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History of the city Třeboň

The best way to learn about the history of Třeboň is to learn the history of the five noble families who owned the city through the centuries.

The Lords of Landštejn (until 1366)

Třeboň - Vitek of Prčice - coat-of-arms, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Třeboň was founded around the middle 12th century as a small settlement deep in the border forests. Its convenient location near the trade route connecting the Czech and Austrian territory led to artisans and tradesmen settling here, gradually turning the area into an agricultural center. Třeboň and its vast surroundings were later gained by Vítek of Prčice (†1194), the founder of the powerful house of Vítkovec (Witigonen), who held many significant posts in the court of the Czech King Vladislav II. Vítek also owned a vast amount of inhospitable swampland in southern Bohemia. After a short interim during which the territory was under the rule of the Zwettl monastery, the area around Třeboň was obtained in the middle 13th century by the Lords of Landštejn, one of the branches of the Vítkovci family. Třeboň thus became the centre of the dominion - the Church of St. Jiljí was founded, the little castle (Hrádek) was built, and construction began on the city fortifications and the moat.

The Rožmberks (1366-1611)

Třeboň saw its greatest period of economic and cultural development during the reign of the Rožmberk family. At the time, the Rožmberks were the most powerful feudal family in the kingdom of Bohemia, holding the most important posts in the Bohemian kingdom and the imperial court. They even stood against the king himself several times over the course of history.

The efforts of the Rožmberks led to Třeboň, at that time a liege town, gaining the rights of a royal city and the very important privilege of importing salt. The Augustinian Monastery with church was built, and the city fortification was completed. These fortifications, together with the castle and the swampland surroundings, made Třeboň an almost impenetrable fortress; this is how Třeboň successfully resisted the attacks of the Hussites during the Hussite Wars.

During the reign of Peter IV of Rožmberk (1462–1523), the dominion of Třeboň blossomed. Peter began supporting economic enterprises, specifically metal mining and the building of carp ponds. He called on his founder of the carp ponds, Štěpánek Netolický, to cultivate a system of aquaculture. In 1505, he gave Třeboň the right to brew beer “for time everlasting”, still in effect today.

Třeboň - Petr Vok of Rožmberk (1539–1611) - the last of the Rožmberks, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The golden age of Třeboň (late 16th and early 17th century) is associated with the last two members of the Rožmberk family: Vilém (the second most powerful figure in the kingdom after the king) and Petr Vok. The city began to take on the appearance of a representative Renaissance seat, partly also due to a great fire which forced many of the citizens to restore or rebuild their homes. The aquaculture enterprise prospered, as the Rožmberk regent Jakub Krčín of Jelčany continued the work of Štěpánek Netolický and completed construction of the fishpond system. He founded new fishponds, the most famous ones today being Svět and Rožmberk.

In 1602, Třeboň became the residence of the last Rožmberk ruler, Petr Vok of Rožmberk. Petr Vok was forced to sell the city of Český Krumlov and move the court to Třeboň due to family debts. After his death in 1611, the city and the domain were inherited by the Švamberk family (Schwamberg).

The Švamberks (1611–1622) and th e Habsburgs (1622–1660)

The ownership of Třeboň by the Švamberks, with a swan in their coatof- arms, did not last very long. They participated in the Uprising of the Estates against the Habsburgs, resulting in the confiscation of their entire dominion, and Třeboň was suddenly under the rule of the Habsburgs. The damage caused by the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) as well as a series of plagues and fires, marks this period as a dark history for the city of Třeboň and the entire dominion.

The Schwarzenbergs (1660–1924)

Třeboň - The coat-of-arms of the House of Schwarzenberg features a decapitated Turk’s head having his eyes pecked out by a raven. This is reminder of the conquest of Raab, the Turkish fortress, by Adolf of Schwarzenberg in 1598., photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The next person in charge of the dominion, being at this point in desperate condition following the Thirty Years’ War, was the prince Johann Adolf von Schwarzenberg. He was a very capable politician and diplomat who, at the time, lived in Bohemia. The Schwarzenbergs spent a short time every year in Třeboň to take care of their dominion, now blossoming in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Many small keepers’ houses, farmsteads, and barns grew up in the surrounding countryside of Třeboň, which has still retained its very picturesque landscape character. The Baroque style was introduced to Třeboň by the Schwarzenbergs, but the reconstruction of the city was paradoxically spurred by two major fires in 1723 and 1780.

In the 19th century, the construction of the first railway between Prague and Vienna placed a new importance to this region. The railway stopped in Třeboň (even the emperor Franz Josef visited here) because of the existence of Berta Spa, founded in 1883 by the local teacher Václav Hucek who named the Spa after his daughter. Třeboň became a district town (county seat) and was now known not only for its good fishing and aquaculture tradition, but for its spa treatments as well.

The 20th century and the present

Both World Wars caused vast economical, political and social problems and the loss of lives not only to Třeboň but to the entire country. Třeboň was subject to significant changes in the latter 20th century when the textile industry (Otavan) and large-scale agriculture reached great importance alongside the traditions of spas and fishing. The agricultural tradition was based on the Schwarzenberg Třeboň farmstead. New neighbourhoods grew and schools were built. Třeboň became a municipal historical preserve in 1976, and the protected landscape area of Třeboňsko was established in 1979.

And Třeboň today? Now it is a city with nearly 10 000 people who live from the spas and tourist trade, drawing from a rich cultural tradition. The city boasts a rich history from within and a fishpond landscape from without.