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From top: Republic Square, Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, Renaissance City hall, Great Synagogue, Techmania Science Center, Lochotín park, New Theatre, Prazdroj brewery gate, brewery water tower.
Flag of Plzen.svg
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Coat of arms
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Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 49°44′51″N13°22′39″E / 49.74750°N 13.37750°E / 49.74750; 13.37750 Coordinates: 49°44′51″N13°22′39″E / 49.74750°N 13.37750°E / 49.74750; 13.37750
CountryFlag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic
Region Plzeň
District Plzeň-City
First mentioned976
PartsPlzeň 1-Bolevec, Plzeň 2-Slovany, Plzeň 3-Bory, Plzeň 4-Doubravka, Plzeň 5-Křimice, Plzeň 6-Litice, Plzeň 7-Radčice, Plzeň 8-Černice, Plzeň 9-Malesice, Plzeň 10-Lhota
  Mayor Martin Baxa (ODS)
  Total137.65 km2 (53.15 sq mi)
310 m (1,020 ft)
 (2021-01-01) [1]
  Density1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
301 00 – 326 00

Plzeň (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpl̩zɛɲ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); German and English: Pilsen, /ˈpɪlzən/ , Loudspeaker.svg German pronunciation  ) is a city in the Czech Republic. About 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of Prague in western Bohemia, it is the fourth most populous city in the Czech Republic with about 175,000 inhabitants.


The city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer, created by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll in the city in 1842.


Early history

Great Synagogue in Plzen Great Synagogue in Pilsen-2010.jpg
Great Synagogue in Plzeň

Plzeň was first mentioned as a castle in 976, as the scene of a battle between Duke Boleslaus II the Pious of Bohemia and Emperor Otto II. It became a town in 1295 when King Wenceslaus II granted Plzeň its civic charter as a "Royal City" and established a new town site, some 10 km (6 mi) away from the original settlement, which is the current town of Starý Plzenec. It quickly became an important town on trade routes leading to Nuremberg and Regensburg; in the 14th century, it was the third-largest town in Bohemia after Prague and Kutná Hora.

During the Hussite Wars, it was the centre of Catholic resistance to the Hussites: Prokop the Great unsuccessfully besieged it three times, and it joined the league of Catholic nobles against King George of Poděbrady. In 1468, the town acquired a printing press; the Trojan Chronicle (Czech : Kronika trojánská), the first book published in Bohemia, was printed on it.

17th century

Emperor Rudolf II made Plzeň his seat from 1599 to 1600. During the Thirty Years' War the town was taken by Mansfeld in 1618 after the Siege of Plzeň and it was not recaptured by Imperial troops until 1621. Wallenstein made it his winter quarters in 1633. The town was unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in 1637 and 1648. The town and region have been staunchly Catholic despite the Hussite Wars.

From the end of the 17th century, the architecture of Plzeň has been influenced by the Baroque style. The city centre has been under cultural heritage preservation since 1989.

19th century

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 and of the urban poor. After 1868 first Czech mayor of the city was elected.

World War II

Following Czechoslovak independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918 the German-speaking minority in the countryside bordering the city of Plzeň hoped to be united with Austria and were unhappy at being included in Czechoslovakia. Many allied themselves to the Nazis after 1933 in the hope that Adolf Hitler might be able to unite them with their German-speaking neighbours.

Following the Munich Agreement in 1938, Plzeň became literally a frontier town, after the creation of the Sudetenland moved the Third Reich borders to the city's outer limits. During the Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945, the Škoda Works in Pilsen was forced to provide armaments for the Wehrmacht, and Czech contributions, particularly in the field of tanks, were noted.

Between 17 and 26 January 1942, over 2,000 Jewish inhabitants, most of Plzeň's Jewish population, were deported by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The German-speaking population was forcibly expelled from the city and indeed all of the rest of Czechoslovakia after the end of the war in 1945, according to the provisions of the Potsdam Agreement. All of their property was confiscated.

