Louny (Czech pronunciation: [ˈlounɪ]; German: Laun) is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 18,000 inhabitants. It lies on the river Ohře. The town centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument zone.
Villages of Brloh and Nečichy are administrative parts of Louny. Brloh forms an exclave of the municipal territory.
The origin of the name Louny is unclear. Older theories, which are less likely, link the name to the personal name Lún, to the Czech word lůno (literally "womb", but here meaning "valley"), to the bird luňák (i.e. "kite"), or even to the Celtic word louwn ("lawn"). More modern and more likely theories attribute the origin of the name to the Old Czech words lunúti ("to flow fast") and lúňa / lúna ("current"), which refer to the local flow of the Ohře River.
Louny is located about 38 kilometres (24 mi) southeast of Ústí nad Labem and 49 km (30 mi) northwest of Prague. It lies mostly in the Lower Eger Table, but a small northern part of the municipal territory extends into the Central Bohemian Uplands and includes the highest point of Louny at 301 metres (988 ft) above sea level. The Ohře River flows through the town.
Already at the turn of the 11th–12th centuries there was a settlement named Luna, located on the site of today's Church of Saint Peter. The first written mention of the settlement is from 1115, when it was a property of Kladruby Abbey. In the 1260s, a royal town was founded at its place by King Ottokar II of Bohemia. It was located on two important traffic routes, river Ohře and the road from Prague to Nuremberg. Together with the town a Benedictine monastery was founded, but it was destroyed during the Hussite Wars.
The town rapidly developed in the 15th century, when Church of Saint Peter, Church of the Mother of God and town fortifications were built. After a fire in 1517, the town was severely damaged and had to be rebuilt, and a new church (Church of Saint Nicholas) was built.
During the 19th century and then in the 1960s and 1970s, there was extensive demolitions in the historical town and many valuable Renaissance houses and parts of town fortifications were destroyed. The economic development of Louny occurred in the second half of the 19th century, when railway repair shops, sugar factory, brewery, slaughterhouses, mills and financial institutions were founded. After 1945, industrialisation of Louny continued.
The town lies on a railway junction and a factory for overhauling railway engines and rolling stock, later known as Heavy Machinery Services, was established in 1873. It was a major employer and contributed to the town's expansion during the early 20th century. The company was the town's largest employer until 2014, when it went bankrupt. Since 2019, the industrial complex is rented to the DAKO-CZ company, which is a brake system manufacturer for rolling stock.
Other industries include a brewery (from the hops which are grown in the region) and a factory making porcelain electrical insulators for power cables. The largest employer with headquarters in Louny is Fujikoki Czech s.r.o. company, producer of thermostatic expansion valves used in car air conditioners.
The most important architectural feature is Roman Catholic Church of Saint Nicholas, built in the late Gothic style in 1519–1538. One of the architects was Benedikt Rejt. It incorporates a tower from an earlier church which was otherwise destroyed along with most of the town by a major fire in 1517. Other significant churches in the town are Church of Saint Peter from the 14th–15th century, Church of the Mother of God from 1493 and Church of Fourteen Holy Helpers from 1716.
The historic centre of Louny forms Mírové Square and its surroundings. The town hall on the square is a Neo-Renaissance building from 1887. The most valuable building on the square is a Renaissance house, today the seat of the district archive.
Parts of the town ramparts remain, as does the Žatec Gate which dates from 1500.
- Jaroslav Vrchlický (1853–1912), poet
- Václav Hlavatý (1894–1969), mathematician
- Otakar Jaroš (1912–1943), officer in the Czechoslovak forces in the Soviet Union
- Božena Kacerovská (1880–1970), opera singer
- Zdeněk Sýkora (1920–2011), painter
- Milan Kymlička (1936–2008), arranger, composer and conductor
- Karolína Plíšková (born 1992), tennis player
- Kristýna Plíšková (born 1992), tennis player
Twin towns – sister cities
- ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2022". Czech Statistical Office. 2022-04-29.
- ^ "Lexikální a etymologické drobnosti VI.: Louny" (in Czech). Institute of the Czech Language. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
- ^ a b "Město" (in Czech). Město Louny. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- ^ a b c d e "Dějiny města" (in Czech). Město Louny. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm Klein, 1967
- ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Louny" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 2015-12-21. pp. 7–8.
- ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 2021-03-27.
- ^ "Areál lounské vagonky si pronajme DAKO-CZ. Práci nabízí i zaměstnancům zkrachovalého podniku" (in Czech). E15. 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- ^ "O společnosti" (in Czech). Fujikoki Czech s.r.o. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- ^ "Žatecká brána v Lounech" (in Czech). CzechTourism. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Město Louny. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- Official website
- History of the Louny Parish (in English)
- Blšany u Loun
- Krásný Dvůr
- Nová Ves
- Nové Sedlo
- Panenský Týnec
- Podbořanský Rohozec
- Vrbno nad Lesy