Chotěboř (German: Chotieborsch) is a town in the district of Havlíčkův Brod in the Vysočina Region, 14 km northeast of Havlíčkův Brod. The river Doubrava flows east of Chotěboř. It is located on 5,405 hectares at an altitude of 515 m above sea level. Approximately 9,200 inhabitants live here. The historic core of the city is a city monument zone.
The town is located on the western edge of the
Bohemian-Moravian Highlands in an area with silver and uranium ore.
In these places there was a turnoff from the Libická trail (Čáslav –
Žďár nad Sázavou) towards Smilův Brod. According to surviving finds,
the original settlement with a church stood in the 12th century. The
name of the village is derived from Chotěbor's court, it was
probably Chotěbor from Vchynice.
The first documented written mention is from 1265, when the owner of the estate Smil of Lichtenburg donated the chapel of St. Of St. James the Greater Monastery in Žďár nad Sázavou. Successful mining led to the development of the settlement and later to its promotion to the town of Chotebors civitas in 1278 during the reign of King Přemysl Otakar II. The Czech King Jan of Luxembourg bought the town in 1329 and in 1331 it was promoted to a town by granting it the right to Jihlava. During the reign of his successor Charles IV. in 1350 Chotěboř was granted the town emblem (emblem of the lands of the Czech Crown) and in 1356 permission to build walls. As a dowry town of Czech queens, Chotěboř was owned by the royal family until 1393.
The turbulent history was experienced by local citizens during the Hussite wars. First, the town was conquered and damaged in January 1421 by the priest of Tábor, Petr Hromádka from Jistebnice. Soon, however, the city was besieged by Catholic troops, and the local Hussite garrison surrendered on February 2, 1421, for the promise of free departure. However, the besiegers did not keep their word and burned 300 prisoners in the barn. A small monument commemorates the tragic event.
The town flourished during the
reign of the Trčeks of Lípa, who owned the town in the years
1497–1634, when they fell to Emperor Ferdinand II during the Thirty
Years' War. in disgrace and their estate was confiscated. Chotěboř
was then donated to Jaroslav Sezim Rašín of Rýzmburk, when he
willingly betrayed Albrecht of Valdštejn's negotiations with the
Swedes. Sezima was even promoted to lordship in 1638. He died in the
same year and his son Rudolf Karel Rašín took over the Chotěboř
estate, trying to squeeze as much out of the city as possible. Until
then, Chotěboř gave its Meissen kopecks a year to its lords, but
that was not enough for him. The dissatisfaction of the townspeople,
but also of the subjects in general, did not arise for the
previously determined payments and obligations, but for their
disproportionate or trickery increase. The Chotěboř family therefore
entered into a "dispute" with Rašín. However, Rudolf Karel Rašín
increased his demands in another direction - he forced the
townspeople to buy beer only from his brewery. Rašín also occupied
land for the townspeople and exchanged them for worse and less
profitable ones. Complaints from Chotěboř came to the governor's
office and reconciliation was to be negotiated in 1657 by two royal
commissars, of course nobles. The compromise was not very
advantageous for Chotěboř, the city finally had to commit to take
150 barrels of beer from the manorial brewery, ie about 340
hectoliters. 20 tailors had to pay for each bucket of wine (56.6
liters). Rudolf Karel Rašín lived in luxury at the chateau, he even
survived eight girls, two chefs, a total of 15 servants. In 1654,
the Visitation Commission found out that Chotěboř had 700
inhabitants who contributed to the well-being of the chateau
aristocrat. Lock - see below.
Exiles: As well as from the surrounding villages (Skryje, Podmoky, etc.), secret non-Catholics from Chotěboř went into exile during the post-White Mountain period. Matěj Sequens, a cloth companion, demonstrably fled to Prussian Silesia. On February 11, 1776, he married in Münsterberg, where he later became a burgher, draper and elder of the Czech choir. Ferdinand Hrejsa also mentions non-Catholics Martin and Ondřej Sequens from Chotěboř (year 1757, brothers).
The development of the city in the 19th century was also influenced by fires in 1800 and especially in 1832, when most of the houses on the square, the inner city and the suburbs were destroyed. The new stone houses no longer had arcades and the remaining gates, the last remnants of the medieval fortifications, were also demolished. After the turbulent events in the middle of the 19th century and subsequent reorganizations, the District Court in Chotěboř was established in 1849, falling under the Regional Court in Kutná Hora. In 1850, the District Governor's Office for the Chotěboř and Habry judicial districts was established.
The cultural and social life of that time was also rich.
Unsatisfactory two-class and later four-class school was relocated
to a new building (the foundation stone was laid in 1865, teaching
since 1869), later followed by a boys '(1876) and girls' (1890)
burgher school, grammar school (founded in 1913, in its own building
since 1920), Secondary Agricultural Technical School (1960) -
today a business academy and a higher vocational school. Gradually,
various associations were formed - the still existing Mixed Choir
Doubravan (1862), the Palacký Theater Association (1869–1914), the
voluntary fire brigade (1878), the Sokol Unit (1882), the town
museum of local lore (1885), etc.
From the economic point of view, Chotěboř was for a long time an agricultural town. The gradual development of industry (especially textile and woodworking) was helped, among other things, by the establishment of a post office (1850), which ensured the transport of passengers and consignments by horse-drawn carriage (to Golčov Jeníkov and Hlinsko), construction of a road to Německý Brod (1868), completion of the Německý Brod railway line. Rosice nad Labem (1871), commissioning of the municipal power plant (1911) and introduction of bus lines (1923).
The largest textile factory was Antonín Klazar's factory, where carpets were made. In 1936, this factory was bought by Vilém Eckhard, who moved the production of filters for gas masks from Prague to Chotěboř. Fifty workers moved with him to Chotěboř. The company prospered, exporting to France and Yugoslavia. In 1939, the company already had 732 employees. During the Second World War, 2,515 workers worked here, mainly producing gas masks.
After the war, the factory was nationalized and renamed the Chotěbořská kovodělné závody, but Mr. Eckhard remained in the management of the company until 1949, when he was arrested. Then he emigrated.
Since the 1950s, the factory has been producing machines for the food industry (eg for dairies and breweries). Since 1968, the factory has been called Chotěbořské strojírny.
Of the modern industrial enterprises, it is worth mentioning the Plant of Electrothermal Equipment (ZEZ) Prague, whose subsidiary in Chotěboř was engaged in research and development of medium-frequency induction heaters for forges and industrial handling robots (today Roboterm). In the years 1955–1959, uranium ore was mined in the vicinity of the nearby Horní mlýn. Later geological surveys in the 1990s confirmed unprofitability and mining did not resume. In 2009, the newly built Chotěboř Brewery started operating.
The last sad chapter in the history of the city was the end of World War II. On May 5, 1945, the insurgents occupied the city, disarmed the local German division and then took over the ammunition depot in nearby Bílek. From there, two cars were sent with a team against German troops in the area of Ždírec and Krucemburk. Near Sobíňov, however, they came across a large German transport. There was a shootout with tragic consequences - 29 fallen Czechs and 7 wounded. German troops then occupied the city and brutally took revenge until May 9, when they began to move towards Caslav.
Since 1961, Bílek has belonged here as a local part.