République tchèque

Mladá Boleslav


The history of Mladá Boleslav is over a millennium old. A castle was built by Knight Boleslav II on the confluence of the Jizera and the Klenice Rivers in the middle of the l0th century and a small market settlement with a church soon developed around. A step in the right direction was the transfer of Mladá Boleslav to a vast plateau in 1334 on which a medieval city started emerging. It soon came to be owned by the Lords of Michalovice who resided in a castle on the other bank of the Jizera. The place is now marked with a ruin with the inclined, round tower called Putna. There were good times and bad times in the history of Mladá" Boleslav. The city came to be known all over the Bohemian Kingdom between the late l5th and early l7th centuries, the times of Unitas Fratrum. The purely national religious movement had influence on education, book print, architecture, and social life. The "Fraternal Rome", as Mladá Boleslav was nicknamed at that time, was the seat of Bishops and other Church Officials, there was the printing shop of Mikuláš Klaudián, author of the first printed map of Bohemia, where many religious and scientific books were published, the religious school produced many scholars who continued their studies on universities all over Europe. The castle went through a costly redevelopment into a Renaissance château, the new Town Hall and a monumental Unitas Fratrum Congregation was built in 1554. The period that followed the Battle of the White Mountain had two dominating features: recatholicising by force through which many Protestant families were expelled, and military crusades of the imperial and Swedish armies that plundered the country during the 30Year War, striking the economy and deepening general poverty. But the very late l7th century brought first marks of new hope: the population was growing again, old wounds began to heal and the coming baroque was changing the city looks, adding a touch of beauty and splendour. The l9th century triggered off a new era. Textile manufactories industrialised, the city was increasingly Czech speaking in the 1860s, and there was a fast growth of crafts, trade and, above all, of industry. In 1895 two enterprising men, the engineer Václav Laurin and bookseller Václav Klement, founded a bicycle shop. Three years later a motorbike production was started here and in 1905 the famous Voiturette, their first car with one-litre engine and the fantastic top speed of 25 mph, roared through the factory gate. Thus a tradition was born which made the Laurin & Klement and later ákoda trade mark member of the exclusive world club. Being one of Czech economy~s flagships, today~s jointstock company provides some 15,000 jobs, exporting cars to over 60 countries. With a population of 50,000, Mladá Boleslav is an interesting place to see. There are several medieval castles in the region (Michalovce, Bělá pod Bezdězem, Benátky nad Jizerou, Mnichovo Hradiště, etc.). Sacral buildings offer a variety of styles - Romanesque (Vinec, Mohelnice), Gothic (Mladá Boleslav, Bezděz, Vlčí Pole), Renaissance and haroque (Lorette at Kosmonosy, Mnichovo Hradiště, Bezno, Bělá pod Bezdězem, Dobrovice, etc.). Modern architecture is represented by J. Kroha, O. Döbert and others. Lives of several celebrities of Czech literature, music, science and art are linked with the region: composer Fridrich Smetana spent the last nine years of life in the gamekeeper's lodge at Jabkenice; outstanding musicians, the Benda brothers were born in Benátky nad Jizerou; poet Karel Hynek Mácha used to ramble through the country, letting himself get inspired; poet and journalist František Gelner's family was based in Mladá Boleslav. There were moments when European history was made here - in 1833 the three emperors of Austria, Prussia and Russia met in the château of Mnichovo Hradiště; the domain was owned by Václav Budovec of Budov, the leader of the Estates Rebellion of 16181620, and later by the almost mythical Albrecht of Wallenstein who was buried here. The château archives include the Wallenstein library administered by Giacomo Casanova at his time. The château of Benátky nad Jizerou hosted the Danish astronomer Tycho de Brahe and Johannes Kepler stopped for a visit here, too. The Neuberk château near Mladá Boleslav was family seat of the noble family of the same name who supported the then new National and Industrial Museums in Prague a great deal. The château of Niměřice was home of Rudolf Thun-Taxis who largely supported the founding of the National Theatre in Prague. The library of farmer Jan Krouský yielded the Manuscript of Karel Hynek Mácha's Máj poem. Mladá Boleslav and around is a place worth seeing.


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