Příbram (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpr̝̊iːbram]; German: Freiberg in Böhmen, Przibram, or Pribram, in 1939–1945 Pibrans) is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 32,000 inhabitants. It is well known for its mining history, and more recently, its new venture into economic restructuring.
|• Mayor||Jan Konvalinka (ANO)|
|• Total||36.10 km2 (13.94 sq mi)|
|Elevation||502 m (1,647 ft)|
|• Density||880/km2 (2,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
The town is the third-largest in the Central Bohemian Region (behind Kladno and Mladá Boleslav), and is a natural administrative and cultural centre of the south-western part of the region, although it also tends to be largely influenced by the proximity of Prague.
Příbram is made up of 18 town parts and villages:
- Příbram I
- Příbram II
- Příbram III
- Příbram IV
- Příbram V-Zdaboř
- Příbram VI-Březové Hory
- Příbram VII
- Příbram VIII
- Příbram IX
Bytíz forms an exclave of the municipal territory.
The name is derived from the personal name Heinricus Pribrami and originally meant "Pribrami's (court)".
Příbram is located about 46 kilometres (29 mi) southwest of Prague. It lies in the Brdy Highlands. The highest point of the municipal territory is the hill Vojna at 667 m (2,188 ft) above sea level. A dominant feature of the town centre is the hill Svatá hora with at 590 m (1,940 ft).
The town is situated mostly on the right bank of the Litavka River. The Příbramský stream flows through the town and feeds a set of ponds in the town centre.
The first written mention of Příbram is from 1216, when the nobleman Hroznata of Teplá sold Příbram to Ondřej, bishop of Prague. Soon the settlement became a market town with a church. Příbram was devastated during the disturbances in the second half of the 13th century. The Bishopric of Prague invited new settlers to the market town and a period of prosperity began.
The castle in Příbram was built by order of Archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice. New villages were founded in the vicinity of Příbram, and were administered from the castle. In the 15th century, the majority of the population was Czech, but there were also Germans who came to the area around the market town to mine silver. During the Hussite Wars (1419–1434), Příbram stood on the reformation side. After the war, it ceased to be church property and was acquired by the king, who pledged it to his creditors. However, the temporary administrators were not interested in the development of the market town, which meant a gradual decline. In 1497, Příbram was promoted to a town by Vladislaus II.
At the beginning of the 16th century, silver mining began to develop and the mining settlement Březové Hory was established. In the mid-16th century, the mining declined. This lasted until 1579, when Rudolf II promoted Příbram to the royal mining town. Since then, the town of Příbram prospered, but the settlement of Březová Hora remained insignificant.
The Thirty Years' War had a large impact on Příbram, lowering the population and causing violent recatholicization that was supported by the growing importance of Svatá Hora, nearby the pilgrimage site. The town did not recover until the end of the 17th century, when iron ore mining developed.
Silver mining continued but was not very profitable, so Příbram gave up the majority of its mining profit share over in favor of central government in Vienna. This turned out to be a mistake, as in the 18th century Příbram became the site of the most profitable silver mining in the entire Habsburg monarchy. The town became the seat of the central mining institutions and, in the mid-19th century, also the mining academy. Peak prosperity lasted until the 1880s, after which it stagnated until the end of the 19th century. In 1897, Březové Hory was promoted to a royal mining town. The importance of Příbram mines declined after 1900, but the town's reputation as the educational and cultural centre remained high.
Region with strong partisan resistance was around Příbram during World War II. Several prominent citizens participated in the resistance, and many were killed by Nazi occupiers. Student Antonín Stočes, his father, and Příbram's gymnasium director Josef Lukeš were executed in Tábor in 1942 following the assassination of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. Their story was idealized in Jan Drda's fiction Higher Principle.
In 1953, the towns of Příbram and Březové Hory were merged.
The last epoch of Příbram mining occurred since the 1950s, when the district was opened again for uranite mining and several mines around the town were opened. The industry was included into a program of penal labour that Communist Czechoslovak government used for persecution of regime objectors. Labor camps Příbram-Vojna and Příbram-Brody were run there in 1949–1951, holding up to 800 detainees. In 1976 and in 1980, many surrounding municipalities were annexed to Příbram, increasing the total population to more than 35,000 citizens.
