History of the town

Šindelářská vez

The oldest history of the town

A newer perspective puts the origin of the town into the context of its location near the border with Silesia. In the early Middle Ages, there was an uninhabited deep border forest, forming our state’s natural rampart, in this border territory. However, when Boleslaw III’s Polish troops passed through this forest in the year 1110, a new military trail was created here and sentry points had to be built along its route. Thus, it was not only for security reasons that the Dvůr [Court] and Church settlement was built, probably in the second half of the 12th century.  Apparently it was one of several settlements built along this new path, from fortified Miletín to the Silesian side, for important trips across the water.  This was connected to the subsequent gradual settlement of this territory, which in the case of Dvůr apparently advanced form Miletín. The first written mention of Dvůr is from the year 1270. In a document written in Latin, dated the 27th of July and issued in MIletín regarding a dispute betwen pastor Hořic and Miletín over parochial rights, a Dvůr Králové rector is listed among the witnesses as "Gottfridus de Curia".  We also come across the Latin name for Dvůr of “Curia” in subsequent years. However, the German name “Hof” also appears, initially in the year 1316. The Czech name “Dwuor” is documented only in the year 1421. This appellation is probably connected with the princely court that came into existence here, probably near the church. With the proceeding colonization, which was partly German, the original market settlement began to expand. Unfortunately we do not know from what period Dvůr belonged to the King, just like we do not know when the settlement was promoted to a town.

Dvůr as a dowry town

In the 14th century Dvůr was already fortified, and its fate is connected to the so-called Trutnov Fiefdom, which was stopped several times. Dvůr returned to the King’s direct tenure in the year 1392, to the hands of Wenceslas IV. He signed the town over to his wife, Sophia of Bavaria. Thus, the town became a royal dowry town. This probably happened before Sophia’s coronation in the year 1400. From that period, the epithet “Králové” has been added to the town name “Dvůr”.

The Hussite period

In the year 1421 the town submitted to the Praguers (the moderate wing of the Hussites) without a fight. Two years later, it was transferred to the emerging Žižkov in the South Bohemian Union, and took part in several battles with it. However, in the year 1436, the town representatives took an oath of allegiance to Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. A year later the institute of dowry towns was restored, when Dvůr and other towns were signed over to Sigismund’s wife, Barbara of Celje.

Dvůr in uprisings and conflicts

For its participation in the uprising against Emperor Ferdinand I, the town lost its property in the year 1547. However, that same year the people of Dvůr were granted a pardon, and almost all their property was returned to them.

During the Estates Revolt (1618-1620), Dvůr joined the side of the rebels, so after the Battle of White Mountain (08/ 11/ 1620), its property was once again confiscated. The property was returned to the town in the year 1627. During the Thirty Year’s War the town suffered considerable damage, which finished off the town’s decline. Dvůr was plundered and looted by Imperial, Saxon and Swedish soldiers on several occasions.

During the reign of Maria Theresa (1740-1780) the town was again subjected to the hardships of war, connected to the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years' War (1756-1763). Despite these unfortunate events, the town continued to develop economically in the 2nd half of the 18th century and the start of the 19th. This development was mainly connected to the textile industry.

A time of revival - the discovery of the Manuscript of Dvůr Králové

On the 16th of September 1817, Czech writer, poet, linguist, literary historian, librarian and university professor Václav Hanka “discovered” the so-called Manuscript of Dvůr Králové in a vaulted dungeon in the tower of the Church of St. John the Baptist - the oldest written Czech text with 14 songs from the 13th century. Although it transpired that it is most likely a fake created by Václav Hanka together with friend and poet Josef Linda, and apparently also with other people, the document significantly influenced the atmosphere of national revival and wrote the town into Czech history in a significant way. At present, the Manuscript of Dvůr Králové is stored in the library of the National Museum in Prague.

