Cheers to history: Czech hop region enters UNESCO World Heritage List

The town of Žatec is the world's first ever hop-growing area to make it onto the well-known list.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 18.09.2023 12:16:00 (updated on 19.09.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The town of Žatec and its iconic hop landscape have been officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The announcement came during the 45th extended session of the Intergovernmental World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, marking the 17th entry for the Czech Republic on the prestigious list of world natural and cultural heritage sites. This recognition makes Žatec the first hop-growing region worldwide to attain this status. 

The journey to UNESCO recognition began with the concept known as "Žatec – the City of Hops," recommended for revision by the World Heritage Committee in 2018 to encompass the production landscape. This change ultimately paved the way for the successful inscription.

Important to Czech culture

Czech Minister of Culture Martin Baxa expressed his elation, and said "The cultivation of hops, our green gold, is inextricably linked to Czech culture." He added that the recognition "will bring this location not only a confirmation of its exceptional values but also an impulse for further development, better protection, and strengthening of cooperation in the field of heritage preservation, tourism, and promotion."

Žatec and its hop landscape serve as a testament to a rich cultural tradition spanning centuries, centered around the cultivation and processing of hops. This newly designated UNESCO site comprises two integral parts that depict the entire cycle of cultivating, processing, and trading the world-renowned Žatec semi-early red hops.

A rich history

The first segment encompasses a picturesque landscape featuring hop farms, the villages of Trnovany and Stekník, and the eponymous castle. The second part represents the historic heart of Žatec, along with its 19th-century industrial district, home to the highest concentration of structures associated with hop processing and trading. These two elements are interconnected by the Ohře River.

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This UNESCO-recognized site and its hop-related architectural heritage bear witness to a tradition that has endured for over seven centuries, remaining vibrant to this day despite significant demographic changes throughout history. 

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