History of the town

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Created:6.8.2010 | Modified:10.10.2019

We do not know the precise date on which the city of Liberec was founded, but the town (settlement) was first mentioned in writing in 1352. The first important owners of Liberec were the Bieberstein family, who purchased the Frýdlant domain from King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1278. After the Bieberstein family died out, the Redern family purchased the Frýdlant domain, including Liberec, in 1558. The Rederns very significantly contributed to the development of the town (construction of stone buildings – the Church of Saint Anthony, the chateau, the brewery, the original town hall and the founding of the cloth guild). Liberec was awarded its first major privilege, the right to brew beer, in 1560; in 1577 Emperor Rudolf II elevated Liberec to town status and granted it the right to hold two fairs a year, while also allowing it to have a seal and a town coat of arms. The Redern family abandoned Liberec after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, after which the administration of the domain passed to the famous duke and commander, Albrecht von Wallenstein (1622) and, after his death in 1634, to the Gallas family (subsequently known as Clam-Gallas).

Despite the war between the army of Empress Marie Theresa and the Prussians in 1757, the town continued its rapid economic development and Liberec experienced the 19th century in the spirit of the textile industry. In 1818 Johann Liebieg came to Liberec as a journeyman and through his great diligence and business acumen the company he established grew into a textile giant and Liberec became the centre of the textile industry for the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other members of the Liebieg family also left their own indelible marks in history (extensive collections of art, new buildings, the first automobile in Bohemia, etc.).

At the turn of the 20th century, industrial Liberec was the second most populous city in Bohemia. The beginning of the 20th century was evidently the “golden age” of old Liberec. However, the city’s positive development was interrupted by the Second World War, after which the German residents of Liberec resettled in Germany and the subsequent establishment of communism resulted in further stagnation. Following the regime change in 1989, industry gradually underwent a major transformation; textile production ceased in Liberec and the automotive industry as well as completely new branches of industry such as nanotechnology gained importance. The whole city was affected by this dynamic transformation, and not only were new buildings and infrastructure built, but historic monuments also underwent successful renovation.