- Name: 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.
Everything around the central square is worth to see. The historic centre is rather small, and so it's all accessible
on foot and worth an extensive walk.. Baroque buildings dominate the city, but parts of the gothic outer city walls
can be seen as well.
||The Mírové nám. in the centre of town||
||Strolling around the back streets is fun!|
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.
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
||Tiny houses line up at Dlouhá|
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.
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.
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.
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.