The region of South Bohemia

Covering 10,056 km2, i.e. 12.8% of the land area of the entire country, South Bohemia is the second largest region of the Czech Republic with quite a few neighbors: the Pilsen Region to the west; the Central Bohemia Region to the north, the Vysočina (or Highland) Region to the north-east and a short section of boundary with South Moravia Region in the east. The southern boundary is shared with the federal state of Upper Austria, the south-eastern section with Lower Austria and the south-western border with the German federal state of Bavaria.

The region is a home to 637 472 people, with the population density being the smallest in the country - 63.4 persons per square kilometer. Out of the region's 623 communities 53 are towns. The region is divided into 7 districts, namely:

České Budějovice (number of communities: 109),

Český Krumlov (number of communities: 45),

Jindřichův Hradec (number of communities: 106),

Písek (number of communities: 75),

Prachatice (number of communities: 65),

Strakonice (number of communities: 112),

Tábor (number of communities: 110).

The district of České Budějovice, the most populous of the districts, encompasses almost 30% of the region's dwellers, who are concentrated primarily in the regional capital city of České Budějovice with its nearly 100 thousand inhabitants. The other end of population density scale is occupied by the district of Prachatice.

Having lots of lush vegetation, clean air, safe environment and friendly people, the region of South Bohemia is a place particularly suitable for free-time activities and tourism.

The region is governed by the Regional Assembly, a body authoritative in the matters of independent power as opposed to delegated power. In matters of the delegated power, the Assembly acts only when the law so allows. The South Bohemian Assembly has 55 members elected for four years and the members are positioned as public servants. The Assembly meets as needed, but no less often than once in 3 months.

The executive authority in the matters of independent power rests with the Council, a body reporting to the Assembly. The Council can also rule on the matters of delegated power, but only when the law so allows. The Council consists of the governor, his (or her) deputies and the other members elected from within the Assembly.

On April 27, 2017, the Governor of the South Bohemian Region was elected Mrs. Ivana Stráská who replaced Mr. Jiri Zimola. 

The Regional Authority (1) copes independently with tasks entrusted to it by the Assembly and the Council and (2) assists the relevant committees and commissions. The Council is allowed to assign the Regional Authority only tasks from within its legally granted terms of reference.  The Regional Authority exercises the delegated power, save for matters legally entrusted to the Assembly, to the Council or to a specialized agency. The Regional Authority is governed by a director who manages all the Authority's staff members and checks their performance.

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South Bohemian nature and landscape

Surrounded by the hilltops of Central Bohemia Highland and Bohemian & Moravian Highland together with the Novohradské hory mountain range stretched along the Austrian border, the South Bohemian landscape is noted for a wealth of ponds and picturesque villages dotting the area between two basins - those of České Budějovice and Třeboň. The south-western boundary is guarded by the Šumava range, the highest but one in Bohemia. The regional highest point is the top of Plechý (1378 m a.s.l.), while the lowest altitude (350 m a.s.l.) belongs to the waters of the Orlická dam reservoir. The average elevation above sea level keeps between 400 and 600 m.

The Šumava mountain range emerges also as the largest natural reserve, safeguarded on two counts: as a Protected Landscape Area (PLA) and as a national park. Šumava is included in the Cross-Border Biospheric Reservation named Šumava - Bavarian Forest. Another major biospheric reservation is the Třeboň area, Novohradské hory mountain range and the PLA of Blanský Forest.

South Bohemian economy

South Bohemia has deposits of sandy gravel, building stone and brick clay, and extracted are also pottery clay, limestone and graphite, though these to a lesser extent. The most important natural wealth, however, are the local forests that cover over one third (37%) of the entire area of the region. That is why forestry and wood industry played such a prominent role in the region's history.

Deposits of quartz and silica sand gave rise to the local glass-making industry. Another economy sectors of significance were, and still are, agriculture and fish farming. Unfortunately, the natural conditions and the remoteness of the region proved prohibitive for building adequate transportation infrastructure, stalled any further development of the already existing industries and hampered the introduction of new ones (paper making). The bulk of industrial production is centered around the city of České Budějovice, in Písek and the Strakonice area. The remaining portion of South Bohemia still relies mainly on agriculture.

South Bohemian industry

After 1948 the region started to build plants and factories focused first and foremost on machinery, e.g. Motor České Budějovice, ZVVZ Milevsko and ČZ Strakonice, to name just a few. The industries thus being built honored the local traditions, as is particularly true of the wood processing industry (Jitona Soběslav, South Bohemian Wood Plant), textile industry (Jitex Písek, Otavan Třeboň, Šumavan Vimperk, Jitka Jindřichův Hradec, Fezko Strakonice) and food industry (South Bohemian Dairy).

Since the industrial production was historically concentrated in cities, the current distribution of industrial and commercial areas follows their pattern, with the major industrial hubs being the town of České Budějovice and its vicinity plus the districts of Tábor and Strakonice. The processing industries prevail: vehicles, machines, electrical components, foodstuffs & beverages, textile & clothing industries. The duty of a new source of energy has been undertaken by the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant.

A factor of importance can recently be seen in the proximity of economically well developed countries - Austria and Germany. This advantageous geographic location is effectively harnessed through the membership of South Bohemia in the Danube - Vltava European Region, a group of seven regions (South Bohemia, Pilsen Region, Vysočina Region, the Federal State of Upper Austria, the Federal State of Lower Austria, the Federal State of Upper Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate) disposed in three countries (the Czech Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Austria).

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South Bohemian agriculture

The key role is still played by the primary sector, i.e. agriculture, forestry and fish farming. The percentage of people employed in South Bohemian agriculture (8.9%) comes second only to the figure encountered in the Vysočina Region.

South Bohemian crop production is oriented towards growing cereals, oil plants (rape), potatoes and fruit (cherries, apples, currants and prunes).

As regards livestock, cattle, poultry and pigs prevail. A pursuit of long tradition in South Bohemia is fish farming. Managing 25,000 hectare of ponds, the region outputs over a half of the Czech Republic fish production. A matter of significance is the production of wood, especially spruce and pine wood. + photographs

Tourism in South Bohemia

The region is a popular tourist destination and holiday resort. The recent years have witnessed tourism to contribute the largest share to the growth figure of entrepreneurial activities. Second only to the Capital City of Prague, the region of South Bohemia offers the highest number of beds (47,929) and belongs to the CR regions most favored by tourists.

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Science & education in South Bohemia

In some areas of science & research, the region's position is strong, supported also by the institutes of CR Academy of Sciences (AV ČR). The public educational, scientific and research  facilities are concentrated primarily in the economic hub of the region - in the city of České Budějovice. A widespread network of centers specialized mostly in the basic and applied research in natural sciences covers the areas of Třeboň, Nové Hrady, Vodňany and Jindřichův Hradec. The local centers of natural sciences can make a claim to importance within the Czech Republic, and in some special cases even to the worldwide significance.

As mentioned above, South Bohemia is a home region to a number of educational, scientific and research institutions, most outstandingly the University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice. It is a public institution of higher learning of the university type consisting of seven Faculties (Science; Economics; Philosophy; Education; Theology; Health & Social Studies and Agriculture) and two Institutes (Institute of Biophysics in Nové Hrady and Research Institute of Fish Culture & Hydrobiology in Vodňany). Worth mentioning is also the Biology Center of the Academy of Sciences stemming from the Academy's institutes pursuing research in general and applied entomology, hydrobiology-limnology, parasitology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, physiology and biology of plant pathogens, soil zoology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil micromorphology and ecology. The research results are used in nature conservation, environment protection, agriculture, water management, forestry and medicine.

Another school of import is the Institute of Technology & Business in České Budějovice currently offering baccalaureate and master degrees in economics, machinery, civil engineering, transportation and logistics. The last year of the Institute's study program has added a special term dedicated to technical training, a practice above and beyond the Czech Republic standard. At present, the school has concluded almost a thousand of general agreements on such training schemes wherein about 900 undergraduates participates every year. Consequently, the entire course of study is typical of close cooperation with companies carefully chosen to suit the specific branches of study.