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Zatec Medieval Town, the Hop Museum and the Brewery.

The town where beer is at home . The Hop Museum in Zatec is the biggest exposition of its kind in Europe. Brewery. The movies "Yentl", "Les Miserables", "Oliver Twist" and "Edith Piaf" were made in the town. The 700 years tradition of brewing.

Order Tour Code: C WW13
Tour availability: Tour available in summer season

Come to see the place that has got the 700 years tradition of brewing. The Hop Museum is the biggest exposition of its kind in Europe, you will learn there why the Zatec district became the producer of the best hops in the world. The movies "Yentl", "Les Miserables", "Oliver Twist", "Kolja", "Edith Piaf", "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel" were made in the historical center. You can combine its visit with seeing the spa Karlovy Vary and the Terezin concentration camp.

Zatec Medieval Town
The name of Zatec was first mentioned in the Thietmar of Merseburg Chronicle in 1004. Written sources dating back to the 11th to 13th century describe Zatec as an important church and administrative centre. It was raised to a feudal town by the Royal Charter of 1256, when the king Přemysl Otakar II granted Zatec important rights. Crafts, agriculture and trade become the source of the town's prosperity. Later became Zatec the centre of a famous hop-producing area.
The cultural history of the town should not be omitted - especially the town's Latin School. Around the year 1400, Jan of Zatec, the author of "The Ploughman of Bohemia", was active as rector. Under his leadership the Zatec town school turned into one of the best known and most important schools in Bohemia. In the 15th century Zatec was loyal to the Hussite movement. In 1421 the II nd crusade army was defeated at the town walls. In the 16th century Zatec was one of the most densely populated towns in Bohemia. The town's old appearance is shown on Jan Willenberg's picture from 1602. Because of the Thirty-Years War many inhabitants emigrated and the town's economical situation declined. Even the religious and national character of the town was changed. In spite of all these events, Zatec remained the country centre up to 1850, then it become the seat of district authorities.
The historical centre of the town was in 1961 proclaimed an urban reservation containing many important buildings and a wide variety of architectural styles from Romanesque to Art Nouveau. We would like to invite you to the town of Zatec, a town with hop-growing and hop-producing traditions stretching back over 700 years. All that, as well as the traditions of malt-production and quality beer-brewing, have played an important role in the development of the town, its surroundings and the people who live here. It will certainly have a lot to tell you, our visitors.

Hop Museum
The Hop Museum in Zatec is the biggest exposition of its kind in Europe. In the area of 4.000 square meters the development of hop industry from the Early Middle Ages until now is shown. In addition to the many exhibits displayed, visitors will see the building, which is of functional industrial architecture from the end of the 19th century to be found in Zatec, famous all over the world for the finest hops. You will learn why the Zatec district became the producer of the best hops in the world and why the Zatec brand has had to be protected against low-quality imitations ever since medieval times. You will be impressed by the charm of the fotographs and writtings about hop-growing and beer-making. You will also find here some agricultural machinery and historical machines.

Opening hours:
May - October Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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Zatec Brewery
The Zatec region is famous worldwide for its unchallenged hops. The cultivation of hop plants has been documented historically since as early as the 10th century. Even a thousand years ago the fine Zatec hops were exported abroad, accounting for one of the reasons why Žatec was a wealthy royal city for centuries.
Zatec hop fields
Green gold
The Zatec hops and malt made from local barley by themselves guarantee good beer brewing. The Zatec beer was ranked in a prominent place among Czech beers by Tadeáas Hajek of Hajek in the rare tract “On beer and methods of its preparation, its essence, strengths and virtues”, published in Latin in 1585.

The history of Czech breweries contains only two breweries with proven a tradition of brewing beer in a single location for more than 700 years - Svitavy (1256) and Zatec (1261). The Society of Zatec Privileged Brewers was established in Zatec in 1261. The two beers called “Samec” and “Kozel” were in high demand in Bohemia and at court, requested by nobility and lords, at the table as well as for festive parties.
Cheers... Close to the end of the 18th century, the Zatec breweries together were not able to cover the full market demand for beer (at that time, Zatec contained 30 malt houses and 4 breweries, which were used to brew beer by 235 Zatec burghers holding beer brewing privileges), so after 30 years of hesitation it was finally decided to build a new brewery in 1797, at a cost of 7,125 florins.

