History

Hradec Králové is first mentioned as a residential seat in the year 1086, a town on the rise at the confluence of the Elbe and the Orlice rivers is however indicated already in the year 1225 in a charter of the Czech king Přemysl Otakar I. In the 14th century Hradec Králové was one of the most significant towns of the Czech kingdom. One of the reasons for that was the fact that in the year 1306 it became a dowry-town and that in the local castle, destroyed by the Hussites in 1423, the Czech queens Elizabeth Ricienza and Elizabeth of Pomerania had their residence in their respective pariods of reign.

The church of the Holy Spirit, a red-brick, Gothic, three-nave construction also dates back to those times. In the 16th century the town underwent a Renaissance reconstruction. The White Tower, built in the years 1574-1580, with the second largest bell in Bohemia - Augustin, became the new dominant feature. Also the town hall, later rebuilt several more times, was adapted in the Renaissance style as well as most of the middle-class houses. The monumental Baroque buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries altered significantly not only the inner appearance of the town but also its skyline. The Jesuit church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary was built in the years 1654-1666 on a design by Carlo Lurago. The construction of the adjoining Jesuit college took place in the years 1671 to 1710. When the Jesuit order was dissolved the college served as a grammar school where a number of well-known personalities of Czech culture studied or taught. In the period between 1765 and 1789 the Emperor Joseph II had Hradec Králové rebuit to create a military fort. In that process the general appearance of the town and its surroundings were transformed to a large extent. In spite of the fact that the fort was a masterpiece of technology, its millitary value was minimal.

At the end of the 19th century, when the military fort of the Josephine times was abolished, the representatives of the city were far-sighted enough to advertise an international competition for the first urban plan of the city, one of the first in Europe. The requirements stated that new residential parts of the city must be created including all the modern facilities. Further up-dated plans were the basis for the construction of the Hradec Králové of today. Construction activities before the First World War were largely influenced by the work of Jan Kotěra, the founder of modern Czech architecture. His most famous construction is the Museum building from the years 1909-1912. The leading personality of architecture in the 1920s and 1930s was the architect Josef Gočár. Besides the urban plan from the years 1926-1928 which became a source of inspiration for several generations of architects to come, Gočár designed a number of urban localities and isolated buildings that have become part of the history of modern Czech architecture. To mention just one example - the Masaryk square as it was adapted in the years 1924-1926