Austro-Prussian War

In 1866, its course affected the entire Hradec region. During the war, battles took place directly in the territory of the town, there were two Prussian occupations, and finally, in July, Dvůr Králové became a Prussian infirmary. When the soldiers left the city in September 1866, they left behind destroyed fields, looted houses, poverty and high prices. Reminders of these events, and not just in the form of war graves, are found today in the town itself and in nearby villages.


Destructive fires and epidemics are part of every town’s history. The fires were helped by the fact that most of the buildings were wooden, and housing development inside the clench of the ramparts was very dense. Over the course of a century there were several extensive fires, during which either almost the whole town, or a significant part of it were destroyed. Probably the worst fire was in the year 1572, when the entire town burned down apart from a church and four houses. Epidemics did not avoid our town, either. In the year 1582 there was a plague epidemic, followed later by cholera epidemics in the years 1831, 1850 and 1855.

The town’s prosperity and development

However, the town was not only affected by catastrophes connected with military conflicts and natural disasters.  A number of favourable events led to its development and assertion on a regional scale.

First and foremost, the town was a centre for trade and crafts. It was mainly weaving and dyeing that had a great tradition here, as linen had long been grown in the vicinity. After the end of the 18th century cotton slowly begins to penetrate here, and in the 19th century it begins to push this traditional raw material out.  At the end of the 18th century, despite considerably developed local textile crafts, the introduction of workshops did not really take root here (note: 1790-1841 J. Schubert - cotton spinning mill in Podharť, 1791 František Thim - cloth dyeing, printing and drying works in the Hradiště suburbs). The agent system was more successful. An important prerequisite for the development of industry was the construction of the railway (1858), but also the improvement of the road network, the navigability of the Elbe, an acceptable distance to the coal mines and a sufficient labour force.

The textile industry in the town began to fully develop in the 1880s, when the first textile factories began too be built (Winternitz and Friedman – 1861, Emanuel Bäumelt, Moritz Feldscharek, Julius Busch, atd.).

The industrial development was also closely linked to a growth in the number of inhabitants, the development of construction in the town, and last but not least the development of the town’s social and cultural life (construction of the theatre building, development of social activity - theatre group, choral ensembles, the Sokol [Falcon] physical education club, the Decorating Society etc.).  A large majority of these societies still exist today, and continue to take active part in the town’s life. 

The World War I period

Just like most Czech towns, Dvůr Králové nad Labem was also affected by the course of World War I. Local citizens, too, were forced to actively participate in the fighting. 130 natives were killed in the war, and over 50 soldiers remain unaccounted for. Monuments and memorials were built to commemorate their sacrifice, not only directly in the town, but also in adjacent villages from which the soldiers came.

The Inter-war period (the period of the First Republic)

After the crisis caused by World War I is overcome, the inter-war years see the development of not only industry, but also the town’s social and cultural life. Textiles remain a core industrial sector. Then came the year 1929, and with it a global economic crisis that affected all Dvůr Králové businesses. Production had to be restricted, or stopped completely. The town representatives tried to solve unemployment with so-called emergency work. The situation was worse in the German regions. As soon as production began to rise and unemployment began to disappear in neighbouring Germany after Hitler’s coup, a nationalist movement started to grow in the border region, culminating in Munich, which for the judicial district of Dvůr Králové meant a loss of 32 municipalities from a total of 47. Dvůr Králové became a border town without communication, railway or raw materials. During this period (in the year 1933) the completely new Tyrš Swimming Pool Complex was opened in Dvůr Králové.

The World War II period

Then came the war years 1939-1945, which ended in the May Uprising and the subsequent expulsion of persons of German nationality from the territory of the Dvůr Králové district.
According to the results of the Census in the year 1930, 23,666 Czechs and 12,703 Germans lived in the Dvůr Králové nad Labem  judicial district. The expulsion definitely changed the ethnic composition of the region’s inhabitants. In the first half of the 50s, a total of 725 Germans resided in the Dvůr Králové nad Labem district. They did not organize any cultural events; they were mostly involved in Czech businesses, or did not participate in social life at all.
5.6.2015 9:09:57 | read 6743x | Jiří Třísko

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