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Ústí nad Labem
Town
Flag
Coat of arms
Country  Czech Republic
Region Ústí nad Labem
District Ústí nad Labem
Commune Ústí nad Labem
River Elbe
Elevation 218 m (715 ft)
Coordinates 50°39′30″N 14°2′30″E / 50.65833°N 14.04167°E / 50.65833; 14.04167
Area 93.95 km2 (36.27 sq mi)
 - metro 874 km2 (337 sq mi)
Population 93,859 (2005) [1]
 - metro 243,878
Density 999 /km2 (2,587 /sq mi)
First mentioned 1056
Mayor Jan Kubata
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 400 01
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Ústí nad Labem
Statistics: statnisprava.cz
Website: www.usti-nl.cz

Ústí nad Labem (Czech pronunciation: [ˈuːsciː ˈnad labɛm]  ( listen); German: Aussig) is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Ústí nad Labem Region. The city is the 9th-most populous in the country. Ústí is situated in a mountainous district at the confluence of the Bílina and the Elbe (Labe) Rivers, and, besides being an active river port, is an important railway junction. It is the birthplace of the painter Anton Raphael Mengs.

Main Square
German Wehrmacht - 1939
Air bombing calsulties - 1945

Contents

History

Ústí nad Labem was mentioned as a trading centre as early as 993. The city was founded by King Otakar II of Bohemia in the latter part of the 13th century. In 1423 it was pledged by Emperor Sigismund to Elector Frederick I of Meißen, who occupied it with a Saxon garrison. In 1426 it was besieged by the Hussites, who on June 16, 1426, though only 25,000 strong, defeated with great slaughter a German army of 70,000 which had been sent to its relief; the town was stormed and sacked the next day. After lying waste for three years, it was rebuilt in 1429. It suffered much during the Thirty Years' War and Seven Years' War.

Not far from Ústí is the village of Chlumec, where, on August 29-August 30, 1813, a battle took place between the French Empire under Vandamme and an allied army of Austrians, Prussians, and Russians. The French were defeated and Vandamme surrendered with his army of 10,000 men.

During the 19th century the city became heavily industrialized and due to the large-scale immigration the number of inhabitants grew from 2,000 to over 40,000 making Ústí one of the biggest cities in Bohemia. Mining, chemical industry and river transport were its most important assets. The local river port became the busiest one in the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire surpassing the seaport in Trieste. Nowadays it is the industrial city with chemical establishments, metallurgy manufacture, machinetool industries, textiles and nutriment industry.

Ústí was a center of early German National Socialism. On November 15, 1903, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in Österreich ("German Workers' Party in Austria") was formed; it would become the basis for the Sudeten German National Socialist Party and Austrian National Socialism. Much of their literature and books were printed in Ústí.

From April 17 to April 19, 1945 the city was bombed by the Allied Forces and over 500 people lost their lives. On July 31, 1945, the Ústí Massacre against German civilians occurred. In 1945 and 1946, over 53,000 ethnic Germans were expelled from the area. Emigrants from the Soviet Union, Slovakia, and Romania settled in the city, among them many Roma and Sinti. During the 1970s-1980s large numbers of paneláks were constructed in Ústí. After the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the city's heavy industry suffered economic troubles.

The Střekov castle is located in a southern suburb of the city. Ústí is a center for tourism owing to the romantic landscape of the Bohemian Highlands (České středohoří) and the České Švýcarsko national park.

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Matiční Street Wall

The city gained notoriety in the late 1990s when a 150 m long wall was constructed along part of the Matiční Street separating family houses on one side from the tenement houses on the other. Since the latter were homes mainly to Roma, it turned into an international racist scandal. Mayor Ladislav Hruška promised local homeowners' representatives that the wall would be finished by the end of September, 1998. Foreign press arrived in Ústí to investigate, and were told by aldermen that the wall was not meant to segregate by race, but to keep respectable citizens safe from noise and rubbish coming from the opposite side of the street.[2]

In September, city representatives announced that plans would be changed from a four meter soundproof wall to a 1.8 meter wall of ceramic bricks, and a children's playground would also be constructed in front of the tenement houses. Despite these changes, the Roma Civic Initiative and Deputy Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla vocally opposed the construction.[3] The wall was criticized by Congressman Christopher Smith, and a delegation from the Council of Europe described it as a "racist" and drastic solution.[2]

Scenery of Ústí nad Labem

The new plans slated construction to begin August 30, 1999, but a decision by the district council delayed the move because a wall that large would require a permit, and threatened to damage the root systems of trees along Matični Street. On October 5, however, construction began regardless of the opposition by foreign observers and members of the Czech government. The following day, 50 Roma physically blockaded construction of the wall and dismantled parts that had already been set up.[2] Nonetheless, the wall was completed on October 13. Domestic and international pressure eventually convinced the city to dismantle the wall, and it was destroyed six weeks after it was erected.

Officials in Prešov, Slovakia considered building a similar wall in 2005. [1]

Famous Natives and Residents

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Ústí is twinned with:

Footnotes

References

External links


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