On 6 May 1945, near the end of the Second World War, Plzeň was liberated from Nazi Germany by the 16th Armored Division of General George Patton's 3rd Army. Also participating in the liberation of the city were elements of the 97th and 2nd Infantry Divisions supported by the Polish Holy Cross Mountains Brigade. Other Third Army units liberated major portions of Western Bohemia. The rest of Czechoslovakia was liberated from German control by the Soviet Red Army. Elements of the 3rd Army, as well as units from the 1st Army, remained in Plzeň until late November 1945 to assist the Czechs with rebuilding.

Communist era

After the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état, the government launched a currency reform in 1953, which caused a wave of discontent, including the Plzeň uprising. On 1 June 1953, over 20,000 people, mainly workers at the Škoda Works, began protesting against the government. Protesters forced their way into the town hall and threw communist symbols, furniture and other objects out of the windows. The protest caused a retaliation from the government. As part of its retaliation, they destroyed the statue of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The statue has since been re-erected.

The next year, a West German homing pigeon was lost near the Czechoslovak border. It returned two days later, bearing a strong anticommunist message, signed "Unbowed Pilsen." The bird, named Leaping Lena, was taken to the United States, where it was celebrated as a Cold War hero. [2] [3] [4]


Historical population

Source: Historical lexicon of municipalities of the Czech Republic [5]

Significant minority groups
NationalityPopulation (2013)
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 3,284
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 2,648
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 2,190
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 1,504
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 802

Geography and climate

Plzeň has a cool and temperate Oceanic climate (Cfb). Plzeň has low rainfall (604 mm (24 in) year average) evenly spread over the year. Precipitation occurs on average every second day, and the number of days with thunderstorms is 19. It receives on average 1700 hours of sunshine though winters have longer periods without sunshine. Terrain features and a relatively low altitude (290 to 390 m (950 to 1,280 ft)) give some shelter from strong winds.

Winters are chilly but milder than some adjacent areas. Snow cover is erratic and lasts on average for 51 days. Though an average year has 113 days with minimum temperature below zero, the temperature falls below −15 °C (5 °F) on 5 days. The record low temperatures is around −20 °C (−4 °F). Winters are often murky with frequent long-standing haze. Spring is short, and in April to June there is blooming vegetation. Summer lasts from the end of May until the first third of September. During that period Plzeň has changeable weather which can be warm to hot. Temperatures are always above 5 degrees Celsius with nights between 8 to 18 °C (46 to 64 °F) and days between 16 to 35 °C (61 to 95 °F). Days are up to 16 hours long.

Plzeň can be hot, especially during heat waves originating in the southern Mediterranean. The number of hot days above 30 °C (86 °F) is steadily growing, with 5 months (late April – early September) of possible 30+ °C days. If hot weather does occur, it is often changes after a few weeks into cold and rainy weather with incoming Atlantic-based fronts. Nights can be unpleasantly cold even in summer, with high level of humidity. Winter frosts frequently occur from the second half of November to the end of March. February is the driest month with 32 mm (1.3 in) of precipitation, and July the wettest with 80 mm (3.1 in). The only natural hazards are occasional fast changes of weather with negative consequences, e.g. floodings.

Extreme values for years 2011 and 2012: An extremely cold day of 2011 had −7.6 °C (18.3 °F) on average (23 February), −0.7 to −13.3 °C (30.7 to 8.1 °F) and extremely hot day 25.2 °C (77.4 °F) on average (24 August, 19.5 to 32.8 °C (67.1 to 91.0 °F). The year 2012 had the coldest day on 12 February with minimum plummeting to −22.1 °C (−7.8 °F) and maximum around −3.7 °C (25.3 °F) with average −14.9 °C (5.2 °F). The hottest day of 2012 occurred on 21 August with daily maximum temperature 33.9 °C (93.0 °F) and minimum staying on 19.4 °C (66.9 °F) with all day average on 25.5 °C (77.9 °F). Absolute minimum and maximum for both years were −22.1 °C (−7.8 °F) (February 2012) and 37.4 °C (99.3 °F) during August 2012.

Number of rainy/snowy days for 2011: 78; number of days with frost: 76; number of days with minimal temperatures below −10 °C (14 °F): 12; number of days with average temperature below zero: 35; number of days with daily average temperature higher than 10 °C (50 °F): 188; number of days with daily average higher than 20 °C (68 °F): 32. Total amount of precipitation for year 2011: 529.1 mm (20.83 in); average year humidity value: 80.8%. Maximal temperature: 33.3 °C (91.9 °F); minimal temperature −14.8 °C (5.4 °F). Average 2011 temperature: 9.7 °C (49 °F); average speed of wind: 4.7 km/h (2.9 mph), mainly from SSE.

