The most prominent buildings are the Gothic church of St. Bartholomew, said to date from 1292, whose tower (325 ft.) is among the highest in the Czech Republic, and the Renaissance town hall dating from the 16th century.
Plzen first appears in history in 976, as the scene of a battle in the war between Prince Boleslaus II and the emperor Otto II, and it became a town in 1295, established by Wenceslaus II. During the Hussite Wars it was the centre of Catholic resistance to the Hussites; it was three times unsuccessfully besieged by Prokop the Great, and it took part in the league of the Romanist lords against King George of Podebrady. During the Thirty Years' War the town was taken by Mansfeld in 1618 and not recaptured by the Imperialists till 1621. Wallenstein made it his winter-quarters in 1633. The town was unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in 1637 and 1648. The first Czech printing press was established here in 1468.