Cheb, Karlovy Vary District, Czech Republic

History | Geography | Administrative parts | Economy | Transport | Education | Sport | Cheb Castle | Town square | Sacral monuments

🇨🇿 Cheb is a town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. It lies on the river Ohře, at the foot of the Fichtel Mountains near the border with Germany. Before the 1945 expulsion of the German-speaking population, the town was the centre of the German-speaking region known as Egerland, part of the Northern Austro-Bavarian dialect area. The town centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument reservation.


History The earliest settlement in the area was a Slavic gord at what is now known as the Cheb Castle complex, north of the town centre. In 807 the district of today's Cheb was included in the new margraviate of East Franconia, which belonged at first to the Babenbergs, but from 906 to the margraves (marquis) of Vohburg.

The first written mention of Cheb is from 1061. Děpolt II founded the castle on the site of the gord around 1125. In 1149, Cheb was described as a fortified marketplace. Emperor Frederick Barbarossa acquired Cheb in 1167. In 1203, it was first referred to as a town. It became the centre of a historical region called Egerland.

From 1266 to 1276, the town was property of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. The historic town centre was established after the fire in 1270. King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia held the town in 1291–1304, then Albert I of Germany acquired the region. It wasn't until 1322 that Cheb became a permanent part of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, when King John of Bohemia acquired it from Emperor Louis IV. The later local history was marked by continued resistance against incorporation into Bohemia.

On 5 May 1389, during a Reichstag between King Wenceslaus IV and a group of Imperial Free Cities of south-west Germany, the Treaty of Eger was agreed upon, after Wenceslaus had failed to secure his interests in the town. In the 15th century, Cheb was one of the largest and wealthiest towns of Kingdom of Bohemia with 7,300 inhabitants.

The town suffered severely during the Hussite Wars, during the Swedish invasion in the Thirty Years' War in 1631 and 1647, and in the War of the Austrian Succession in 1742. In 1634, during the Thirty Years' War, Albrecht von Wallenstein was killed here. In 1723, Cheb became a free royal town. The northern part of the old town was devastated by a large fire in 1809, and many middle-age buildings were irreplaceably destroyed.

In 1757, the town's financial self-government was abolished for the sake of Austrian centralization. In 1848, the citizen's council demanded separation from Bohemia and reconstitution of its Landtag.

The terms of the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye triggered civil unrest between the Sudeten German population and the new First Czechoslovak Republic, just as in the rest of the Sudetenland. In the interwar period, many ethnic Czechs came to the town with the boom of industry. During the Sudeten Crisis, the town was occupied by the Nazi German-sponsored Sudetendeutsches Freikorps paramilitary group. On 3 October 1938, the town was visited by Adolf Hitler; shortly afterward Wehrmacht troops marched into the Sudetenland and seized control. From 1938 until 1945, the town was annexed to Germany and was administered as part of Reichsgau Sudetenland.

Cheb was liberated by the 97th Infantry Division of the United States Army on 25 April 1945. After the end of World War II the region was returned to Czechoslovakia. Under the Beneš decrees of the same year, the German-speaking majority of the town was dispossessed of their homes and property, and was expelled from the country.


Geography Cheb is located about 38 km (24 mi) south-west of Karlovy Vary on the border with Germany. The town lies on the river Ohře. The northern and western parts of the municipal territory lie in the Fichtel Mountains; the rest of the territory lies in the Cheb Basin, named after the town. The highest point is the hill Zelená hora at 637 m (2,090 ft) above sea level.

There are two large reservoirs in the municipal territory: Skalka (northeast of the town and supplied by the Ohře) and Jesenice (southeast of the town and supplied by the Wondreb). There are also several small ponds, especially in the southern part of the territory.


Administrative parts Cheb is formed by 19 town parts and villages: • Bříza • Cetnov • Cheb • Chvoječná • Dolní Dvory • Dřenice • Háje • Horní Dvory • Hradiště • Hrozňatov • Jindřichov • Klest • Loužek • Pelhřimov • Podhoří • Podhrad • Skalka • Střížov • Tršnice.


Economy After the Velvet Revolution many goods were cheaper in Cheb than in nearby Germany, and it became common for Germans to shop and spend time in Cheb. Because of this the town developed bilingual signage and currency exchange points.

The pillars of Cheb's economy are mainly services and tourism, and there are no large companies here. The largest employer is the Town of Cheb. Only four industrial enterprises with 200–250 employees are based in Cheb: BWI Czech Republic (manufacturer of automobile parts), Nexans Power Accessories Czech Republic (manufacturer of components for conductors), Playmobil CZ (toys manufacturer), and Tritia (bakery).

Many entrepreneurs and small traders come from the large Vietnamese community. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Vietnamese community gradually established seven markets here, and even customers from Germany came to Cheb for cheap goods. Today, three Vietnamese markets operate here.


Transport The D6 motorway from Prague to Karlovy Vary and Cheb (part of the European routes E48 and E49) forks in Cheb and continues to the Czech-German border to the west (as E48) and to the north (as E49).