Number of days with frost was 96 during year 2012; 18 days had minima below −10 °C (14 °F) and 165 days with an average temperature on or above 10.0 °C (50.0 °F). Number of days with maxima on or above 20.0 °C (68.0 °F) was 42.

Climate data for Plzeň
Record high °C (°F)16
Average high °C (°F)0.6
Daily mean °C (°F)−2.2
Average low °C (°F)−4.9
Record low °C (°F)−24
Average precipitation days201517151414141212121719181
Source 1:
Source 2:

Pilsner beer

Traditional fermenting building (center) and modern fermenting building (left) Pilsner Urquell Brewery.jpg
Traditional fermenting building (center) and modern fermenting building (left)
Pilsner Urquell Pilsner.Urquell.JPG
Pilsner Urquell

In 1375 Bohemian king Charles IV endowed the Dobrow Monastery near Plzeň with the beer right, and it is one of the oldest breweries to survive to modern times. [6] [7] Many breweries were located in the interconnected deep cellars of the city. [8] [9]

The officials of Plzeň founded a city-owned brewery in 1839, Bürger Brauerei (Citizens' Brewery, now Plzeňský Prazdroj), [10] and recruited Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813–1887) who produced the first batch of modern Pilsner beer on 5 October 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops from nearby Žatec (Saaz in German) and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation. Improving transport meant that this new beer was soon available throughout Central Europe and Pilsner Brauart-style brewing was widely imitated.

In 1859, "Pilsner Bier" was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Plzeň. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquell trade mark was created to put emphasis on it being the original brewery.


Plzeň is a centre of business in the western part of the Czech Republic.

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-square-metre (220,000-square-foot) 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. [11] 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 was divided into several subsidiaries, which were later sold. The most important successors companies are Škoda Transportation and Doosan Škoda Power. [12]

Many foreign companies now have manufacturing bases in Plzeň, including Daikin, Hisense and Panasonic. There has been much discussion of redeveloping those large areas of the Škoda plant which the company no longer uses.

Stock, located in the Božkov district, is the biggest distillery in the Czech Republic.


Since 31 May 1993 Plzeň has been the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plzeň. The first bishop (current bishop emeritus) was František Radkovský. The current bishop is Tomáš Holub. The diocese covers an area with a total of 818,700 inhabitants.[ citation needed ] The diocesan see is in St. Bartholomew's Cathedral on Republiky Square in Plzeň. The diocese is divided into 10 vicariates with a total of 72 parishes.

The seat of the West Bohemian seniorate (literary presbytery; Central European protestant equivalent of a diocese) of Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren is currently set in Plzeň. The current senior is Miroslav Hamari, the preacher of Koranda parish congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Plzeň, commonly known as Koranda congregation located in the city centre of Plzeň. The senioral churchwarden is Josef Beneš, the parish churchwarden of the same congregation. There are two other parish congregations of Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in the Plzeň-City District – The Western congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Plzeň, known as The Western congregation located in the Western part of the city in the borough of Jižní předměstí and The Congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Chrást located in Chrást in the very east of Plzeň-City District.

The seat of Plzeň diocese of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church is located in Plzeň (although the bishop has resided in Mirovice for several years due to a reconstruction of episcopacy). The current bishop is Filip Štojdl.

The Czech Evangelical Lutheran Church is headquartered in Plzeň. [13] St. Paul's Lutheran Church is a church of the Czech Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plzeň. [14]

The other churches also present in Plzeň are the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic, the United Methodist Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Brethren, the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, the Greek Catholic Church, and others.


The University of West Bohemia in Plzeň is well known for its Faculty of Law, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Applied Science in particular.

