The District of Prostejov is located in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, in the heart of Moravia. This region, with an area of 770 square kilometres and a population of 110,000, consists of two different parts - the fertile lowland of the Hana Lowlands
and the rugged Drahanska Highlands
is an industrial town, which lies by a small river in hilly terrain. It lies on the Hloucela brook 225 meters above sea level. The current population is about 50,000.
According to the oldest Moravian documents from the year 1141, it entered history as the small community of Prostejovice, which by the 13th
century had grown into a relatively significant trading village. The first mention
of Prostejov dates from 1213, when a fortress occupied the site.At that time German settlers were invited here, who, in the place where T.G. Masaryk Square is located today, founded a new community, to which the rights which had originally been granted to the oder village were transferred. In 1390 the village was given the privilege of holding its first annual market, which signalled a promotion to the status of town. Later, an Augustinian monastery
was established here; it was closed during the Hussite wars. The monastic order founded a school whose students included Matej Rejsek, the architect whose projects included St. Barbora's church in Kutna Hora and the Powder Gate in Prague. The promising development of the town was slowed down in the year 1431, when it was burned to the ground for its pro-Husite stand. Jews leaving Christian Olomouc and settling by the north and south city walls then established the Jewish Quarter
. The appearance of the Prostejov Jewish settlement after the year 1454 and the more than century-long rule of the Pernstejn dynasty after the year 1495 brought significant prosperity to the town, accompanied by great construction activity.
At the end of the 15th
century the malting and brewery industry
developed. The city came under the rule of Vratislav of Pernstejn, who began construction of the Renaissance castle. In the year 1495 the town began the building of fortifications with a wall and bastions at the gates. In one of the surviving bastions there is now a gallery and a wine cellar restaurant.
Kasper Aorg founded a printing shop
that printed the first Czech book in Moravia in 1527. Twenty years later Johann Gunter printed the first Czech primer here. In 1599 Karl of Lichtenstein purchased the town and brought the Jesuits here.
Starting with the end of the 16th
century the town went through a long period of stagnation, which lasted until hafway through the 18th
century, when, thanks to the local Jews there was a sudden blossoming of the textile and clothing industry. During the Thirty Years War, the town was
completely destroyed and burned down. With the subsequent renovation, the city acquired a Baroque appearance.
At the end of the 18th
century, the cotton weaving industry
developed, and at the end of the 19th
century a railway connection with Olomouc, Brno and Prerov was built.
An increase in building at the turn of the 19th
centuries significantly altered the face of the town and it acguired a style of historicism and art nouveau.
The center of life is the town square which today bears the name of T. G. Masaryk. Most of the town houses had their own household symbols, which are as great a source of pride now as in the past. The square is dominated by the new town hall with its 66 m high tower and astronomical clock
. It was built during the yers 1911-1914 according to the design of Professor K. H. Kepka. Especially worth seeing are its valuable interiors in a hisoricized style with a unique gallery of the Czech mayors of the town. Visitor can also admire a Baroque plague column with a statue of the Virgin Mary from the year 1714.
Among other monuments in the country, the castle and fortress in Plumlov and the castle and garden in Cechy pod Kosirem are recommended.
Among Prostejov's famous artists are the poet Jiri Wolker and painter Alois Fisarek