Plzen monuments

St. Bartholomew Cathedral

St. Bartholomew Cathedral

The building of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew started after 1295 and in was finished at the beginning of the 16th century. The sculpture of the Pilsen Madonna (arenaceous marl) on the mail altar) is from 1390 and it is one of the most valuable statues of the so called Czech “beautiful Madonna style” (its replica at the top of the plague column is from the 17th century). The “Šternerk” chapel with an overhanging roof bolt dates back to the first half of the 16th century.

In 1993, the Pope John Paul II established a bishopric in Pilsen and the Church of St. Bartholomew became a cathedral. The cathedral tower with its 102,6 m (336 feet) is the highest church tower in Bohemia and a favourite viewing point.

 

Historical Subterranean Pilsen

Historical Subterranean Pilsen

The system of linked cellars (two or three storeys deep) located under the whole Pilsen city centre grew gradually between the 13th and 19th century.

With its 17 km (10,5 miles) of corridors, this complex labyrinth ranks among the largest in Central Europe. The two or three storey deep cellars were mainly used for storage of food or as manufacturing workshops, still-houses and malt houses but they also served as wells or tunnels for municipal sewerage and water drainage or for bringing water to the water supply machinery.

Forced by the critical shortage of water in the 16th century, the city’s administrators decided to build a water conduit which had a great impact on the water supply regime of the city. A water tower was constructed with a water machine inside which (by means of a system of pumps) pushed water to a lead tank and further, through wooden pipes, to the fountains in the square.

 

Jewish Monuments

The Jews have lived in the Pilsen area since the 14th century and their presence can be traced both in the city itself and the vicinity. Restrictions imposed on the Jewish community in the past were lifted in the 19th century and the Jews were allowed to go into business. The Jewish Community was becoming rich and the growing revenues were soon manifested not only in the cultural and business life of the city but in the architecture too. The Nazis rise to power and the subsequent holocaust brought the prosperity to an end.

 

The Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue

The second largest synagogue in Europe (and the third in the world). It has been one of Pilsen dominants since 1894, when there lived a numerous and prosperous Jewish Community – till the beginning of the World War II. The interior with an excellent acoustics houses a unique pneumatic organ. Its hot-air floor ceiling is a rare specimen. The impressive atmosphere of the place is used for concerts and regular exhibitions.

 

PBREWERY

Beer has been brewed in Pilsen almost since its foundation. The first record related to brewing dates back to as early as 1307. It is the testament of Wolfram Zwinilinger, bequeathing his brewery and malt house to the church of St. Bartholomew.

Later on, beer was brewed only in the houses which were granted the brewing licence by King Wenceslas II. in the 13th century. In the 14th century, this privilege was only given to the houses inside the city gates. Brewing was a free burgher business unrestricted by guild regulations. The license was granted to 260 houses altogether, and therefore their individual manufacturing technologies and varying ingredients caused great differences in the quality of beer.

A milestone which changed the beer history was the year 1838 when 36 hectolitres (i.e. 6 335 U.K. pints / 7 606 U.S. pints) of poor quality beer had to be poured on the ground in front of the city hall.

This unfortunate event brought the beer licence holding burghers to the decision to ensure the everlasting quality of the Pilsen beer by building (by joint effort) a new modern brewery. The builder Martin Stelzer was entrusted with the building of the brewery, and in carrying that task, he used the rich experience gained during his tours of the breweries abroad. While visiting Bavaria, he met the ingenious but very idiosyncratic brewer Josef Groll. Stelzer made him come back to Bohemia with him and brew beer there using the new method of bottom fermentation. 

Groll succeeded in his task excellently and on the 5th October 1842, he brewed the bottom fermented light lager which became the prototype of all lagers. The brewery has commemorated this memorable day by an annual festival called the Pilsner Fest.

The manufacturing of the brand new lager with an unmistakeable taste and quality soon made Pilsen the beer metropolis. The popularity of the “Pilsner”, however caused extensive efforts among the other breweries to imitate it. The easiest way of imitating the Pilsner Urquell was the appropriation of the same name. Beers called pils, pilsner or pilsener appeared but their quality and sensory characteristics spoiled the good reputation of our genuine Pilsner beer. In order to avoid confusion with other products and to make sure that only the beer bearing this name is the oldest and only genuine Pilsner beer, the trade mark “Pilsner Urquell” was created in 1898.

The success of the beer from Pilsen and the prosperity of the brewery were unstoppable and the trademark Pilsner Urquell soon became the synonym of quality all over the world.

 

Brewery and Brewery Museum

The Pilsner Urquell Brewery is the most favourite tourist destination of foreign visitors of Pilsen. The brewery complex and the Brewery Museum are visited by more than 180 thousand tourists annually.

 

The Pilsner Urquell Brewery

The Pilsner Urquell Brewery

The Burghers' Brewery was founded by the Pilsen burghers with brewing licence in 1842. The first batch was brewed on the 5th October 1842. The fame of the Pilsner Urquell beer soon reached the world and the brewery gradually expanded to its present shape. Nowadays, the brewery is a vibrant dynamic place where the traditional manufacturing procedures meet the most advanced brewing technologies. Developed into a unique industrial monument, the brewery is attractive (not only) for all lovers and connoisseurs of good beer.

The sightseeing tour offers:

Visitors centre – a short documentary about the history of the Pilsner Urquell beer
Modern Filling Room - the most up to date filling room in the Czech Republic with the capacity of 60 000 bottles/hour
New Exhibition Pilsner Urquell –a film about the manufacturing of Pilsner Urquell (Cinerama, revolving auditorium) sensory exhibition of ingredients, historical brew house from the beginning of the 20th century.
Brewing House - unique manufacturing process of the Pilsner Urquell beer
Hall of Fame – the best known monuments of the brewery
Cellars – beer tasting – filtered and non-pasteurized Pilsner Urquell straight from the barrel (above 18 years old only)

 

Brewery Museum

Brewery Museum

The Brewery Museum is the only museum of its kind located in an original brewing house well preserved in its authentic shape so that the visitors can see a Gothic malt house with a well, malt drying kiln, drying shed, cool room, two level cellars and premises of the former tap-room. Hundreds of unique exhibits give testimony of the history of brewing from Antiquity till the present. The history of “beer culture” is presented in two pub models: a 19th century village pub and an early 20th century town pub. The adjacent building houses one of the oldest Pilsen beer houses, Parkán – its name derived from its location between the medieval walls of the city (parkán).