Martin Luther Elementary School (Základní škola Martina Luthera) is a private Christian school of the Czech Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plzeň. [15] [16]


Doosan Arena Czech Republic 2 1 Iceland.jpg
Doosan Arena

The ice hockey club HC Škoda Plzeň plays in the Czech Extraliga. The team plays its home games at Home Monitoring Aréna. The football club FC Viktoria Plzeň plays in the Czech First League and belongs among the most successful clubs in the Czech Republic. Viktoria Plzeň has played in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. The team plays its home games at Doosan Arena. Handball club Talent Plzeň plays in the Czech Handball Extraliga.


St. Bartholomew's Cathedral Plzen 12.3.2012.jpg
St. Bartholomew's Cathedral

The most prominent sights of Plzeň are the Gothic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, founded in the late 13th century, whose tower, at 102 metres (335 feet), is the highest in the Czech Republic, the Renaissance Town Hall, and the Moorish Revival Great Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. There is also a 20 km (12 mi) historic tunnel and cellar network, among the longest in Central Europe. Part of this network is open to the public for tours of about 750 metres (2,500 feet) in length and down to a depth of 12 m (39 ft).

Built in 1532, the former water tower was integrated into the city's fortification system at Prague Gate. Another storey was added in 1822 in French Imperial style. The Gothic portal dating from the 1500s and coming from another house, which had been demolished, was added in 1912. Above the portal there is a commemorative plaque dedicated to Dr Josef Škoda (a professor at the Vienna University), who was born next door on 10 December 1805.

Plzeň is also well known for the Pilsner Urquell (since 1842) and Gambrinus (since 1869) breweries, currently owned by Asahi Group Holdings. A popular tourist attraction is the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery tour where visitors can discover the history of beer. The pilsener style of beer was developed in Plzeň in the 19th century.

Plzeň was a European Capital Of Culture in 2015, along with Mons in Belgium.



EVO2 tram in Plzen EVO2 v Plzni 20190910.jpg
EVO2 tram in Plzeň
Plzen main railway station Plzen main station 2019-09-12 01.jpg
Plzeň main railway station

Trams, trolleybuses and buses

The Plzeň metropolitan area is largely served by a network of trams, trolleybuses and buses operated by the PMDP. Like other continental European cities, tickets bought from vending machines or small shops are valid for any transport run by the city of Plzeň. For residents of the city, a Plzeň Card can be purchased and through a system of "topping up" be used on any public transport with no limitations, as long as it is paid up and valid. Tickets can be purchased in vehicles with a contactless smart card. [17]


Plzeň is an important centre of Czech railway transport, with the crossing of five main railway lines:

Plzeň main railway station (Plzeň hlavní nádraží) serves all five of these lines.


The most important transport link in the city is the D5 highway connecting Prague and Nuremberg.


A public domestic and private international airport is located 11 km south-west from Plzeň, at the nearby village of Líně.

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Plzeň is twinned with: [19]

Related Research Articles

Pilsner Type of pale lager

Pilsner is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from the Bohemian city of Pilsen (Plzeň), where it was first produced in 1842 by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll. The world's first pale lager, the original Pilsner Urquell, is still produced there today.

České Budějovice City in Czech Republic

České Budějovice is a city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 94,000 inhabitants. It is the largest city in the region and its political and commercial capital, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice, of the University of South Bohemia, and of the Academy of Sciences. It is in the valley of the Vltava River, at its confluence with the Malše. České Budějovice is famous for the Budweiser Budvar Brewery.

Pale lager

Pale lager is a very pale-to-golden-colored lager beer with a well-attenuated body and a varying degree of noble hop bitterness.

Pilsner Urquell Czech lager beer

Pilsner Urquell is a lager beer brewed by the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Plzeň, Czech Republic. Pilsner Urquell was the world's first pale lager, and its popularity meant it was much copied, and named pils, pilsner or pilsener. It is hopped with Saaz hops, a noble hop variety which is a key element in its flavour profile, as is the use of soft water. It is available in 330 ml, 355 ml and 500 ml aluminium cans and green or brown bottles.

Plzeň Region District of the Czech Republic

Plzeň Region is an administrative unit (kraj) in the western part of Bohemia in the Czech Republic. It is named after its capital Plzeň. In terms of area, Plzeň Region is 7,561 km2, the third largest region in the Czech Republic. However, the population of about 585,000 inhabitants it is the ninth most populous region. After the South Bohemian Region it is the second least densely populated region. The region can be roughly 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.

