Beroun in central Bohemia has been named the Czech Republic’s “historic town of the year” for 2009. The award goes for care of historical sites and comes with a cash prize of CZK 1 million (nearly USD 55,000). Accepting the honour at a ceremony at Prague Castle on Wednesday, Beroun’s mayor Jiří Besser thanked the team who had contributed to its rebirth after what he called “socialist devastation” and severe flooding in 2002. The runners-up spots in the competition went to Jilemnice and Uherské Hradiště.
Polna in south Moravia has been named the historical town of the year by the Association of Czech Historical Settlements. The town in the Bohemian-Moravian highlands won the award for preparing and implementing the best revitalisation project for an urban conservation area. The town, which has a population of 5,000 people, will receive a prize of one million Czech crowns (nearly 50,000 USD). The urban conservation area in Polna includes restored houses, a chateau and castle, a brewery, schools, an old hospital, churches, a square and a former Jewish district with a synagogue and other protected historical buildings. A total of 45 Czech towns took part in the competition.
The small, picturesque town of Ceska Kamenice is situated in northern Bohemia, about 105 km away from Prague. It is a late gothic town on the river Kamenice, where three protected landscapes - the Lusatian Mountains, Czech Switzerland and the Bohemian Central Highlands - meet. Despite its modest population of 5,500, the town has 34 monuments, the care of which earned it the title "Historic Town of the Year" for 2005.
Every year the Association of Historic Towns and Villages in the Czech Republic holds a competition, to award the town it feels has done most to preserve its architectural heritage. Dozens of towns traditionally take part but only one can win the prize which includes a cheque for 1,000, 000 crowns (around 43,000 US dollars). This year the award went to north Bohemia's Ceska Kamenice.