Vltava and Malse Rivers. During the communist era the town used to be gritty and industrial, and served mainly as a gateway to southern Bohemia. It is amazing to see how the town has been renewed and cleaned up after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
České Budějovice's medieval grid plan leads inevitably to the town's showpiece, the magnificent náměstí Přemysla Otakara II. This perfectly quadratic cobblestone market square is one of the largest squares in central Europe. It is lined with magnificent, supremely elegant baroque buildings that are testifying to the last three centuries of German burgher power, but it's the square's 18th-century arched and barrel-vaulted arcades, its magnificent Baroque radnice (town-hall), whose clock tinkles out tunes, and the octagonal baroque Samson's Fountain – once the only tap in town – that make the greatest impression. Nearby you can find the famous erratic boulder. It is the last remains of the original paving and it is said to mark the place where executions were held.
The wooden benches around the Fountain of Samson are the usual meeting place for the people of Budejovice. Watching them is a great way to see a slice of everyday life in the Czech Republic.
June 22nd, 2012
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