Official Pages of Town Policka


History of the town

Polička was founded in 1265 at the behest of King Přemysl Otakar II of Bohemia. The town became one of the pillars of the kingdom as it protected the trade routes connecting Bohemia and Moravia.

           In the second half of the 14th century the town was paved, and a gothic town hall was built in the middle of the square. Building of the fortifications surrounding the town, designed to protect the town against enemy attacks, began at the same period.

           Legend has it that the resourceful townspeople, in medieval times, withstood an enemy army’s siege by a cunning ploy. According to the story, the general of the attacking army resolved to let the townspeople starve. At the last moment, however, the townspeople duped the army by stuffing their last pig with millet and throwing it over the fortification walls as a sign of their abundant food supplies. The army gave up and pulled away, and the town was thus saved.

           As a royal town, Polička had significant privileges authorized by the king: the mileage right (the right to settle), the right to brew beer and the right to administer the law and execute miscreants. Such privileges demonstrate the importance of Polička in the Czech Kingdom.
            In the second half of the 16th century, the whole town was rebuilt in Renaissance style. Owing to the Great Fire of 1613, however, St. Michael’s Church is the only building that has survived that time.
          After the disastrous Thirty Years´ War, the town remained almost deserted. Nevertheless, a new phase of prosperity for Polička came during the 18th century. This period is known as the Golden Age of the Burghers of Polička, and the town became again one of the most attractive towns in Bohemia. In 1713 a plague column was erected in the square in gratitude for the deliverance of the inhabitants from a terrible epidemic. The sculptures decorating the column are works of Jiří Pacák, who also created the sculptures on the fountain. The new Baroque Town Hall was built between 1739 and 1744 to replace the old Gothic building.
           One of the town’s dominant buildings is the Church of St James, built in Neo-Gothic style in the years 1853-1865, after the old church burned down in a huge fire in 1845. A fire-watcher’s room was judiciously established in the tower of the new Church. There, high above the rooftops, Bohuslav Martinů was born.


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