Located near to the Brdy military area, Příbram was an important locality during the 1968 Occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact forces. The army command in Příbram was labeled a "focus of contrarevolution" in the Czechoslovak Army, as it did not cooperate the occupation forces and harbored the Czechoslovak Television during its independent broadcasting. The rioting of Příbram-Bytíz crime prisoners and the strike of Příbram miners were the other major events related to the August 1968 invasion.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution influenced Příbram significantly. Large mining enterprises, old silver and lead mines as well as modern uranium ore mines, were closed, but new opportunities opened up for the town and the economy diversified.
Příbram's economy was determined by the mining industry and supplying companies for hundreds of years. At the end of the 1980s, when the mining was slowly derogating, the basic Příbram corporations included Český státní uranový průmysl ("Czech State Uranium Industry"), Rudné doly ("Ore Mines") and suppliers such as ZRUP – Základna rozvoje uranového průmyslu ("Base of Uranium Industry Development") and others.
After 1989, the economy restructured because of the closure of mines and privatization. The nationwide important branch office of state enterprise Diamo is the successor of the Uranium Mines; the office is named Administration of Uranium Deposits (Správa uranových ložisek). Several of the supplying companies continue their activities under new owners.
The largest employer based in the town is the hospital. There is no large industrial enterprise in Příbram today, but many medium-sized enterprises are located here. The largest industrial employer is Ravak, the biggest producer of baths and shower-baths in central and eastern Europe.
The District Economic Chamber Příbram was founded in 1993.
Intratown transport is run by Arriva Střední Čechy, s.r.o. company. The bus terminal is located next to the railway station, the busiest hub for town buses is, however, located in the Jiráskovy sady near the Pražská street.
Due to the notable levels of education and cultural interactions in the town, Příbram was nicknamed Brdy Athens at the end of the 19th century. The town's culture was then largely influenced by the mining industry, which went on until the late 20th century. Mining life was described by poets and writers Fráňa Kučera, Quido Maria Vyskočil and František Gellner, who lived or studied in Příbram. Many books by Příbram's most famous writer, Jan Drda, were inspired by Příbram and he used the names of the town's neighbouring villages in his tales. Some of the stories in his Němá barikáda ("Silent Barricade") have their origin in Příbram (especially Higher Principle).
The town library was opened in 1900.
The Antonín Dvořák Theatre in Příbram has a long history thanks to a long tradition of theatricals. During the struggle to build the permanent theatre stage, the plays had to be performed in different halls for a long time, especially in the Sokolovna, the hall of Příbram Sokol. In 1959 the House of Culture was built, which hosts the Příbram theatre. The theatre is a permanent scene with a professional ensemble, its repertory is enriched by regular on-tour performances by Prague's and other cities ensembles. The reputation of the Příbram ensemble is derived not only from departure of several actors to bigger ensembles, but also from the nationwide successful spectacle of Hrdý Budžes ("Proud Budžes"), a comedy play after book of Příbram born Irena Dousková.
Musical life of Příbram is connected to the name of Antonín Dvořák, who had his summerhouse in near Vysoká u Příbramě and often visited Příbram. In 1969, the Antonín Dvořák Music Festival was founded in Příbram, which has been organized annually until now, bringing domestic as well as foreign musicians and ensembles to the town and its neighbourhood. Příbram has its own amateur philharmonic orchestra, the Příbram Big Band still helds its concerts, miners' bands perform during annual miners‘festivals, the newest form of musical performances was brought to Příbram with the Ensemble of Svatá Hora Horn-Blowers.
The most important form of the town's musical activities was the choir singing. Starting with the Lumír-Dobromila association, founded and directed by composer, choirmaster and choral director Bohumil Fidler for fifteen years, and continuing as the Příbram Mixed Choir, the ensemble made a great impact on several generations of Příbram citizens. The most important choir leaders were Antonín Vepřek and his son, Vladimír. In 1939, Antonín Vepřek founded Příbram Children Choir, which is one of the oldest children choruses in the Czech Republic. Several children choruses are organized in Příbram elementary and art schools, where the town hosts annual international show of children choruses.
Miners in Příbram used to earn more money by handicrafts (embroidery, woodcarving, painting etc.), often on good artistic level. The Christmas cribs-making lives until today, the museum collects also several mechanical models of mine. Of the professional artists, painter and graphic artist Karel Hojden, pupil of Max Švabinský was the most important. The František Drtikol Gallery seats in Zámeček-Ernestinum and offers permanent exhibition of František Drtikol.
With the removal of the Mining University, Příbram lost the status of university town. In the 1990s, the town authorities aspired for the status again. In 2005 the College of European and Regional Studies (Czech: Vysoká škola evropských a regionálních studií, VŠERS) with seat in České Budějovice opened its affiliate in Příbram, with 30 students in the courses.
High schools offer in Příbram includes two gymnasiums, technical school, business academy, medical school and training college. Gymnasium Příbram was founded 1871 and serves as a general educational propaedeutics institutions for applicants for university studies. The Pod Svatou Horou gymnasium was founded in the 1990s. The technical school was derived from the preliminary courses of the Mining University, so called Mining School, founded already in 1851. In 2006 the school had 564 students.
Seven elementary schools are in Příbram, six of them with traditional educational program (the number was reduced by two in the 1990s). The remaining one, found in 1991, stands on the Waldorf education program and it has also opened its own high school.
The town has 13 kindergartens and runs also two musical and art schools.
Mining University in Příbram (1894–1945)Edit
Mining education in Příbram dates from the beginning of the 19th century. The School of Mines was founded in 1851 and it was changed to Mining Academy in 1865. It was then the only mining educational institution in the Czech lands. The academy struggled in the shadow of Leoben academy, which repeatedly obtained its privileges in advance.
Important professors and lecturers of this era include:
- Geologist František Pošepný: one of the most important educators in the 19th century and of all the school's history;
- Mine surveyor (German: Markscheider) Gustav Ziegelheim: Professor for mining, ore processing and mine surveying as of 1882, Director of the School of Mines in 1883–1885 and in 1889–1895.
In 1894, the academy received its university status decree and A. Hoffmann was elected the first chancellor of the university in 1898.
At the beginning of the 20th century the national conflicts lead to attempts to move Leoben academy to Vienna, while the Příbram school should have been dissolved. Long proceedings and the fact, that three quarters of the mining production of the Austria-Hungary was provided by the mines in the Czech lands, resulted in keeping both mining schools (Leoben and Příbram) alive. In 1904 both Leoben and Příbram institutions were renamed Mining Academy (Czech: Vysoká škola báňská) with Josef Theurer as the first chancellor.
The university started with 11 departments, but the number grew to 18 in 1924. The university had the right to name doctors of mining sciences (dr. mont.). The highest number of students was almost 500 in 1921, but in the late 1930s the number fell to 120.
The position of the institution changed basically after arousal of Czechoslovakia in 1918, one year later the Czech language became the official language of the university. Many attempts to move it out of Příbram recurred, several of them initiated from the university itself, but they were refused.
World War II and the closure of Czech universities interrupted the work of the institution, which was resumed in 1945. The university was however moved to Ostrava within few months to bring the education closer to the booming mining industry in the Ostrava region. The last mining university students left Příbram in 1946 summer.
Příbram is the home of football club of FK Viagem Příbram, successor of past Dukla Prague. The top division games have been played at the Na Litavce Stadium since 1997. The other Příbram's football club Spartak (also called Horymír) plays regional competition.
Příbram's volleyball club Vavex Příbram, found in 1935, has been a member of the Czech top division since 1998.
The ice hockey club entered regional league in 2006. The town is regular host of a town run, several road cycling races including the Grand Prix of Příbram. The Rallye Příbram (former Rallye Vltava) used to be part of the European Championships, now is the integrant part of the national championships. The movement of the little football plays a major role in the sport for all in the town and region organizing regular long-term competitions twice a year for almost 50 teams.
Besides the Na Litavce Stadium, the sport facilities in Příbram include two indoor ice rinks (main arena for approx. 5,000 spectators opened in 1978), indoor sports arena (opened 1978, capacity enlarged in reconstruction in 2005), modern open-air and indoor swimming pool and several playgrounds and tennis centers. Many of the Příbram's elementary schools have their sport-oriented classes and they have sports facilities like the high schools in the town.
