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Most is located in Czech Republic

Most is located in Ústí nad Labem Region
Coordinates: 50°30′11″N 13°38′12″E / 50.50306, 13.63667
Country  Czech Republic
Region Ústí nad Labem
District Most
First documented 10th century
 • Mayor Vlastimil Vozka
 • Total 86.94 km2 (33.57 sq mi)
Elevation 233 m (764 ft)
Population (June 2009)
 • Total 67,189
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 434 01
Website The City of Most

Most (Czech pronunciation: [ˈmost]; German: Brüx, Latin: Pons, Romani: Mosti) is the capital city of the Most District, situated between the Central Bohemian Uplands and the Ore Mountains, approximately 77 km (48 mi) northwest of Prague along the Bílina River and southwest of Ústí nad Labem.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name Most means "bridge" in Czech. The town was named after the system of bridges over swamps which lay in this area in the 10th century. The German name for Most is Brüx (derived from the German word for "bridge", Brücke).

History[edit | edit source]

The Latin Chronica Boemorum mentions a Slavic settlement below the Gnevin Castle called Gnevin Pons (Czech: Hněvínský most) in 1040. Through the swamps there led a merchant route from Prague to Freiberg. The network of wooden bridges was built to provide comfortable passages through this territory. Hneva from the Hrabisic dynasty established a military stronghold to protect caravans. Under this stronghold the village that would become Most developed.

In 1227 Kojata, the last of the Hrabisics, passed his property to the cloister of the Knights of the Cross. Since 1238 the royal town was owned by the Přemyslids and it became a rich city with many churches. The Bohemian kings Otakar II, John of Luxembourg, and Charles IV all granted Most city rights. In the 14th century, due to colonization, the city became predominantly German-populated and known as Brüx.

During the 15th and 16th centuries the city was hit by several fires. In around 1517, city reconstruction began the foundations of several significant facilities, including the new dean's church and the Renaissance city hall.

During the Thirty Years' War, the city was occupied by Swedish troops. Both in the early years and in the last years of the war it was captured by stratagem. In a similar manner the castle Hněvín was captured. After the Thirty Years' War, the city lost much of its economical and political significance.

In the second half of the 19th century industry and mining emerged, and in 1870, a railway line was built. Construction included sugar works, porcelain factory, steel works, brewery, and the founding of a city museum. In 1895 the city was affected by quicksand that swallowed several houses, including some of their occupants. In 1900 the RICO plant for dressing material was constructed. In 1901, an electric street car line linked Brüx with Kopitz up to Johnsdorf. The most modern theatre of its time within Austria-Hungary was opened in Brüx in 1911. The construction of a unique dam at Kreuzweg from 1911 to 1914 solved the city's problem with the supply of drinking water.

On December 15, 1942, Brüx began output of Ersatz fuel synthesized from brown coal at the Sudetenländische Treibstoffwerke AG (STW) Maltheuren plant,[1][2] and a subcamp of Sachsenhausen provided forced labor. Stalag IV-C (Wistritz bei Teplitz) was at the "Sudentenland Treibstoff Werke",[3] and Brüx was repeatedly bombed during the Oil Campaign of World War II.

Post-War, Most was restored to Czechoslovakia and, following the expulsion of Germans after World War II (mainly 1946), Czechs replaced the Germans.

Destruction of the Old Town

In 1964, the destruction of Most's historical old town began. In just 6 years the Most Coal Company (Mostecká uhelná/ MUS), which was financed and led by the communist government of Czechoslovakia, completed the destruction of Bohemian history and culture, displacing thousands of inhabitants into rebuilt infrastructure and low-cost standardized housing projects, also known as paneláks. [4]

During the destruction of the old town, local inhabitants of Most had the choice of either immigrating to other regions of the nation, or following the government initiated urban development program for the displaced. This opened a new industrial era as new opportunities for employment arose. Labor mobility drew skilled and unskilled labor in the mining and construction sectors to the city of Most.

