České Budějovice (colloquially: Budějce; Budweis or Böhmisch Budweis, often referred to simply as Budweis in English; Czeskie Budziejowice) is a city in the Czech Republic. It is the largest city in the South Bohemian Region and is the political and commercial capital of the region and centre of catholic Diocese of České Budějovice. The town is not to be confused with Moravské Budějovice in Moravia.
The city was a German-speaking enclave until 1890. During the industrialization of the city, Czechs became the ethnic majority. Until the mass expulsion of 1945 resulting from World War II, the city had a significant German minority (about 15.5 % in 1930).
České Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time the town was the royal brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (beer from Budweis) became, along with Pilsener, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry.
The largest brewery, founded in 1895, is Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser Budvar Brewery), which has legal rights to market its beer under the "Budweiser" brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names "Budvar" and "Czechvar" due to legal squabbles with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Czech original but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name "Budweiser", but the Czech government has refused all such offers, considering keeping the Budweiser name Czech to be a matter of national pride.
The oldest (since 1795) and second largest brewery was under the communists renamed to Pivovar Samson, dropping its German-sounding names. It also did a fair amount of export, mostly under the "Samson" and "Crystal" labels. Recently, they reacquired naming rights relating to Budweiser for Europe while offering "B. B. Bürgerbräu" in the US since last year.
The old town preserves interesting architecture from Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and 19th century period. This includes buildings around the large town square, the old town hall with murals and bronze gargoyles, and the town tower "Černá věž" ("Black Tower"). In the new town the Belle Epoque Austro-Hungarian train station is notable. The most valuable historical building in České Budějovice is Dominican convent with Gothic church Presentation of Virgin Mary on Piaristic square. The horse-drawn railroad line connecting České Budějovice to Linz was the oldest public line in continental Europe(after the line St.Etienne-Andrexieux in France), constructed from 1824 to 1832; mere traces of the line can be seen south of the city center.
The ruins of the home castle of the Czech national hero Jan Žižka, Trocnov, are located some ten kilometres southeast from the town. A bit further away (cca 30km), the enchanting town of Český Krumlov is another compulsory stop for the visitor of South Bohemia. It was added in 1992 to UNESCO's World Heritage list.
Local bus and trolley bus routes take passengers to most areas of the city. The city itself can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by train. Internationally, a direct railroad line connecting Prague to Venice, Italy also makes a stop in Ceske Budejovice.
It was the birthplace of: