Zlín (in the years 1949–1989 Gottwaldov) is a statutory city in eastern Moravia. It lies in the valley of the river Dřevnice on the border of Hostýnské and Vizovické hills. It is the center of the Zlín Region and has approximately 75,000 inhabitants, with more than 100,000 inhabitants in its agglomeration.



Until 1894
The first written mention of the settlement of Zlín comes from 1322, when it was bought by Queen Eliška Rejčka and donated to the Brno monastery. Zlín was the craft-guild center of the surrounding Wallachian settlement. He received city rights in 1397 - these included the right to hold markets, brew beer, and the right to throat. During the Thirty Years' War, the inhabitants of Zlín took part in the Wallachian anti-Habsburg uprising. In 1622, the Zlín chateau was burned down and the surrounding buildings and farms were looted.

Zlín was the seat of the manor. Another manor house was located in the then independent town of Malenovice, which is now a part of Zlín. The Zlín estate changed many owners - the better known are the Šternberks in the pre-Hussite period, the Tetours in the 15th-16th centuries. century, Rottals after the Thirty Years' War, later Serényi and Bretton. The last private owner of the Zlín chateau was the Brno factory owner Leopold Haupt, from whom it was bought by the city of Zlín in 1929.

In the 19th century, the town was located on the border of three Moravian ethnographic regions: Wallachia, Slovácko and Haná. But it was closest in character to Wallachia. Until the end of the 19th century, Zlín did not differ much from other small Wallachian resorts, such as the neighboring town of Vizovice. After the establishment of the districts in 1850, Zlín was annexed to the judicial district of Napajedla and the political district of Uherské Hradiště. In the 19th century, the population did not exceed 3,000.

Baťa's era
When the siblings Tomáš, Antonín and Anna Baťa did not receive a permit (trade) for the production of footwear in the town of Uherské Hradiště in the early 1990s, they tried it in nearby Zlín. There they received a permit for leather processing and footwear production - in 1894 they founded a company in Zlín called "Antonín Baťa" (change from August 1, 1900 - the establishment of the public company "T & A Baťa") and with several employees began to build a company that very it soon outgrew the fame of what was then Austria-Hungary and later independent Czechoslovakia. Anna Baťová took over the company's economy, after several years of building the company together, and initially kept her brothers very short, because they used to sit in a nearby pub rather than focus on business and the company as such.

The first large order for military boots was received by the company Baťa from Austria-Hungary. It was a supply of footwear for 5,200 soldiers. By 1910, they were already producing 10,000 pairs. After the death of his oldest sibling Antonín (he died in 1908), Tomáš Baťa took over the management of the company. Over the next 25 years (during which he could go bankrupt several times), he built a prosperous and fast-growing business. Thanks to this fact, many inhabitants immigrated to the city, mainly from poor Wallachia, but also from Slovácko, Haná and more distant areas of Czechoslovakia. With the development of Zlín, the massive Wallachian emigration to Texas gradually came to an end.

Baťa's factory was helped by the First World War, when he was an important supplier of footwear for the Austrian army. He struggled victorious with the economic crises of 1922–1923 and 1929–1933 and developed into the world's largest footwear manufacturer with factories and stores in many dozens of countries around the world. In the years 1921–1930, the population of today's city increased from 14,470 to 34,348. After 1926, Zlín became a modern city center. Tomáš Baťa invited many renowned architects to Zlín (for example Le Corbusier), and so the city turned into an agglomeration full of functionalist architecture. Colonies of typical "Baťa" buildings grew - family houses, but also high-rise buildings. An example is the construction of the Social House, currently the Hotel Moskva, in the years 1931–1933.

At the height of the expansion of the Baťa Group, it was formally renamed. The company "T & A.Baťa" ceased to exist legally in 1931 and was transformed into a joint-stock company Baťa, a.s., Zlín. Tomáš Baťa (who tragically died on July 12, 1932 in a plane crash while flying to Switzerland for his then-minor son Tomáš) left his large business in a will to his half-brother Jan Antonín precisely because he felt an admirable, purposeful strong will in it. The kind their father had. Jan Antonín Baťa (died in 1965 abroad), his original name was Jan Karel, he later called himself Antonín after his father. Tomáš Baťa wrote about him: "… He was purposeful and courageous, because it was not easy for him, especially in South America."


The development of the city of Zlín and the company Baťa, a.s., Zlín, continued at an even higher pace than before. The most famous building from that time is the 77.5 m high skyscraper "Jednadvacítka" - the then headquarters of the Baťa company. This building was built between 1937 and 1938 according to the project of architect Vladimír Karfík and in addition to many advanced technical solutions (16-storey reinforced concrete skeleton built in 160 days, central air conditioning with control in individual offices) is known mainly by a "mobile" director's office in one of the elevators ( with telephone and running water). At the time of its creation, it was the second tallest non-church building in Europe. The President of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, also visited the city several times.

From 1923 until his death in a plane crash in 1932, Tomáš Baťa held the office of the mayor of Zlín and purposefully built a modern city "for 50,000 inhabitants". He focused not only on his factory and housing for workers (construction not only of the so-called working-class districts, such as Letná, Zálešná, Podvesná and Lesní districts and houses in Otrokovice, but also more luxurious family houses in Zlín for company executives), but also on commercial and the transport network, services, cultural and sports activities of the population. Many buildings built at the time boasted the adjective "best": for example, the largest department store, the largest hotel, the largest cinema (for 2,500 seated spectators), all taken "east of Frankfurt". Among the most important buildings in the city is the Tomas Bata Monument by architect František Lydia Gahura, which was opened a year after the death of Tomas Bata (1933) and is considered a masterpiece of Zlín architecture. It is remarkable that such buildings were built in a relatively small city, and not in metropolises such as Vienna or Berlin. Zlín of the 1930s is still considered an "architectural miracle" and a living textbook of functionalism. However, a number of other plans were thwarted by the war (eg the completion of the central Zlín Náměstí Práce, the Prague ‒ Zlín ‒ Košice railway or the Prague ‒ Zlín motorway, to which there are several torsion bridges in the Zlín region).

Sister Anna died in 1936. On October 1, 1935, a new political district of Zlín was established in accordance with Government Decree No. 104/1935 Coll., "Which changes the districts of some district offices in the Czech and Moravian-Silesian countries,". became a district town. During World War II, in 1944, the city was bombed. Already in 1945, Baťa's plants were nationalized.

Building socialism
From 1 January 1949, the town was renamed Gottwaldov in connection with the annexation of other municipalities according to the first communist president of Czechoslovakia, Klement Gottwald, but the central city district retained the name Zlín (full designation Gottwaldov I-Zlín). In the same year, the town became the seat of the Gottwald region, which disappeared during the further reform of the state administration in 1960. At that time, the Gottwald district was incorporated into the South Moravian region based in Brno.

Institutions with a history of Baťa continued their successful activities - for example, the Zlín film studios, which became famous for their animated works, especially Karel Zeman and Hermína Týrlová. Another example is one of the founders of Czech industrial design Zdeněk Kovář (ergonomic tools and machines, Tatra 603 and Tatra 138 cars). Zlín also became the home of the traveling couple Zikmund and Hanzelka. After 1968, the construction of the largest housing estate in Zlín, Jižní Svahy, began, which is still developing. Today, over 25,000 people live here.

Baťa's plants continued to produce footwear under the name Svit n. P. In the 1980s, they were a group company, which also included the plants in Třebíč, Zruč nad Sázavou and Botana Skuteč. In Zlín alone, more than 20,000 employees worked in the concern at the time and produced over 20 million pairs of shoes. Most of the production (about 60% of production) went to exports to the CMEA countries, mainly to the Soviet Union. The footwear was also exported to the west, including the USA (approx. 20%) and to the domestic market. Most of the machine production continued in ZPS (Precision Engineering Plants), which had a good reputation especially in machine tools. The production of tires was operated by the national company Rudý říjen. In 1975, the construction of the largest tire plant in the socialist countries was completed in nearby Otrokovice. In the 1990s, the company returned to the original name BARUM (formerly BAta RUbber Manufacturing) and today is an important part of the Continental Group. In 1990, the population reached almost 90,000.