During the 1960s, Most's historic centre was completely destroyed to make room for the expanding lignite mines, a process that lasted until 1970. This process involved the destruction of many historic monuments, including a brewery dating from the 15th century and a theatre designed in 1910 by Alexander Graf, a Viennese architect who designed many theatres across Central Europe, including ones in Ostrau and Laibach.

One building, however, was preserved: the Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, built between 1517 and 1594 and designed by Jakob Heilmann of Schweinfurt. In 28 days it was moved by train to the new town, 841 metres away, at the rate of roughly 30 metres per day. The Czechoslovakian government took pride in the relocation of this religious structure, and the building was mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest building ever moved on wheels.

Today, there have been several investigations addressing the ethics of this project - linked to environmental degradation, violation of human rights, corruption in the Czech government and money laundering. The Czech police dropped their investigation of MUS in 1995. In recent years, this case has been reopened by Swiss prosecutors and if successful, the involved and responsible stakeholders, including the managers of the MUS could face persecution in the Czech Republic or Switzerland. [5]

Most nations
Early Hrabisic dynasty
1238 Přemyslid dynasty
? Kingdom of Bohemia
1526 Holy Roman Empire
1806 Austrian Empire
1866 Austro-Hungarian Empire
post–World War I Czechoslovakia
1938 Germany
1945 Czechoslovakia
1993 Czech Republic

Life in the town[edit | edit source]

As a redeveloped city, Most does not have many historical sights, yet there are two important ones: Hněvín Castle and the Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. On the other hand there are many amusement facilities which can be visited: planetarium, observatory, autodrome, aquadrome or hippodrome.

Most is known for its huge share of people living in panelaks. The decimated environment along with urban development has given the outskirts of the city a depressing feeling.In 2007 a number of new developments were planned and construction began in the centre of the City. Of note are some small residential housing projects along with a major new shopping centre right in the centre. On the other side the concentration of population in the flats enabled remarkable development of informational technologies. For example the cable television project functional in 1988 was something unusual in any other Czech city. Now many people have access to the broadband internet at prices well below average in the Czech Republic.

The new city is well-designed (wide streets, many parks in the center), especially the infrastructure and traffic situation is quite good in comparison with cities of similar size. The social situation of local people is bad. With the unemployment rate of nearly 25% (as of 2005) the locality is perhaps the worst in the Czech Republic. This is exacerbated by a huge workforce of aging unqualified miners. Also flat accommodation is quite cheap so it pushes more unemployed people from other regions to live there and raises this number. More recently, unemployment has been falling and government sources put the figure at around 15% in 2007.

Due to heavy social and European Union funding and the development of local business and industry, Most is beginning to recover.

The Hippodromo (Racecourse) in the Velebudice district of Most was the host of the 18th International Meeting of 2CV Friends between 28 July and 2 August 2009, attracting 3,333 vehicles and approximately 10,000 people.

Industry[edit | edit source]

Most is the heart of the northern Bohemian lignite-mining region and serves as an important industrial railway junction. Other industries in Most include textile, ceramics, steel, and chemicals.

During the second half of the 20th century Most turned into a dusty and dirty miner town and in the communist era it was said to be one of the darkest cities of Czechoslovakia.

The mining itself has a long tradition in the area. Extensive mining operations continued after the year 2000, but are completely under the control of foreign companies. Many surrounding villages are planned to be abandoned due to surface mining.

Unsurprisingly, heavy industry has shaped the image and development of post–World War II Most.

As environmental conditions have improved in recent years, the growing of apples and grape vines has developed.

City districts[edit | edit source]

  • Vtelno used to be a village near Most. When the new city was built near it, Vtelno became an integral part of Most. It has a church, a historical Baroque manor, and many monoliths and sculptures that have been collected during the era of demolition of villages in the region (due to coal mining).

People[edit | edit source]

Neighboring cities and towns[edit | edit source]

International relations[edit | edit source]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit | edit source]

Most is twinned with:

References[edit | edit source]

  • Merriam Webster's Geographical Dictionary, 3rd edition

External links[edit | edit source]

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