Hradec Králové

"Königgrätz" redirects here. For the battle fought near the town in 1866, see Battle of Königgrätz.
Hradec Králové
Market square
Coat of arms
Nickname: The Salon of the Republic
Country Czech Republic
Region Hradec Králové
District Hradec Králové
Rivers Elbe, Orlice
Elevation 235 m (771 ft)
Coordinates CZ 50°12′34″N 15°50′00″E / 50.20944°N 15.83333°E / 50.20944; 15.83333Coordinates: CZ 50°12′34″N 15°50′00″E / 50.20944°N 15.83333°E / 50.20944; 15.83333
Area 105.61 km2 (40.78 sq mi)
Population 92,808 (As of 2015)
Founded 1225
Mayor Zdeněk Fink
Postal code 500 00
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Hradec Králové
River running through the city
Petrof Piano Makers
White tower detail

Hradec Králové (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɦradɛt͡s ˈkraːlovɛː]; German: Königgrätz) is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Hradec Králové Region of Bohemia. The city's economy is based on food-processing technology, photochemical, electronics manufacture and IT. Traditional industries include musical instrument manufacturing – the best known being PETROF pianos. The University of Hradec Králové is located in the city, the University of Defense has its only medical faculty in Hradec Kralove and Charles University in Prague also has its Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove[1] and Faculty of Pharmacy [2] there.


The city lies at the confluence of the Elbe and the Orlice river close to Krkonoše (Giant Mountains), the highest Czech mountains, with its peak, Sněžka (Snowhill), of 1602m.


The original name of one of the oldest settlements in the Czech Republic was Hradec (the Castle); Králové (of the queen) was affixed when it became one of the dowry towns of Elisabeth Richeza of Poland (1286–1335), who lived there for thirty years having been the second wife of two Bohemian Kings, Wenceslaus II and then Rudolph I of Habsburg. In Latin, the Castle of the Queen was called Grecz Reginae, the original German Königingrätz was shortened to Königgrätz by 1800. It remained a dower town until 1620.

Hradec Králové was the first town to declare for the national cause during the Hussite Wars in the first half of the 15th century. After the Battle of White Mountain (1620) a large part of the Protestant population left the place. In 1639 the town was occupied for eight months by the Swedes. Several churches and convents were pulled down to make way for the fortifications erected under Joseph II. The Battle of Königgrätz, the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War took place, on 3 July 1866 near Hradec Králové. This event is commemorated in the famous Königgrätzer Marsch. This battle also showed the age of this kind of fortresses and it was finally destroyed in 1884.

The city is situated in the centre of a very fertile region called the Golden Road on the confluence of Elbe and Orlice and contains many buildings of historical and architectural interest. The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was founded in 1303 by Elizabeth, and the church of St. John, built in 1710, stands on the ruins of the old castle. During the 1920s and 1930s the city grew rapidly thanks to decisions made by the heads of the city to develop a modern city, which included razing the fortress and opening the town for expansion. During this era many buildings of modern architecture were built and Hradec Králové became known as the Salon of the Republic. This nickname was given to the city by its citizens who were enamoured by the architectures of Josef Gočár and Jan Kotěra.

In May 1945 the 31st SS Volunteer Grenadier Division surrendered near Hradec Králové, after which more than 4,000 German POWs were massacred by Czech partisans and Soviet troops.[3]


Hradec Králové Airport is a public domestic and private international airport located about 3 km (1.9 mi) from the city centre. There are currently no scheduled flights operating to the airport. It is sometimes visited by private jet traffic.



Every May, an Air Ambulance Show is held for both the general public and Air Ambulance personnel. Every June the Theatre of European regions, an international theatre festival, takes place.


Since 2004 the city hosts Hip Hop Kemp, one of the biggest European hip hop festivals in August.

Since 2007 the city hosts Rock for People, the biggest rock festival in the Czech Republic in July.

"Jazz goes to town", an international jazz festival, is held in Hradec Králové every October.

The city's museum currently holds one of the oldest surviving collections of Czech Renaissance polyphony, the Codex Speciálník manuscript.

The city is home to one of the Czech Republic's leading orchestras, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra.


The ice hockey club of Hradec Králové is Mountfield HK, which plays in the Czech Extraliga.

The most successful football club is FC Hradec Králové, which plays in the Czech First League.

The women's basketball team, Hradecké Lvice, plays in the national women basketball league.

Famous people

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Hradec Králové is twinned with:

There are two cooperating towns:

See also


  1. "Medical School".
  2. "Pharmacy School". Archived from the original on 12 September 2007.
  3. Pencz, R., For the Homeland!: The History of the 31st Waffen-SS Volunteer Grenadier Division (Solihull: Helion & Company, 2002), p. 201.
  4. "Gießen: Städtepartnerschaften" [Giessen: Twin towns] (in German). Stadt Gießen. Archived from the original on 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
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