Welcome to Litoměřice, a charming town located in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. With a population of about 23,000 people, this town offers a perfect mix of history, culture, and stunning natural beauty. Litoměřice is known for its well-preserved historic town center, which is protected by law as an urban monument reservation. The town is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Litoměřice.
Administratively, Litoměřice is divided into four town parts: Litoměřice-Město, Pokratice, Předměstí, and Za nemocnicí. The town is located about 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Ústí nad Labem and 51 kilometers (32 miles) northwest of Prague. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe River, at its confluence with the Ohře, which flows from the south.
Litoměřice has a rich and deep history. The settlement has a history of Paleolithic cultures as well as large Celtic settlements, which did not survive the incoming Germanic attacks. The earliest evidence of the Slavic settlement comes from the 8th century. In the 9th and 10th century, Litoměřice fell under the control of the Přemyslid dynasty, who built here an early medieval fortress, one of the most important Přemyslid centers in Czech lands. In 1057, the Litomeřice Chapter was founded by Duke Spytihněv II, and it is the oldest written evidence of the existence of the town. Litoměřice was an important political, cultural, and economic center at the beginning of the 13th century.
The population of Litoměřice suffered during the 15th century Hussite Wars. After the Protestant tensions with the Catholics that triggered the Thirty Years War and the Protestants defeat in the Battle of White Mountain, the surviving population of the town was forced to accept Catholicism or face property confiscation and the obligation to leave the kingdom. In this way, the town became a Catholic bishops residency in 1655. As a result, the Czech Protestant population shrank and the town became largely germanized. In the 18th century, many Baroque buildings, which are today cultural monuments, were built. However, the prosperity of the town suffered from the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War.
During World War II, German troops occupied the Sudetenland. Czechs settled there again but remained a minority. In 1938, after the Munich Agreement, German troops occupied the Sudetenland (and all the rest of Czech lands a few months later). The Czech population had to leave again. Jews from Litoměřice were forced to flee to the Protectorate or were deported during the Holocaust in the Sudetenland. From March 1944 to May 1945, Leitmeritz concentration camp was located west of the town. 18,000 prisoners passed through the camp and were forced to work mostly on excavating underground factories (Richard I and II) under Radobýl. 4,500 died.In the final stages of World War II, German troops retreated to escape the advancing Red Army. Most of the German population of the town was expelled by the Beneš decrees in August 1945, along with about 2.5 million other former Czechoslovak citizens of German ethnicity from the country.
Today, Litoměřice is known for viticulture and winemaking. It is the center of the Litoměřická wine sub-region. The existence of vineyards is already documented in the first written mention of Litoměřice from 1057. The town is also famous for its annual event Zahrada Čech (Garden of Bohemia), an extensive horticultural trade fair attended by tens of thousands of people. The North Bohemian Gallery of Fine Arts is based close to the main square. Its extensive collection spans from the 13th century to contemporary art with numerous other exhibitions during the year.
The historic center of Litoměřice has been an urban monument reservation since 1978. The protected territory is delimited by remains of town walls. About 1,800 meters (5,900 ft) of town walls are preserved to this day. The Old Town Hall building on the square is the oldest Renaissance building in the town. Today, the building serves as a regional museum. Other sights on the square include the Chalice house (new town hall with a lookout tower in the shape of chalice), Dům u černého orla (Black Eagle House; one of the most significant Renaissance houses), or Museum of Crystal Touch. There are several valuable sacral buildings in Litoměřice, including the All Saints Church on the main square, the Baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral at the Dómské Square, and the Jesuit Church of the Annunciation.
Litoměřice is twinned with several cities, including Armentières, France; Calamba, Philippines; Dapitan, Philippines; Fulda, Germany; and Meissen, Germany.
Come and visit Litoměřice to experience the rich history, culture, and natural beauty that this charming town has to offer!