Litoměřice. From now on written as 'Litomerice', since some computers do not display the special characters correctly. The German name obviously derives from the Czech name: Leitmeritz.
Around 55 km north of →Prague, Litomerice stretches along the right (northern) banks of the Labe. On the other side of the river, the smaller Ohře (Eger) river coming from Germany and flowing trough →Cheb and the entire north of Bohemia joins the Labe (in German Elbe) river. The area south of the Labe is rather flat, but in the north it's getting more mountaineous. Litomerice marks the centre of Severočeský (Northern Bohemia).
Litomerice has around 26,000 inhabitants and therefore it's rather a small city.
The town towers above the Labe river and the plain south of the river. When you approach from the south, all you see is a huge wall of buildings. The bus terminal and the train station lie next to each other east of the historic centre. From there, you only need to walk westwards along the Dlouhá. After a couple of minutes you will arrive at Mírové nám. (Mirov-square), the middle of the centre. The central square is one of the largest squares of Bohemia. As in a few other old towns, e.g. Zeitz in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, the underground of the city is like a giant Swiss cheese - countless tunnels, all of them connected with each other, form a large underground network. At some places, there are three levels of tunnels. A small part of the network can be visited.
|The Mírové nám. in the centre of town|
Thanks to its strategically important position, the town was a perfect place for building a fortress. And this is what the Slavs did in the 9th century. However, there's not much left of the first fortress. During the 13th century, German settlers founded a first small town. It remained a small and less important place until the 18th century, when the king and the bishop decided to make the place their residence. At that time, the baroque architect Ottavio Broggio lived in Litomerice. He designed some of the most spectacular baroque buildings in his hometown.
|Strolling around the back streets is fun!|
The construction of the fortress →Terezín (Theresienstadt), only some kilometers away, brought a significant decline of Litomerice's importance as a military stronghold in Northern Bohemia. Not only due to the events in the recent past, Terezin is much more famous than Litomerice.
Getting there / transportation
It's better to stick to buses when coming from →Prague. Buses for Litomerice depart Prague's central bus station Praha-Florenc once in a few hours and need around 1hour and 10 minutes for the trip. The fare is 61 Kč. There are trains as well, but you must change trains at least one time. By train it takes between 1½ and 2 hours.
The train to Ústí nad Labem needs 25 minutes, the fare is 40 Kč. There are countless buses to near →Terezín (Theresienstadt) every day.
The complete old city centre is the pride of Litomerice. As with the central square of →České Budějovice (Budweis), the entire Mírové nám. was surrounded by arcades. Unfortunately, large parts of the arcades in Litomerice vanished (see picture on the left). At the central square, first of all the All Saints' church and the Old City Hall opposite the church attract the visitor's attention. Ottavio Broggio's house can be found here as well.
|Tiny houses line up at Dlouhá|
The Domské nám (cathedral sqare) is close to the central square. Today, this place is nothing special, but this was the place where the first Slavic fortress had been built. Nearby Litomerice's oldest church, the Stephen's church built in the 11th century can be seen.
Just stroll around the streets and alleys around the central square, and you won't be disappointed. Litomerice is a lovely and surprisingly charming old town and probably one of the most interesting historic places of the Czech Republic.
No specific recommendation. Some camping sites can be found in the vicinity (see also accommodation in →Terezín (Theresienstadt). As in any other Czech city, the best idea is to head for the tourist information and take advantage of their helpful service.
- www.litomerice.cz/ Official website of Litoměřice. Has an English version, too.
Do you have or do you know a good website about Litoměřice? Don't hesitate, let me know! After checking it, I would love to add it to the link list. You can submit a link by using the →contact form. Note that commercial websites will be treated differently.