The history of Hradec Králové goes back to the Neolithic times, when the first people settled in the area. The city is situated on the confluence of two rivers – Labe and Orlice – and its first inhabitants quickly understood the convenience of this location.
The first mention of Hradec (Hradec hrad) was in 1091 when Hradec Castle was named in Kosma's Czech chronicle, written between 1119 and 1125.
In 1225, the town (civitas) of Hradec itself was first mentioned in a written document (contract), but not with the adjective Králové, which appeared only after the 14th century. This is the first unquestionable source about the existence of the city.
In the Middle Ages, Hradec Králové was the dowry town of Czech queens, with Eliška Rejčka and Eliška Pomořanská being especially fond of it. From the 14th century, the city, which has a compact Renaissance historical core, became a natural, militarily and politically influential centre of the region with a high level of education and culture.
Hradec Králové became a defence fortress in the 18th century, part of the fortification system built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and served as such until the Battle of Königgrätz in 1866. After the bloody battle the fortress loss its former importance, and the town started to grow beyond its initial boundaries.
Major development came in the early 20th century, when leading architects Gočár, Kotěra, Lyska, and many others, implemented their projects here. A significant number of buildings were completed, that are still well-known around Europe as examples of modern functionalist architecture.