Beer in the Czech Republic

Beer has a long history in what is now the Czech Republic, with brewing taking place in Břevnov Monastery in 993. The city of Brno had the right to brew beer from the 12th century while Plzeň and České Budějovice, had breweries in the 13th century.

Plzeňský Prazdroj, a. s. (pronounced [ˈpl̩zɛɲskiː ˈprazdroj a ɛs], known in English as the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, is a Czech brewery opened in 1842 and headquartered in Plzeň, Czech Republic. It was the first brewery to produce pale lager, branded as Pilsner Urquell; the popularity of Pilsner Urquell resulting in it being much copied so that more than two-thirds of the beer produced in the world today is pale lager, sometimes named pils, pilsner and pilsener after Pilsner Urquell. The brewery name, Pilsner Urquell, which can be roughly translated into English as "the original source at Pilsen", was adopted as a trademark in 1898. Pilsner Urquell is the largest beer producer in the Czech Republic and is also the largest exporter of beer abroad.

Písek Town in South Bohemian, Czech Republic

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Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren Czech Protestant church

The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) is the largest Czech Protestant church and the second-largest church in the Czech Republic after the Roman Catholic Church. It was formed in 1918 in Czechoslovakia through the unification of the Protestant churches of the Lutheran and Reformed confessions.

Czechoslovak Hussite Church

The Czechoslovak Hussite Church is a Christian church that separated from the Catholic Church after World War I in former Czechoslovakia.

FC Viktoria Plzeň Association football club in the Czech Republic

Football Club Viktoria Plzeň is a Czech professional football club based in Plzeň. They play in the Czech First League, the top division of football in the country.

Železná Ruda Town in Plzeň, Czech Republic

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Josef Groll

Josef Groll was a Bavarian brewer, best known for being the first brewer of Pilsner beer. He is sometimes called "the Father of the Pilsner". The world's first-ever pale lager, Pilsner Urquell was highly successful, and served as the inspiration for more than two-thirds of the beer produced in the world today.

Budweiser Budvar Brewery

Budweiser Budvar is a brewery in the Czech city of České Budějovice, best known for its original Budweiser or Budweiser Budvar pale lager brewed using artesian water, Moravian barley and Saaz hops. Budweiser Budvar is the fourth largest beer producer in the Czech Republic and the second largest exporter of beer abroad.

Trumer Pils

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Gambrinus (beer) Brand of beer brewed in the Czech Republic

Gambrinus is a beer brewed in the Czech Republic at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. It is one of the most popular beers in the Czech Republic. The beer is named after Gambrinus, a legendary king of Flanders known for his mythical brewing abilities. The company was founded in 1869.


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Škoda Transportation Czech transport engineering company

Škoda Transportation a.s. is a Czech engineering company that continues the legacy of Škoda Works' rolling stock manufacturing that started at the end of 19th century in Pilsen. Following the first world war, the Works commenced locomotive production in a separate factory dedicated to that purpose. This factory became a separate company in the 1990s. Today, Škoda Transportation develops and manufactures electric rail vehicles for urban and railway transport.

Gabriela Basařová Czech chemist and professor

Gabriela Basařová was a Czech professor of chemistry, working in the field of fermentation chemistry, brewing, and malting. Most of her scientific and research work was devoted to the study of non-biological, so-called colloidal, turbidity of beer and methods of delaying its production during storage. She participated in scientific, educational and publishing activities in the Czech Republic and abroad, and published 538 items, mostly in foreign journals. In 2012, Basarova was awarded the State Medal of Merit.


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  6. 'Beer: Its History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage' by F.W. Salem, 1880, page 21
  7. 'Medicinal and Food Plants: With 200 Illustrations for Artists and Craftspeople' by Ernst Lehner and Johanna Lehner, page 33
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  12. Doosan, About Us, Business Highlights, Global Growth, 2009
  14. "Czech Evangelical Lutheran Church".
  15. "Základní Škola Martina Luthera Plzeň".
  17. Platby bezkontaktními kartami ve vozech MHD v Plzni (18 May 2016)
  18. "Czech wartime RAF fighter pilot Standera dies aged 95". Czech News Agency. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
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