What You Need To Know
Plzeň, also called Pilsen in English and German, is a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic. About 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of Prague, it is the fourth most populous city in the Czech Republic. The city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer, created by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll there in 1842. It is the 4th largest city in the country and the largest city in West Bohemia, being a convenient base for exploring this region of the Czech Republic.
Area: 2.799 mi²
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK. 1 crown consists of 100 hellers (haléř), abbreviated as hal. Heller coins have not been in use as of September 1, 2008, but hellers are still incorporated into merchandise prices. The final price is always rounded off to the nearest crown value. Coins: 1 Kč, 2 Kč, 5 Kč, 10 Kč, 20 Kč, 50 Kč. Banknotes: 100 Kč, 200 Kč, 500 Kč, 1000 Kč, 2000 Kč, 5000 Kč.
As the official currency, the Czech crown is the best and often the only possible currency to use when paying. Although the Czech Republic is part of the European Union, the euro is not widely accepted here yet. Some stores, restaurants and hotels accept payments in euros but the exchange rate may not be very good.
Plzeň has a cool and temperate Oceanic climate (Cfb). Plzeň has low rainfall (604 mm (24 in) year average) evenly spread over the year. Precipitation occurs on average every second day, and the number of days with thunderstorms is 19. It receives on average 1700 hours of sunshine though winters have longer periods without sunshine. Terrain features and a relatively low altitude (290 – 390 metres) give some shelter from strong winds. Winters are chilly but milder than some adjacent areas. Snow cover is erratic and lasts on average for 51 days. Though an average year has 113 days with minimum temperature below zero, the temperature falls below −15 °C (5 °F) on 5 days. The record low temperatures is around −20 °C (−4 °F). Winters are often murky with frequent long-standing haze. Spring is short, and in April to June there is blooming vegetation. Summer lasts from the end of May until the first third of September. During that period Plzeň has changeable weather which can be warm to hot. Temperatures are always above 5 degrees Celsius with nights between 8 to 18 °C (46 to 64 °F) and days between 16 to 35 °C (61 to 95 °F). Days are up to 16 hours long. Plzeň can be hot, especially during heat waves originating in the southern Mediterranean. The number of hot days above 30 °C (86 °F) is steadily growing, with 5 months (late April – early September) of possible 30+ °C days. If hot weather does occur, it is often changes after a few weeks into cold and rainy weather with incoming Atlantic-based fronts. Nights can be unpleasantly cold even in summer, with high level of humidity. Winter frosts frequently occur from the second half of November to the end of March. February is the driest month with 32 mm (1.3 in) of precipitation, and July the wettest with 80 mm (3.1 in). The only natural hazards are occasional fast changes of weather with negative consequences, e.g. floodings.
Extreme values for years 2011 & 2012: An extremely cold day of 2011 had −7.6 °C (18.3 °F) on average (23 February), −0.7 to −13.3 °C (30.7 to 8.1 °F) and extremely hot day 25.2 °C (77.4 °F) on average (24 August, 19.5 to 32.8 °C (67.1 to 91.0 °F). The year 2012 had the coldest day on 12 February with minimum plummeting to −22.1 °C (−7.8 °F) and maximum around −3.7 °C (25.3 °F) with average −14.9 °C (5.2 °F). The hottest day of 2012 occurred on 21 August with daily maximum temperature 33.9 °C (93.0 °F) and minimum staying on 19.4 °C (66.9 °F) with all day average on 25.5 °C (77.9 °F). Absolute minimum and maximum for both years were −22.1 °C (−7.8 °F) (February 2012) and 37.4 °C (99.3 °F) during August 2012.
Number of rainy/snowy days for 2011: 78; number of days with frost: 76; number of days with minimal temperatures below −10 °C (14 °F): 12; number of days with average temperature below zero: 35; number of days with daily average temperature higher than 10 °C (50 °F): 188; number of days with daily average higher than 20 °C (68 °F): 32. Total amount of precipitation for year 2011: 529.1 mm; average year humidity value: 80.8. Maximal temperature: 33.3 °C (91.9 °F); minimal temperature −14.8 °C (5.4 °F). Average 2011 temperature: 9.7 °C (49 °F); average speed of wind: 4.7 km/h (2.9 mph), mainly from SSE.
Number of days with frost was 96 during year 2012; 18 days had minima below −10 °C (14 °F) and 165 days with an average temperature on or above 10.0 °C (50.0 °F). Number of days with maxima on or above 20.0 °C (68.0 °F) was 42.
Czech is the only official language. Many residents are English speaking.
Education and economy
Plzeň is a centre of academic, business, and cultural life for the western part of the Czech Republic. The University of West Bohemia in Plzeň is well known for its Faculty of Law, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Applied Science in particular.
Since the late 1990s the city has experienced high growth in foreign investment. In 2007, Israeli mall developer Plaza Centers opened the Pilsen Plaza, a 20,000-square-metre (220,000-square-foot) shopping mall and entertainment centre featuring a multiplex cinema from Cinema City Czech Republic.
Plzeň produces about two-thirds of the Plzeň Region GDP, even though it contains only 29.8 of its population. Based on these figures, the city of Plzeň has a total GDP of approximately $7.2 billion, and a per capita GDP of $44,000. While part of this is explained by commuters to the city, it is one of the most prosperous cities in the Czech Republic.
The Škoda company, established in Plzeň in 1859, has been an important element of Austro-Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Czech engineering, and one of the biggest European arms factories. During the Communist era (1948–1989) the company’s production had been directed to the needs of the Eastern Bloc. Disarray in the era after the Velvet Revolution, and unsuccessful efforts to gain new Western markets, resulted in sales problems and debts. After a huge restructuring process the company now has just two principal subsidiaries: Škoda Transportation (locomotives, underground trains and trams, which have been sold to Portland, Oregon; Tacoma; Seattle and Sardinia) and Škoda Power (turbines) now owned by the UK company.
Many foreign companies now have manufacturing bases in Plzeň, including Daikin and Panasonic. There has been much discussion of redeveloping those large areas of the Škoda plant which the company no longer uses.
Plzeň also has the biggest distillery (Stock) in the Czech Republic.
Pilsen is generally safe, even at night, unless you leave your stuff unattended.
The Plzeň metropolitan area is largely served by a network of trams, trolleybuses and buses operated by the PMDP. Like other continental European cities, tickets bought from vending machines or small shops are valid for any transport run by the city of Plzeň. For residents of the city, a Plzeň Card can be purchased and through a system of “topping up” be used on any public transport with no limitations, as long as it is paid up and valid.
The most important transport link in the city is the D5 highway connecting Prague and Nuremberg. Plzeň is an important centre of Czech railway transport, with the crossing of five main railway lines:
line Nr. 170: Prague – Beroun – Plzeň – Cheb
line Nr. 180: Plzeň – Domažlice – Furth im Wald (Germany)
line Nr. 183: Plzeň – Klatovy – Železná Ruda
line Nr. 160: Plzeň – Žatec
line Nr. 190: Plzeň – České Budějovice