Hradec Králové

Hradec Králové

Hradec Králové, metropolis of the Hradec Králové Region, lies in its southern part at an altitude of 235 metres. It covers an area of 4,758 square kilometres and almost 96,000 inhabitants live here. The adventageous location on the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Orlice predetermined its importace already long time ago. In 1225 Hradec was mentioned for the first time as a royal town. By decree of King Wenceslas II Hradec became a dowry town of the Czech queens. Eliška Rejčka and Eliška Pomořanská lived here.

In the 14th century Hradec was the most important Czech town after Prague. The Hussite Wars did not seriously affect the town, its prosperity continued also in the 15th century. The Thirty Years’ War however brought a forced counter-Reformation to Hradec and also Sweedish occupation, all of this damaged the city very much. The 18th century was also accompanied by fires and wars – and controversial plans of Joseph II to transform Hradec into a fortress town. In 1856 Hradec Králové became an independent town and its modern history started.

Let us return for the moment to the monuments of Hradec: the historical centre of the town is formed by the Big Square with the examples of three architectural styles. The Gothic Holy Spirit’s Cathedral comes from the 14th century. Eliška Rejčka, a widow after King Wenceslas II and Rudolph I the Habsburg, takes credit for the building of this cathedral. The Renaissance White Tower from 1574 is 72 metres high and offers a beautiful view over the surroundings. In the tower there is a bell called Augustin which is the second biggest bell in Bohemia. The Renaissance town hall was later rebuilt in a Baroque style. The Baroque period in Hradec is represented by an early Baroque Jesuit the Assumption of Our Lady’s Church from the middle of the 17th century, the work of builder Carlo Lurago. The former Jesuit college is also built in a Baroque style. The native of Hradec Králové Bohuslav Balbín was a teacher at the former Jesuit grammar school. In 1664 the bishopric was founded in Hradec and at the beginning of the 18th century the bishop’s residence was built here. The 19th century brought a development of railway and beginnings of industry. A production of pianos by the Petrof company made Hradec Králové world famous.

At the beginning of the 20th century a new stage of modern development of a town began. The mayor František Ulrich called architects Jan Kotěra and Josef Gočár to Hradec. They designed as the first ones in the country a general urban solution of the town. Kotěra built the Municipal Museum in the Art Nouveau style. Now, it is a National cultural monument. His pupil Gočár continued in a modern construction of Hradec Králové. He enriched the city by functionalist buildings. Today’s Hradec Králové is a modern prosperous town and was declared a Historic Town Reserve thanks to its numerous monuments.

The congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) in Hradec Králové was founded on the 14th of June 1920. Preaching stations of the Augsburg as well as the Helvetian confession of the congregation in Černilov had already been there before. The Luther’s Institute (later Hus House) on Kavčí plácek built in 1883 was owned by the Augsburg congregation and it was a home for the Protestant students. After 1948 the church lost the building, in the 1990s they got it back during the restitution and for a few years it was a seat of the Biblical Missionary School. The members of the Reformed preaching station in Hradec Králové decided to build a church according to architect Oldřich Liska’s plan.

On the 7th of July 1912 the Art Nouveau church with an asymmetrical placed tower was solemnly inaugurated. There is a big room for prayer with Art Nouveau decorative elements and another rooms for daily activities of the congregation. In 1942 the congregation purchased a new organ. A flat for the preacher is also a part of the building. The entire building except for minor repairs and modifications of the interior has been serving the congregation since the time of its origin up to the present. A garden with nice grown up trees surrounds the church. The whole complex is a protected site.