Plzeň

City Plzeň has population of 170.000 inhabitans, the city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer.
Plzeň is a centre of academic, business, and cultural life for the western part of the Czech Republic. The University of West Bohemia in Plzeň is well known for its School of Law, School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Applied Science in particular.
In the second half of the 19th century Plzeň, already an important trade centre for Bohemia, near the Bavarian/German border, began to industrialise rapidly. In 1869 Emil Škoda started up the Škoda Works, which became the most important and influential engineering company in the country and a crucial supplier of arms to the Austro-Hungarian Army. By 1917 the Škoda Works employed over 30,000 workers. After 1898 the second largest employer was the National Railways train workshop, with about 2,000 employees: this was the largest rail repair shop in all Austria-Hungary. Between 1861 and 1877, the Plzeň railway junction was completed and in 1899 the first tram line started in the city. This burst of industry had two important effects: the growth of the local Czech (Slavic) population.
Since the late 1990s the city has experienced high growth in foreign investment. In 2007, Israeli mall developer Plaza Centers opened the Pilsen Plaza, a 20,000 m2 (4.9 acres) shopping mall and entertainment centre featuring a multiplex cinema from Cinema City Czech Republic.
Plzeň produces about two-thirds of the Plzeň Region GDP, even though it contains only 29.8% of its population.[7] Based on these figures, the city of Plzeň has a total GDP of approximately $7.2 billion, and a per capita GDP of $44,000. While part of this is explained by commuters to the city, it is one of the most prosperous cities in the Czech Republic.
The Škoda company, established in Plzeň in 1859, has been an important element of Austro-Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Czech engineering, and one of the biggest European arms factories. During the Communist era (1948–1989) the company’s production had been directed to the needs of the Eastern Bloc. Disarray in the era after the Velvet Revolution, and unsuccessful efforts to gain new Western markets, resulted in sales problems and debts. After a huge restructuring process the company now has just two principal subsidiaries: Škoda Transportation (locomotives, underground trains and trams, which have been sold to Portland, Oregon; Tacoma; Seattle and Sardinia) and Škoda Power (turbines) now owned by the UK company.
Many foreign companies now have manufacturing bases in Plzeň, including Daikin and Panasonic. There has been much discussion of redeveloping those large areas of the Škoda plant which the company no longer uses.
Plzeň also has the biggest distillery (Stock) in the Czech Republic.