The town of Bechyně

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From history

The naturally protected promontory of Bechyně creates a plateau high above the junction of the rivers Lužnice and Smutná . Therefore, it has always been  great place to build a settlement, from where it was possible to control the river, manage the wider surroundings and ensure public safety with little costs. 

Even in prehistric times, people were already aware of this reality. The oldest, explicit, evidence of settlement in this area comes from an epoch more than a three and a half thousand years ago, when there was a Větéřov culture hilltop forttress built in Late Bronze Age (ca. 1800 B.C-1600 B.C). its centre was located in area of today's castle. Many hundreds of years later-during the Iron Age- the spur of land was chosen again and again for permanent settlements. First of all, there was a settlement of a smaller extent during the early part of the Iron Age (the Hallstatt culture from a  ca. the 6 th to the 7 th century B.C.), based in the southeastern part of the, what is today's, small castle  square. A funfamental transformation occured in the following Late Iron Age (the La Téne culture, from ca. the 2nd century B.C.), when it was chosen by the Celts as a centre of power, authority and the economy. This settlement encompassed, apart from the residential core that was situated in the area of the whole present castle, the entire historical centre of the present city (i.e area from the castle to the rampart). The extent and the fortification of the settlement on its open northern side by means of ditches and other defensive elements indicate that this could have been on of the most important centres of the South Bohemian Celtic culture-Oppidum.

After the leaving the settlement, which occured sometime around the turn of the century, the promontory of Bechyně was not permanently settled again for a long time, until the Slavs chose it as their residence in the 8 th or 9 th century A.D. The Slavs  founded here a gord, which soon managed a large area named after the gord "provincia Bechin". The gord housed, also, the church administration or archdeaconry and it that period there stood on the suburbium the Romanesque church of St.George. In the 2nd half of the 13th century kong Přemysl Otakar II had a castle built in the southernmost part of the promontory and, on the eastern hillslope, above the river Lužnice towered the Francisian complex monastery whereas the Deanery Church was situated at the forecastle, was promoted to a city, probably in 1323, by kong  John of Luxemburg and was then newly dimensioned and fortified. The owners of Bechyně  changed severesl times in the Middle Ages and up to Modern Times. Among  the owners were, mainly, the Štenberks, the Švamberks, the Lords of Lažany, the Rosenbergs and lastly the Paars.

The city was heavily damaged during the Hussite Wars later during the Thirty Years'War. The reconstruction of private houses and public interest buildings is reflected in the overall appearance of the city, which  grew especialy to the north. Bechyně began to develop as a spa in the 18th century and it also followed up the medieval tradition of pottery manufacture in its modern ceramic production. Important milestones in the development of the city were the construction of the electrified railway from Tabor (1903), the bridging of Lužnice valley by a spectacular reinforced contrete brigdge (1928) and the construction of the military airport nearby (1950's).The 1990s brought major repairs and reconsstructions, particularly in the historical heart of the city.

Be sure to visit the tower of St.Matthew church, which overlooks the city and houses an exhibition of the photographs taken of the archeological research undertaken in the area of the square.



Created 19.3.2015 13:00:13 | read 3782x | libor.benda
 
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