31. 8. 2011
The Pilsen region is the Czech Republic`s gateway to the European Union as it borders Germany and the D5 motorway connecting Prague (and the rest of the CR) with the German motorway network runs through the entire region.
The Pilsen Region lies in the southwest of the Czech Republic. It borders the Karlovy Vary Region in the northwest, the Ústí Region in the north, the Central Bohemian Region in the northwest and the South Bohemian Region in the east. The longest border is with Germany (Bavaria) in the southwest. The region`s suitable position between Prague and west European countries makes it attractive both for investors and tourists.
The Pilsen Region has diverse natural conditions caused by its relief. The dominant natural phenomenon is the border mountain area in the southwest called the Bohemian Forest and the Pilsen Valley in the northeast of the region. The region has an immense development potential primarily due to its position, natural and human resources and ties to other regions. The region is divided into two parts: a highly industrialized north-eastern part with a strong engineering tradition around Pilsen and a more hilly and rural south-western part with smaller-sized manufacturing companies processing natural resources.
The region consists of seven districts – Domažlice, Klatovy, Pilsen–south, Pilsen–city, Pilsen–north, Rokycany and Tachov. There are 505 municipalities and their average area of 14.97 km2 is larger than the national average of 12,60 km2. The region is typical of a low density and a large number of small municipalities.
The Pilsen Region with its 550,000 inhabitants accounts for about 5.4 % of the Czech Republic´s population. Over 30 % of the region`s population is concentrated in the city of Pilsen, the largest city in the region, the industrial and administrative hub of the region with strong ties to Prague. The region has the second lowest density of population.
The region`s share on the national GDP is approx. 5.5 %. The region ranks fifth in the GDP production per capita, mainly due to a high economic performance of the city of Pilsen which creates nearly two thirds of the overall GDP in the Pilsen Region.
The region is heavily industrialized and the importance of the manufacturing sector has been steadily increasing. The most significant sectors include mechanical engineering, food processing, building materials and ceramics, energy production and distribution, metallurgy. Foreign companies represent approx. 3.4 % of all industrial enterprises in the region, which is two times more than the national average. The unemployemnt in the Pilsen Region has been relatively low in the long term.
The following companies have a significant effect on the economy of the region: Škoda Holding, the traditional transport engineering company,,Plzeňský Prazdroj founded in 1843, the biggest Czech beer exporter, a part of SABMiller; Stock Plzeň a.s., the biggest producer of spirits in the Czech Republic; Bohemia Sekt Českomoravská vinařská a.s. in Starý Plzenec, an important wine producer, Dioss Nýřany, producer of accumulators and batteries, Okula Nýrsko, traditional producer of optical frames for glasses; Lasselsberger ČR manufacturing ceramics; Solo Sirkárna in Sušice, the largest Czech matches producer; or Sklárna Heřmanova Huť producing beverage glass.
There are raw material resources on the region`s territory, such as coal, heat-resistant and ceramic clays, and building stone limestone. The conditions for farming are quite favourable as well. Agricultural land covers about 50.5 % of the total area, out of which arable land accounts for 68.7 %. Forests cover 39.6 % of the total area of the region, large forests are found in Šumava, Český les, and Brdská vrchovina. The volume of logged timber ranks the region second in the CR following only the South Bohemian Region with prevalent logging of coniferous trees.
The Czech Republic’s first municipal industrial zone set up in Pilsen in the early 1990s has been the most successful industrial park in the country, attracting investors from Japan, U.S.A, Germany, Great Britain, or the Netherlands, such as Panasonic, YAZAKI Wiring Technologies, Vishay Electronic, Alcoa Fujikura, Borgers, MD ELMONT, or Daikin Industries.
Districts Domažlice, Klatovy and Tachov have been using the European support programme of the cross–border cooperation since 1993. The municipalities in the border areas of the Czech Republic and Germany form two Euroregions: the Bohemian Forest- the Bavarian Forest–Mühlveiertel and Egrensis. Cross-border co-operation with Bavaria on the Euroregional basis helps moderate social-economic differences – it is the Domažlice and Klatovy Districts (Euroregion Šumava), and the Tachov District (Euroregion Egrensis) participating in the European Cross-border Co-operation Programme.
The region has favourable conditions for tourism. Pilsen offers many historical landmarks and natural points of interest, e. g. the Bolevec Lakes System, a unique late Gothic work. Tourists are also attracted by a dense network of recreation and hiking trails, zoological and botanical gardens in Pilsen and hills in its surroundings – Krkavec, Chlum and Sylván with observation towers.
As for other monuments of the cultural heritage, there are the Manětín baroque chateau, the Plasy Monastery (a historical site preserve), the remains of Radyně and Buben Gothic castles, the Kaceřov Renaissance chateau, remains of the Rabštejn nad Střelou castle, the Horšovský Týn Renaissance chateau, the water castle at Švihov, the Kozel chateau, the Nebílovy baroque chateau, the Lužany chateau, the Kladruby monastery, the Kašperk castle, remains of the Libštejn Gothic castle and many others. Also the town of Domažlice and its traditional summer Chod Festival attract attention of many visitors.