Although Plzen is an industrial town it also has some good cultural traditions.
In 1468 the first Czech book was printed here - the Trojany Chronicle.
During the National Revival, the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th century, there worked many significant personalities at the Institute of Philosophy. There has also been plays at the Czech theatre. The Czech plays were performed in the Plzen theatre - there also worked a Czech play-wright, Josef Kajetan Tyl, who died here in 1856.
Also, world-famous puppets Spejbl and Hurvinek were born here. In honour of their creator Josef Skupa (1892-1957) there is a Puppet Show Festival held every other year in Plzen.
The Theatre of J.K.Tyl has an excellent reputation in Czech Republic, too. It has three scenes and four ensembles: the play, the opera, ballet, operetta, and the demanding dramaturgy. This theatre is said to be a transfer stop for actors to Prague theatres, since many outstanding actors and actresses started their successful careers here. But the theatre is not the only thing here.
The West Bohemian Gallery is an important centre of art not only for Plzeners but for the whole Bohemia. The gallery is situated in the Gothic building of the former Butcher Shops (Masne kramy). It houses interesting exhibitions of the past and the present.
Remarkable are also the collections in many departments of the West Bohemian Museum.
The Brewery Museum should not be left unnoticed either. It specializes in documenting the development of the brewery industry.
The Ethnographic Museum exhibits items of the life and culture of people in the Western Bohemia region. Several folk dancing groups continue to develop this tradition for the future.
Every spring the cultural festival, Smetana's Days takes place here and the autumn is reserved for the festival of Czech film productions "Finale".
Very popular is the summer Jazz festival "Jazz on the Street".
Also children are represented in the cultural life. Every second year young aspiring artists accompany the festival of the radio plays "Prix Bohemia", with their works of art. The best works are exhibited at the first Czech Gallery of Children's Creative Expression - one of four galleries of this kind in Europe.
The Plzen showground is a place for regular commercial events. Well-known is a gastronomical exhibition "EX Plzen" followed by an international folklore festival. The folk and country music festival "Porta", which is held at the amphitheatre in the suburb of Lochotin, is very popular with the young audience.
The cultural atmosphere is completed by education. Plzen is the residential town of two universities: the University of West Bohemia and the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University.
There is also a Conservatoire and many professional secondary schools and training colleges.
The newly restored State Science Library holds almost two million books. So when asked where to find culture, you may already have an answer.
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