Svitavy is the capital and largest town in the Svitavy District in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. It is the birthplace of Oskar Schindler and an important center of the Czech Esperanto movement, with an Esperanto museum that is part of the city museum.
Svitavy began its history in the 12th century. Sometime in the middle of the 12th century monks from Litomyšl founded a settlement with a church along trade routes, and named it after the local stream known as Svitava. The church was consecrated to St Giles, and the territory was added to estates owned by the Litomyšl monastery. In the middle of the 13th century German settlers were invited by Olomouc bishop Bruno of Schauenburk to develop local forest lands.
Svitavy has a valuable historical core, which includes the elongated main square with the second longest arcade in the Czech Republic and a collection of architecturally noteworthy civic buildings, several churches, remains of city walls, and baroque statues.