Town Loket

The town of Loket

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Town Loket is situated in a meander of the river Ohře that flows around the raised place resembling bent arm – elbow, hence is the origin of the town’s name.

History of this town reaches into past times. The first written information is from 1234 but this strategically significant place was already settled by the Slaves in about the 6th century. The origin of the stone castle is about in the second half of the 12th century that is proved of some Romanesque parts of the castle.

Town with the castle was very important part of defence system of the Czech Kingdom. Czech monarchs were aware of importance of the town and granted the Loket inhabitants a lot of privileges. Přemysl Otakar II – the king, created the vassal system in connection with colonization. Vassals were freed from the all courts in the kingdom; they were subordinated only to the king, their property was hereditary, in case of need they were obligated to protect the castle. The town gained also new rights and privileges the same as the royal towns and cities.

Situation was changed during the reign of Emperor Sigismund who mortgaged the castle in 1434. Kašpar Šlik became an owner. It is a starting point of the disagreements; the Loket burghers did not like the Šliks cutting down their rights. Aiming fire was even used in this conflict. In 1437 most parts of town, a church and some parts of castle were destroyed. Property was confiscated the Šliks for their support of the estates uprising in 1547. Then the castle was mortgaged again. The castle was bought back by the burghers in 1598.

The Thirty Years’ War left its bad marks there. The burghers supported the Protestants and that is why they were punished with confiscation of the town’s property. The castle was administrated by emperor’s magistrate. Emperor’s military presence stayed there for three years. (1645 – 1648) Later the emperor gave the castle back to the town but it was used only for farming use. The great part of town, a church and a part of castle were destroyed by fire in 1725 again.

At the beginning of the 19th century the castle was rebuilt into a prison because of the requirement of the district and county court in Loket. Haidinger brothers founded the porcelain factory there. Also the town was rebuilt. The town gates were demolished, the square was changed due to new bridge from 1835; it was opened to traffic. Construction of railway connected Loket and Nové Sedlo in 1877. Museum was established in the former Margrave’s House in 1907. The first Czech school was opened in 1925. During occupation there was a prisoner of war camp. The capitulation was signed on 5th May and the town was controlled of the American army on 7th May 1945. The beginning of the famous era of open air theatre was in 1949. The historical centre became a conservation area in 1980. The castle has been in the town property since 1992.

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