beer Czech Republic

Pilsen Czechia photoessay

a stone arch with a statue on top

Pilsen, Czechia is the birthplace of lager beer mass production. Besides Pilsner Urquell Brewery, the 4th largest city in the Czech Republic also holds the tallest cathedral in the country, the second largest synagogue in Europe, a brewing museum, and Patton Memorial Museum, covering the liberation of Pilsen by American troops during the last week of World War II before the German surrender in Europe in May 1945.

Plzen architecture-1

Kelley remarked on the colors and light on buildings in Plzen and Prague. Her only trip to Prague was in 2007. I have visited the Czech Republic five times since 2000. Pilsen is only the fourth city I have visited after Decin, Prague and Brno.

Plzen church tower

The church spire of Cathedral of St. Bartholomew is 102.3 meters (335 ft), the tallest church tower in Czech Republic.

Plzen Namesti Republikcy

St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral is on the north side of Namesti Republiky – Republic Square.

Plzen Town hall 

Pilsen Town Hall (1558) on Namasti Republiky, Plzen was designed by Italian architect Giovanni de Statia.

Plzen Radnice

The Great Synagogue in Pilsen is the second largest synagogue in Europe (Budapest is larger) and third largest in world (Jerusalem has largest).

Pilsen Great Synagogue

My first thought was ‘How did this synagogue survive through six years of Nazi occupation?’

The Nazis used the large interior space for war materials storage.

Plzen Great Synagogue doorway

The Jewish population was around 3,000 in 1939. Today there are fewer than 100 Jews remaining in Plzen. The Great Synagogue is now sometimes used for concerts.

Pilsen Greenbelt

There is a greenbelt in Pilsen creating a large perimeter around three sides of the Old Town.

Pilsen greenbelt

This was a place we gravitated to in the hot days of July when the afternoon temperature hovered around 30-32 C or 90 F outside.

Pilsen Theatre

Pilsen Great Theatre

Past the Great Theatre and outside the green belt we walked to find the ‘Thank You America’ monument on Amerika street.

Liberation Munument

A monument was designed soon after World War II, however, the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union prevented a monument to the American liberators of Pilsen from being built until the 1990s.

Pilsen Liberation pillars

There were two pillars constructed for the monument to the American Armed Forces liberators of Pilsen, but they were removed in 2016 due to construction flaws and have not yet been replaced.

Plzen Patton Pylons

I came across this interesting NY Times article from 1990 stating children in Pilsen schools during the 60s and 70s were taught Pilsen was liberated by Soviet forces. Pilsen was the easternmost point in Czech Republic liberated by Americans.

Soviet WWII monument

Soviet World War II monument across the street from west Bohemian Museum, Pilsen.

Pilsen Patton Museum

Patton Memorial Museum is a small museum with detailed descriptions of the liberation of Pilsen by American Forces under the command of General Patton on May 6, 1945. The war in Europe officially ended on May 8 with the unconditional surrender by Germans. The museum was 60 CZK admission, about $2.65 USD.

Patton Museum WWII film

One of the most fascinating aspects of the museum for me was watching World War II film footage of the street to street fighting up to the final day of war in Europe. The Nazi commander signed the surrender of Pilsen papers, then shot himself.

Also, I learned General Patton had been a competitor in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912, where he came in 5th place for the inaugural Modern Pentathlon.

Pilsner Urquell Brewery

The beer world changed in 1842 when the city of Plzen hired a brewmaster from Bavaria to create a better standardized beer. The result was bottom-fermenting lager. Within 30 years most beer in Austrian-Hungarian empire had switched from ale to lager brewing.

Pilsener Urquell Brewery-1

Locally known as Prasdroj Plzensky, Pilsner Urquell is the brand name from 1892 meaning ‘original pilsner’.

Pilsenr Urquell 1892

Tours of the brewery in English cost 200 CZK (about $9 USD). The only available tickets during our stay were during the pivotal Tour de France final mountain stage days, so we ended up not taking a tour.

Pilsner Urquell-2

Instead, we spent a couple of hours touring the Pilsen Brewery Museum across the street from Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Old Town Plzen.

Pilsen beer museum

The Brewing Museum gives the history of Pilsen brewing. The rapid growth of lager brewing basically offered an investment opportunity for wealthy Plzen residents to grow the local brewing industries. Over time, the company behind Pilsner Urquell acquired all its competitor breweries between the 1890s and 1930s.

Pilsner Urquell itself was recently acquired by Japanese brewer Asahi.

Pilsner Urquell Beer Is Now Officially Japanese (April 1, 2017).


July 2017

San Francisco SFO – Copenhagen, Denmark – Stockholm, Sweden – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Prague, Czechia – Bratislava, Slovakia – London, England – San Francisco SFO (22 days-6 flights-20 hotel nights-6 bus trips)

My July in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Czechia and Slovakia July 5, 2017

SAS flying over San Francisco

Copenhagen, Denmark: Skt. Petri Copenhagen Choice Hotels Ascend Collection

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Loyalty Traveler Lost and Found in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre hotel review

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam design for social living

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam beer, bud and burger joints

Amsterdam and Prague Hotels: 2 stays earned 1 Free Friday Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam and Park Inn Prague

Prague, Czechia: Pickpocket stole my wallet on Prague Airport Bus

Prague, Czechia: Park Inn Prague hotel review

Prague, Czechia: Best Western Hotel Kinsky Garden Prague truly boutique

Prague, Czechia: Hotel review Clarion Prague City reward stay

Prague, Czechia: Vyšehrad, Prague far from the madding crowd

Pilsen, Czechia: Marriott Courtyard Pilsen CZ category 1 reward stay

Pilsen, Czechia: Pilsen Czechia photoessay

Brno, Czechia: Holiday Inn Brno, CZ PointBreaks stay

Brno, Czechia: Brno by beer

Brno, Czechia: Brno Bones in Europe’s Second Largest Ossuary

Czechia: Impressions after 9 days in Czech Republic

Bratislava, Slovakia: Review Radisson Blu Bratislava Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia: Walk to Bratislava Castle Slovakia photo essay

Bratislava, Slovakia: Bratislava Slovakia photo essay part 2

Bratislava, Slovakia: Category 1 Park Inn Danube Bratislava Slovakia opens Oct 1, 2017

Bratislava, Slovakia: Trip Report Regiojet Bus Bratislava to Brno Airport

London, UK: Buyer Beware National Express bus London Stansted to London Heathrow

London, UK: Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow hotel review

Hotel Loyalty: Loyalty? Yes! Loyal? Not so much for my hotel travel

Hotel Loyalty: My two Club Carlson Free Friday Nights posted today

Airline Loyalty: Aegean Silver elite and 17,000 miles to Star Alliance Gold


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