Logo from the year 1801 The brewery’s cornerstone was laid on June 20, 1798, on the location of a destroyed royal castle, next to the army barracks. Lorenz Rott, who was also a master architect, prepared the project. After two years of construction effort, the brewery management finally announced the commencement of brewing on July 26, 1800, and the brewery was leased by privileged burghers to the brewer for operation. In 1801 the brewery brewed 840 kegs containing 4,200,000 liters of beer.
The brewery was gradually expanded and modernized. The beers brewed included delicious draft beers, special beers such as “Radnicni”, “Myslivecke”, “Vanocni” and “Slavnostni”, in addition to the traditional beers “Samec” and “Kozel”, mentioned above. The remaining breweries in the town were gradually closed, the last one being vývozní Dreherův pivovar PRATOK, which closed in 1948.
Beer from the Zatec brewery has been and continues to be awarded numerous times at various shows and exhibitions. For example, in 1873 on the occasion of World Exposition in Vienna, the beer was given a medal and diploma for “Žatec lager”, in 1879, during the Trade Exposition in Prague, it was awarded a silver medal from the tasting competition.
A few of the many awards In 1880 at the Agricultural and Industrial Exposition in Ceske Budejovice, Zatec beer was awarded a gold medal in the professional tasting, thus one more acknowledgment of the quality of Žatec beer. This tradition was carried further with acknowledgements and certificates of merit from expert panels and professional tasting juries during the Žatec Hops Festival in 1995 (for light lager), 1996 and 1997 (for dark lager), and in 2000 and 2001 (light lager again). From the day the brewery was established, the commercial presentation of the Žatec brewery always emphasized, in its name, both the traditional burgher ownership – “Mestansky pivovar” (“Burgher Brewery”) and the location of Zatec. This distinguished label was required and necessary not only because of large number of breweries in the neighborhood of the famous hops district, but also in respect of the competing brewery, Pratok, built in Žatec by Viennese baron Antonín Dreher. The rest of the “newer” breweries in the surrounding region tried at least to sponge off the famous location using suffixes: “… u Zatce” (“… near Zatec”), “…v zateckem kraji” (“… in the Zatec region”), “vaříme pivo ze žateckého chmele” (“Brewed from Zatec hops”) etc. However, the people of the Zatec region were and still are easily able to recognize the authentic, original brewery and are highly proud of it.
The Synagogue
The Zatec Synagogue is the second largest in the Czech republic. It was built between 1871 and 1872 by the architect Johann Staněk. Its construction was funded by the Jewish community. On 18th March 1872 it was ceremonially consecrated by rabbi Abrahám Frank. In 1911 it was renovated and completely decorated with paintings. During the Crystal Night from 9th to 10th November 1938 it was burnt out by the Nazis. Since then it has never served its original purpose. The facility used to be renowned for its excellent acoustics. There was made the movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel".
The Oldest Beer Drinker´s Grave
A grave with the oldest beer drinker was discovered in this place on 1st April 2001, thereby confirming beyond doubt the existence of the ancient hop civilization of Homolupulus. In the grave there was a 0.49 litre vessel, a fragment of a travel beer barrel and an earthenware tablet with seven engraved strokes - the oldest known beer bill. The deceased man was named Lojza Lupulín, and the symbol of seven engraved strokes became the logo of the Cathedral of Hop and Beer Association, the aim of which is to give publicity to the uniqueness of the Žatec hop region.
The smallest hop - field in the world
A local rarity, the smallest hop - field in the world, has been standing on the site of the Church of the Holy Rood since 1967. The church was replaced by a police station in the 18th century. The latter was replaced by the monument to the emperor Josef II. in 1882. His statue was pulled down and thrown into the river Ohře in 1919. In 1930 the empty pedestal was adorned by a bronze lion - a memorial commemorating the victims of World War I.

The Hop Institute Ltd.
The Research Hop Institute was founded in 1952. The present Hop Institute Ltd. has been placed in this building since 1974. The breeding hop gardens are part of its premises. The main aim of the research establishment is to study genetics of the hop, its cultivation, it is engaged in the research of hop pests and it also devices the hop plants protection systems. The Institute is the only producer of new hop species in the Czech republic. There is also an experimental brewery where is a beer kettle with a capacity of 60 litres.

W from Prague – 1,5 hours to drive

Trips :
1)Zatec town and hop museum trip number CWW13 – 6-8 hour round trip

Trips combinations :

2)Zatec town and hop museum CWW13 + Terezin NW3 - 8-9hour round trip
3)Zatec town and hop museum CWW13 + Nelahozeves castle NW1 – 8-9hour round trip
4)Zatec town and hop museum CWW13 + Lidice WW2 memorialW2 - 8hour round trip
5)Zatec town and hop museum CWW13 + Karlovy Vary CWW2 - 11-12hour round trip
6)Zatec hop making center CWW13 + Kafka´s village CB3 - 8 hour round trip

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Last updated on Feb 11, 2011