Roudnice nad Labem (Czech pronunciation: [ˈroudɲɪtsɛ ˈnad labɛm]; German: Raudnitz an der Elbe) is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. It has a population of about 13,000. It lies on the left bank of the Elbe river, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Prague. The town is situated near the site of Říp, the hill connected with the legend of Praotec Čech.
A steel road bridge dating from the early 20th century spans the Elbe in Roudnice nad Labem. Its medieval predecessor was the third oldest stone bridge in Bohemia (after Prague and Písek) and the first bridge to connect both banks of the river. Roudnice nad Labem features a castle of late Romanesque origin, now reconstructed in Baroque architectural style.
Roudnice nad Labem is one of the oldest Czech towns; the original name Rúdnik / Rúdnica comes from the red-colored water of a nearby spring. The first appearances of the town in written records are dated to 1167 and 1176, but the first signs of a settlement in the area are from the prehistoric ages.
Roudnice nad Labem received a statute of a town near the end of the 12th century. In the same period a Romanesque castle was built, becoming the second private building made of stone in Bohemia.
In 1333, bishop Jan IV ordered that a bridge be built over the Elbe. It was the first stone bridge over the Elbe and the third stone bridge in Bohemia. At the end of the 14th century, the New Town of Roudnice nad Labem (encompassing today's Jan of Dražice Square and Hus Square) was built and, along with the Old Town of Roudnice nad Labem, surrounded by walls.
In the 15th century, during the Hussite wars, the town was the target of several Hussite raids. The town was conquered by Jan Žižka in 1421, by Jan Roháč of Dubá in 1425, and by Václav Carda of Petrovice in 1428.
After the Hussite wars, the town was sold several times; finally becoming the property of Zdeněk Václav Popel of Lobkowicz in 1603. During his rule, the town was rebuilt and expanded. During the Thirty Years' War, the town of Roudnice nad Labem was burned down and demolished by the Swedish army in 1634 and 1639.
In the 19th century, Roudnice nad Labem became the industrial and economical centre of the Podřipský region, due to several new factories and the railway from Prague to Dresden. Until 1918, Roudnice – Raudnitz was part of the Austrian monarchy (after the compromise of 1867), in the district of the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia. A post office was opened in September 1850, named Raudnitz.The first football match in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in the Czech lands took place on the islet in the middle of the Labe River, located within the town limits, in 1887. In 1910, the old stone bridge was rebuilt into a new steel road bridge. The same island, which has been referred to most recently as Ostrov Claudie Stublera, is the subject of an award-winning poetry anthology entitled "Obcházení ostrova" written by local poet Milan Děžinský, who won the Magnesia Litera Moleskine Litera for Poetry award for his work. He also highlighted that the traditional name of the island is not truly known.
Castle in Roudnice nad Labem
Roudnice Castle was built in the 12th century by Bishop Bretislav III, the nephew of the Czech king Vladislaus II, to protected an important trade route from Prague to Upper Lusatia along the Elbe. The castle complex included several farm buildings, protected by a fortified wall; the castle itself had walls that were two meters thick, and watch towers in each corner. In the mid-14th century, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style and became a popular summer residence for Prague bishops. It is said that Jan Hus was ordained as a priest there.In 1421, the Catholic Church sold the castle to Jan Smiřický, who renovated it once again. King George of Poděbrady captured Roudnice from Smiřický in 1467. It passed into the ownership of William of Rosenberg, the Supreme Burgrave and one of the wealthiest men in Bohemia. After Rožumberk’s death, his widow Polyxena Pernštejn married Zdenek Vojtěch of Lobkowicz, Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom and later 1st Prince Lobkowicz, bringing Roudnice into the Lobkowicz family possessions. In 1652 their son Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz, embarked upon an ambitious project to transform the castle into an early baroque palace. From 1657 until the World War II the Lobkowicz Collection's library was stored in Roudnice Castle, leading to the library being named the Roudnice Lobkowicz Library.
Palace in Roudnice nad Labem
Václav Eusebius of Lobkowicz hired two Italian architects, Francesco Caratti and Antonio della Porta, to completely renovate Roudnice Castle. Between 1652 and 1684, they demolished most of the original structure, creating a 200-room baroque residence that included a clock tower, a chapel decorated with elaborate frescoes, a theater, and large formal gardens. For two and a half centuries Roudnice served as a repository for the Lobkowicz family's collections of artwork, religious objects, musical instruments, and books and manuscripts.
The palace was confiscated by the Communist government in 1948; the Czechoslovak People's Army used the building for the Vít Nejedlý military music school, as well as for administrative offices. After 1989, the palace was restored to the Lobkowicz family, who continued to rent the palace to the school until it closed in 2008. In 2009 the palace underwent major renovations, and it was opened to the public in 2012.
The town has a swimming pool, an ice hockey arena, and football and athletic stadiums. Roudnice airport is located near the southwestern edge of the town and hosts the Memorial Air Show every other year.
Karel Jeřábek Primary school
Primary school Jungmannova
Primary school Školní
High schools (Secondary schools)
Podřipská private vocational school and training center
Grammar school (Gymnasium)
Vocational school and training center
College and vocational school
Commercial Academy and vocational school EKONOM
College and vocational school
Twin towns – sister cities
Roudnice nad Labem is twinned with: