Písek is colloquially called “Athens of Southern Bohemia“, because it has many high schools and schools of higher education, including the Film School in Písek.
Up to the last decades of 19th century Písek was a centre of the large autonomous Prácheň Region (also Prácheňský kraj) (today’s Prachatice, Písek and Strakonice Districts and parts of Příbram, Klatovy, České Budějovice and Plzeň-South Districts).
The city, spreading on slopes of several hills, sits along the river Otava. There are several steep streets and some suburbs lie more than 70–90 metres above the city centre. Much of its surroundings is covered by deciduous woodlands mixed with high number of various coniferous trees. Flow of several local brooks is slowed by artificial tiny lakes and dikes, creating mosaic of wetter and drier places, a safe haven for nesting and migrating birds.
This South Bohemian town was, up to its serious damage in 1620, one of the biggest towns in Bohemia. It is considered to be of prehistorical origin (first settled about 900 BC), when it was officially established as a royal city in the beginning of the 13th century – but in these times one part of to-be town had been still inhabited by descendants of German-Celtic predecessors (today’s Saint Wenceslas Quarter).
The oldest town in the area of modern Písek (“Písek” means “sand”) was Hradiště (Oppidum on top of Hradiště hill). Close to this place remnants of two graves of Celtic kings can be found. Pisek was called Meliodunum on Ptolemaios`map of the 2nd Century – Germanic city at that time. In the 12th century, Germans were called back as settlers.
Písek has still his unique atmosphere and has a well-preserved, picturesque medieval centre with number of narrow alleys. A large part of Písek encircling its city core was built in the 19th century, so one can still find there many buildings built in classical or neo-styles around tree-lined boulevards. In Písek is the oldest bridge (Písek Stone Bridge) in the Czech Republic (and the second oldest in the whole central European region).
The climate in Písek is known to have a milder and drier microclimate because it is well protected from all sides against winds. Písek enjoys a cool inland version of a humid continental climate (Dfb) with rather balanced temperatures year round and rare deep negative extremes. Lying in a rainshadow causes relatively low precipitations, vastly in form of rain (539 mm/annum). There are four distinctive seasons with cold and wet winter starting in late November and ending abruptly in the first half of March, changing into much sunnier and warmer spring which ends during May. Local summer, sunny, warm and wet, then continues up to its end in the first half of September. Autumn, rapidly cooling and much drier lasts into the end of November. Weather can be highly changeable with year-round rotation of two main patterns – continental fronts, sunnier and more extreme-prone, and oceanic fronts, bringing in murkier, wetter yet equable conditions.
- Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Kostel Narození Panny Marie)
- Church of Holy Trinity (Písek) [cs]
- Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Písek) [cs]
- Marian column
- Písek Castle [cs]
- Prácheňské museum [cs]
- Stone Bridge (Kamenný most)