Hradec Kralove is the historical and cultural centre of East Bohemia.
The first signs of the settling of farmers here date from the 3rd century B.C. In the 10th century A.D., the settlement called Hradec (Castle) became a busy one. In 1225 Hradec became a free royal town. In the 14th century it became a dowry town of Czech queens, and later the word Králové (of Queens) was added to its name. A new landmark, the gothic cathedral of the Holy Spirit, arose in the town. Another outstanding monument, the renaissance White Tower, was built in its neighbourhood in 1580.
War events in the 18th century made it necessary to turn the town into a fortress. This halted the development of Hradec Králové for 100 years and had decisive influence on further building activity. The fortress was abandoned and dismantled in 1884.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the town embarked upon well-planned construction with the urban conception of famous Czech architects Jan Kotěra and Josef Gočár. The city reached its pinnacle of modern architecture during the twenties and thirties when it became one of the most beautiful and modern cities of the Czech Republic.
A number of prominent personages studied and worked in Hradec Králové, e.g. Karl Rokitansky, a pathologist of world-wide reputation and co-founder of the Second Vienna Medical School, was born here in 1804.
Hradec Králové (with about 100,000 inhabitants) is the home of the University of Hradec Králové, two faculties belonging to Charles University (the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Pharmacy) and the University of Defence (the Faculty of Military Health Sciences).
Hradec Králové is about 100 km far from the capital of our country - Prague and is easily accessible from Prague by bus, car or rail.