90s and the turn of the century

In December 1989, Tomáš Baťa Jr. visited Gottwald. He got acquainted with both the Svit and ZPS complex, and also visited the Barum company in Otrokovice. He was very satisfied with the level of production in footwear and tires and was also surprised with the level of management and technical equipment of the companies. On January 1, 1990, the town of Gottwaldov was renamed back to Zlín. Since November 24, 1990, Zlín has been a statutory city. In the 1990s, private business developed in the city (the Zlín region then had the most entrepreneurs per capita), but at the same time some smaller companies also disappeared (eg Lacrum dairy, slaughterhouses). and more). The state enterprise Svit a. S. Zlín stopped the production of footwear in 2000 due to the announcement of bankruptcy. The reason was unpaid state receivables from the countries of the Union of Post-Soviet States, concentrated in the Commonwealth of Independent States, which arose in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR. In the city, which was once the center of the footwear industry, today only a handful of companies with several hundred employees are engaged in the production of footwear. ZPS maintains engineering production outside the main company premises. There is also a company MITAS in the Zlín area, dealing with the production of large tires and other rubber production. The division of Czechoslovakia also had a significant negative effect: Zlín became a border area from the central region, trade and transport to the east fell sharply, and unemployment rose sharply throughout the region. At present, however, unemployment in Zlín is below the national average. In 2010, the city was connected to the motorway network via the R55 expressway (since 2016 as the D55 motorway).

After 1990, several former parts of Zlín (Lhota, Lípa, Tečovice, Karlovice, Březnice and Ostrata) became independent from the town. As of January 1, 2009, based on the referendum of May 17, 2008, Želechovice nad Dřevnicí became independent. Requirements for the establishment of settlement committees or directly self-governing city districts in the outskirts of Zlín have also increased. In 2010, the MOR (Moral Cleansing of the Town Hall) movement entered the council, which had the establishment of self-governing city districts in Příluky, Malenovice, Vršava, Klečůvka or Lužkovice as one of the key points in its election program, but did not promote this intention in its coalition partners. , so the program statement of the council included only an indefinite strengthening of the powers of the city districts. There were practically no changes, and in the end the compromise proposal to strengthen the powers of local commissions did not pass in the council. The M. O. R. movement disintegrated under the influence of this failure, and some of its politicians left the movement and the city council. The establishment of city districts was promoted, for example, by Deputy Mayor Bedřich Landsfeld or Eva Štauderová and Pavel Jungmann, opponents were, for example, Mayor Miroslav Adámek (non-party member for TOP09 and STAN) or opposition representative Martin Mikeska from the CSSD. In 2001, the Tomas Bata University was founded (it has less than 10,000 students) and the self-governing Zlín Region was established.


Today's Zlín
Today, Zlín is not only the seat of the Zlín Region, but especially an important industrial, commercial and cultural center of Eastern Moravia. The city is home to a large number of high schools and also Tomas Bata University. There are three hospitals, including the T. Bata Regional Hospital. In 2025, it should be replaced by a new modern hospital in Malenovice. Due to the regional position, there is a branch of the Brno Regional Court in Zlín in addition to the district court. The regional Czech Radio Zlín broadcasts from Zlín.

Zlín presented itself in New York in 2008 through the exhibition ZLÍNY (Zlín in New York). A promotional film of Zlín was created for this exhibition, which mapped its present.

In May 2008, the Golden Apple shopping and entertainment center was completed on Zlín's Peace Square. It is located on the site of the former historic Záložny building. During the construction of this center, one of the conditions was to preserve the front of the house due to its historical significance for the city of Zlín.