Jindřichův Hradec – a loving town

The town of Jindřichův Hradec is one of the rarest historical settlements that, even today, reminds visitors of the past glory of its inhabitants. The Lords of Hradec, the Slavata family and the Czernin family, were one of the most prominent dynasties in the Czech Kingdom and brought fame to Jindřichův Hradec not only in Bohemia but also abroad. Thanks to its historical wealth, Jindřichův Hradec received the prestigious “Historical Town of 2007” award.

The origins of the town are associated with a Slavic settlement in a convenient location on the promontory over the Nežárka River and Hamerský Stream. The first written record of Hradec dates from 1220 when the Jindřichův Hradec domain was owned by Jindřich I, the founder of the Lords of Hradec who had a Gothic castle built on the site of the former settlement. The town that is named after Jindřich I was built in the outer bailey of the castle in the middle of the 13th century. The first mention of the present name of the town dates from 1410. The coat of arms of the Lords of Hradec was a golden rose on a blue field. The privilege of King Vladislav II dating from 1483, represented by two gold royal lions and the letter W with a crown, was added to the coat of arms and has become Jindřichův Hradec’s emblem.  

The town’s dominant feature is a large pond called Vajgar, in the middle of which there is an artificially created island built in 1858–1860 by Count Jaromír Evžen Černín for his beloved wife Karolína.  

Another dominant feature of Jindřichův Hradec is the state castle and chateau complex, which is the third largest monument in the Czech Republic. The monumental complex of buildings was declared a national cultural monument in 1996.

The 20-meter-high stone sculptural group of the Holy Trinity is the dominant feature of the town’s centre, Náměstí Míru, a square surrounded by Renaissance houses. Langr House decorated with sgraffiti and the Old Town Hall are also worth seeing.

Did you know that… a power plant designed by František Křižík and built inside the castle mill was put into operation in 1888, which makes Jindřichův Hradec the first town to be lit, right after Prague? The Křižík hydroelectric power station is still operational and the entire building is a national cultural monument.

... tapestry has its tradition in Jindřichův Hradec and tapestries are still made and restored in Jindřichův Hradec?

... the 15th east meridian passes through the town, but its marking at the corner of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not accurate? The meridian does pass through Jindřichův Hradec, but much closer to Nežárka River.

Our tip:  

The former Jesuit College, the current seat of the Museum of Photography and Modern Visual Media, is the site of unique ceiling frescos of an autopsy, which is all the more interesting because the Jesuits were forbidden to perform autopsies on the human body

Natives and notables:

  • Adam Václav Michna of Otradovice (1600–1676) – an organist and music and singing teacher. Everyone knows his Christmas carol Chtíc, aby spal (Wanting Him to Sleep), which has become popular.
  • Tomáš Krýza (1838–1918) – a native of Jindřichův Hradec and hosiery maker; it took him over 60 years to create the world's largest mechanical nativity scene containing 1,398 human and animal figures. You can admire his nativity scene in the Museum of Jindřichův Hradec.