The landmark of Příbram and the most valuable monument is Svatá Hora (literally "Holy Mountain"). It is the oldest and most important Marian pilgrimage site in Bohemia, protected as a national cultural monument. It consists of a Baroque monastery complex, cloisters and chapels. The cult of the statue of Saint Mary of Svatá Hora began in the 14th century, when, according to legend, it was carved by Bishop Arnošt of Pardubice himself. In 1647, a chapel on the hill Svatá hora was acquired by the Jesuits, who had rebuilt it to a magnificent temple in 1658–1675. This Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary of Svatá Hora was built according to the design of the architects Carlo Lurago and Benjamin Schleyer, and decorated by Jan Brokoff, Petr Brandl and other famous artists. Next to the basilica is a Baroque residence. The complex is connected to the town by a 450 m (1,480 ft) long staircase from 1685, which was roofed in 1727–1728, and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer also participated in the final form.
The landmark of the town centre is the Church of Saint James the Great. It is originally a Gothic building the first half of the 13th century, and is the oldest monument in Příbram. It was rebuilt several times, most notably in the Baroque style in the 18th century. The current form of the church dates from 1869, when the tower acquired four side Neo-Gothic turrets. The most valuable interior decoration includes two wood carvings by Ignác František Platzer and a tin baptismal font from 1511.
Zámeček-Ernestinum is one of the most important historical buildings in Příbram. It was originally a wooden fort, rebuilt into a small stone castle in the mid-14th century, which served as the archbishop's residence. The building was damaged in the Hussite Wars and in the Thirty Years' War, and many inappropriate construction modifications were made. Therefore, only the Gothic bay window of the chapel with a ribbed vault and a few other elements have survived to this day. Today it serves cultural and social purposes. It houses the Gallery of František Drtikol, Museum of the Anti-communist Resistance, and offices.
The Town Hall is a Neo-Renaissance building from 1889–1891, designed by architect Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann. The second notable building designed by Ullmann is the Neo-Renaissance dormitory from 1892.
Březové Hory and surroundingsEdit
The Mining Museum Příbram was founded in 1886. It is the biggest mining museum in the Czech Republic. It contains five objects of historical mines with old headstock, miner's house, drift with a mining train, exhibition of mining history, geological collection and others. the museum also operates several other exhibitions around the town.
The Church of Saint Adalbert is the landmark of the main square in Březové Hory. It was built mostly in the Neo-Renaissance style, but it also has Neo-Baroque and Neo-Romanesque elements. It dates from 1889.
The Church of Saint Procopius was originally a chapel from 1732, which replaced a wooden bell tower from the 16th century. In 1879, most the chapel was demolished and replaced by the current pseudo-Romanesque church.
The youngest ecclesiastical building is the temple of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church in memory of Master Jacob of Mies. It dates from 1936. It has a 30 m (98 ft) high tower, which also serves as an observation tower open to the public.
The House of Culture was designed by Václav Hilský and was built in the modern Neoclassical style in 1957–1959. The building is protected as a cultural monument. It also houses the Antonín Dvořák Theatre.
- Bohuslav Balbín (1621–1688), writer and poet; lived here
- František Pošepný (1836–1895), geologist, director of the School of Mines in Příbram
- Bohumil Fidler (1860–1944), composer, choirmaster and choir director
- Jiří Baborovský (1875–1946), chemist
- František Gellner (1881–1914), Jewish poet
- František Drtikol (1883–1961), photographer
- Hermína Týrlová (1900–1993), animator and film director
- Adina Mandlová (1910–1991), actress
- Jan Drda (1915–1970), writer
- Richard Tesařík (1915–1967), general and war hero
- Josef Doležal (1920–1999), athlete
- Ivan Fuksa (born 1963), politician
- Martin Švejnoha (born 1977), footballer
- Patrik Štefan (born 1980), ice hockey player
- Tomáš Zápotočný (born 1980), footballer
- František Rajtoral (1986–2017), footballer
- Tomáš Pilík (born 1988), footballer
- Antonín Barák (born 1994), footballer
- Aleš Matějů (born 1996), footballer
- Václav Černý (born 1997), footballer
The town was the impact site of the Přibram meteorite in 1959. This was the first meteorite whose trajectory was tracked by multiple cameras recording the associated fireball. Several fragments of it were found close to Příbram at the nearby village of Luhy.
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
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