Pilsen is the regional capital of Pilsener Region (western Bohemia). With its nearly 170 thousand inhabitants, it is the biggest community in the west of the Czech Republic.
The history of Plzen starts in 10th century, when it became a stronghold of Czech kings in their fight against the Germanic invaders. The town quickly became the third most important community in Czech lands due to its strategic position on a crossroads of different trade routes. Today´s Plzen is a brewing city producing Pilsener Urquell beer (the first filtered beer in the world). The local brewery, Plzensky prazdroj, belongs among the biggest in the Czech Republic. Plzen also houses a huge steel works called Skoda, producing transport vehicles (trains, trams etc) and large industrial parts (turbines etc), which makes it one of the few producers of such parts on the world scale. Plzen also offers magnificent architecture, e.g. the Gothic St Bartholomew Cathedral (Katedrala sv. Bartolomeje). We recommend to allow several hours, ideally 3 to 6 hours, to visit Plzen, i.e. its main square (with the cathedral), the Pilsner Urquell brewery, the Jewish quarter with the magnificent Big Synagogue (Velka synagoga - the new synagogue), the Old Synagogue, Jewish cemetery, and the Holocaust Memorial, alternatively you can visit the local ZOO etc.