Liberec is the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic. It has many interesting buildings and monuments, one of the most famous features being the Ještěd transmitter. Unusually, the city is connected with another important town – Jablonec nad Nisou – by tramline.
What to visit:
One of the main symbols of the city is the Neo-Renaissance City Hall of Liberec, whose appearance is inspired by the City Hall in Vienna. You can also admire the Valdštejn houses in the Větrná Street. They are the oldest preserved houses in Liberec. Dating from 1678 to 1681, these houses were originally inhabited by craftsmen. Christmas markets are held every year there. Here you can buy traditional Christmas ornaments, figurines and candy.
A unique structure that has become identified with Liberec and the whole region is the TV tower at the top of Ještěd. The transmitter was constructed from 1966 to 1973, according to a plan by Karel Hubáček. The building was awarded the Perret Award and was also the title ‚Building of the Century‘. The height of the transmitter is 93 m, and a cable car leads to the top of Ještěd. On the ground floor there is an indoor walk-in gallery, you can also visit the restaurant on the floor of the transmitter.
Most people have no idea that Liberec was the cradle of motoring in this part of the world. Indeed, it was here that the very first motor car in Bohemia appeared. It was 1893, and local industrialist and adventurer Baron Theodor von Liebieg had just ordered a Benz Victoria, which was to cause him a certain amount of hassle. The car frightened local horses, drew large crowds and was the subject of repeated, prolonged and delicate negotiations with both customs and police officers.
The venerable baron used this vehicle for the first long-distance run from Liberec to Gondorf near Koblenz. He managed an amazing 939 km, travelling at the then staggering average speed of 13.6 km/h. During the journey, the car consumed an average of 21 liters of petrol – and as much as 150 liters of water – per 100 kilometers. On the way, he popped in to see Karl Benz, from whom he had bought the car in the first place. Baron von Liebieg’s fondness for motor cars also led him to found the RAF car factory in Liberec. By coincidence, Liberec was also the home town of world-famous automotive builder Ferdinand Porsche. The first Czech Formula I driver was Tomáš Enge, and, that’s right, he was also from Liberec.
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