The city was founded around 1340 but there was a monastery since the early 13th century.
Pardubice is an important industrial city: there is a chemical factory Synthesia (manufacturer of Semtex, a plastic explosive), an oil refinery Paramo, a heavy machinery factory and an electronic equipment plant. There is also a Korean owned factory built during 1995-1997 for Foxconn producing Computer parts for major computer manufacturers such as Compaq or Apple. This factory has used a free labour resources left after reduction in former electronics manufacturer Tesla (Tesla was in the past producing Tamara radar able to search and locate stealth airplanes).
Since 1874, there is a famous horse race Great Pardubice Steeplechase (Velka pardubicka) every fall (usually mid-October). This horse race has a bad reputation, as almost every year horses die. The Czech Open Chess Tournament is the biggest in Europe, with in the main groups about 1200 players from all over the world, and many side-events such as a team championship and Go-tournament.
Pardubice has an antique centre square and old city, with many restaurants that stay open until late in the evening. Because of the painted fašades of the houses, the saying goes 'Es glńnzt wie in Pardubice". There is an old Tower and an recently renovated Castle.
Arnost of Pardubice, the first archbishop of Prague, was born here in 1297.