The first mention of the settlement, created on the path leading from Bohemia to Lusatia, dates back to 1352. It received the German name Reichenberg, from which the Czech name Liberec most probably evolved a few centuries later.
Liberec and textile production
The aristocratic Redern family, which owned the Frýdlant and Liberec estates from the middle of the 16th century, first contributed to the development of Liberec. The town later gained the right to brew beer and hold its own markets and in 1577 Emperor Rudolf II awarded the city its emblem, which is still used today.
Under the Rederns, the tradition of textile production (cloth and linen) started in Liberec. It was further developed by another of the owners of the Liberec estate - military leader Albrecht of Wallenstein.
He also founded the New Town of Liberec with corresponds to today's Sokolov Square. After Wallenstein's violent death, the Gallas family acquired the manor and also supported the business of the citizens of Liberec.
In the second half of the 18th century, textile production flourished in the Liberec region, but the original domestic production ceased to exist with the establishment of large manufactories. The XIX century in Liberec is clearly marked by this development. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, industrial Liberec was the second most populous city in Bohemia and was nicknamed "Czech Manchester" or "Vienna of the North".
The Golden Age
The beginning of the 20th century was the "golden age" of old Liberec, where the city centre and a number of public buildings were completely rebuilt. There was also a massive development of tourism and its belonging infrastructure (lookout towers, cottages, marked paths) in the surrounding mountains.
The positive development was stopped only by the First World War, as after its conclusion the development of the city was no longer so dynamic. After the war, Liberec residents of German origin were relocated to Germany.
The establishment of the communist regime then led to stagnation. The situation changed fundamentally only in the early 1990s, when Liberec miraculously continued the development that ended before the First World War: the historic centre was very quickly renovated, a number of public buildings were added, tram lines were restored, great care was given to infrastructure and ecological problems.
Source: City of Liberec