Cheb is an important railway junction. The town lies on the railway line of national importance from Františkovy Lázně to Plzeň, Prague, Olomouc and Ostrava. Other railway lines that pass through the town are Prague–Chomutov–Cheb, Nuremberg–Cheb, Hof–Marktredwitz, Zwickau–Cheb and Cheb–Luby. In addition to the main railway station, the town is also served by the Cheb-Skalka station.

Cheb Airport is located 3 km (2 mi) east of the town centre. It is the second-oldest airport in the country and the oldest still existing.


Education Cheb is known for its Cheb Violin Making School.

Two faculties of the University of West Bohemia, pedagogical and economic, have a detached workplace in Cheb and open study programs there.


Sport The town is represented by the football club FK Hvězda Cheb. It plays in the 4th tier of the Czech football system. Its predecessor was the club FC Union Cheb, which played in the Czechoslovak and Czech First League from 1979 to 1996, but then was abolished due to financial reasons.


Cheb Castle On the rock in the north-west of the historic town centre lies Cheb Castle. It was founded around 1125 and was rebuilt into a Kaiserpfalz at the end of the 12th century. It is the only example of a Kaiserpfalz in the Czech Republic. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle was partially rebuilt into a Baroque fortress citadel. Although the castle is mostly a ruin, the torso of the palace, the defensive Black Tower and the Chapel of Saints Martin Erhard and Ursula.

The Chapel of Saints Martin, Erhard and Ursula is a unique Romanesque-Gothic double chapel. It is the best preserved example of the Hohenstaufen architecture in Central Europe. The chapel has two storeys; the lower storey is in Romanesque style, while the upper storey is Gothic. On the first floor, there are original capitals of marble columns, decorated with figurative scenes of angels with Bibles as well as lewd scenes.


Town square In the centre of the historic town centre is the Krále Jiřího z Poděbrad Square. One of the symbols of the Cheb architecture is a group of houses known as Špalíček. It is located in the middle of the town square and dates from the 13th century. The bizzare complex of eleven houses consists of narrow, four and five-storey houses without a courtyard, divided by a 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) wide alley. The are mostly in the late Gothic style. The outline of the two blocks can still be seen on the oldest existing records of 1472.

The most valuable burgher house on the town square is the Schirdinger House. It is a Gothic house, built at the beginning of the 13th century and restored after the fire in the 15th century. The Renaissance reconstruction took place in 1622–1626. Today it houses a gallery and a café.

Among the other valuable houses on the town square is the Town House, also known as Pachelbel's House or Juncker House. The house was first mentioned already in the 14th century. On 24 February 1634, Albrecht von Wallenstein was murdered here. Since 1873, the house serves as the town museum. The museum was later expanded to the neighbouring house.

The Grüner House on the town square is a Gothic-Baroque house. It belonged to the well-known Wrendl family from 1591 until 1876, whose family coat of arms is above the entrance. When the house was owned by magistrate councillor Grüner in the first half of the 19th century, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe frequently spent time here.


Sacral monuments The Church of Saints Nicholas and Elisabeth is the main church of the town and the oldest late Gothic building. It was established as a three-naved Romanesque basilica in the 1220s, of which the western portal and the lower part of the tower remain in place. After the fire in 1270, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style, another reconstruction took place in the 1470s. After the fire of 1742, the tower was rebuilt with a Baroque cupola, according to the design of the indigenous architect Balthasar Neumann. The top of the twin steeples were destroyed by bombardment at the end of World War II and restored in summer 2008. The church tower is open to the public as a lookout lower.

The Franciscan monastery with the Church of the Annunciation was founded in 1256 and rebuilt after the fire in 1270. The church is one of the oldest Gothic hall churches in the country. Today the former monastery is owned by the town and is used as the venue of occasional concerts. The monastery also includes publicly accessible monastery garden.

The monastery of the order of Poor Clares with the Church of Saint Clare was founded at the end of the 13th century next to the Franciscan monastery. In 1707–1709, it was demolished and built again according to the design of Christoph Dientzenhofer. The monastery was abolished in 1782 and the buildings served various purposes.

The Dominican monastery with the Church of Saint Wenceslaus was built in 1294–1296. The monastery was badly damaged and the church destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. The new Baroque church was built in 1674–1688. The monastery was dissolved in 1950. The church is still in use, the convent now serves cultural purposes.

The early Baroque pilgrimage complex Maria Loreto was founded in the village of Starý Hrozňatov (today just Hrozňatov). It was founded next to the Church of the Holy Spirit, which dates from 1557. It belongs to the most visited pilgrimage sites in the country. The complex was built in 1664 and extended in 1675–1683. The Stations of the Cross that leads to Maria Loreto was originally composed of twenty-nine stations.

Prague Time 
Prague Time
Image: Adobe Stock Kennymax #172888637

Cheb has a population of over 32,000 people. Cheb also forms the centre of the wider Cheb District which has a population of over 91,540 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Cheb see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Cheb has links with:

🇻🇳 Bắc Ninh, Vietnam 🇩🇪 Hof, Germany 🇷🇺 Nizhny Tagil, Russia
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Cheb is: -167.633,-50.067

Locations Near: Cheb 12.3667,50.0667

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🇩🇪 Zwickau 12.498,50.715 d: 72.6  

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Antipodal to: Cheb -167.633,-50.067

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