Straddling the Ohře River, Cheb is the westernmost major town in the Czech Republic
The historical Cheb region was part of the Holy Roman Empire until the reign of Czech King Přemysl Otakar II from 1266–1275. However, it was not until 1322 that Cheb permanently became the property of the Czech Kingdom. Since the beginning of the 13th Century, Cheb had the privilege of self-administration which ranks it among the oldest towns in the Czech Republic. Its importance is demonstrated by the fact that the imperial councils and diplomatic meetings of the monarchs took place there, and the crusading forces twice assembled there prior to their campaigns against the Hussites.
Cheb is probably best remembered as the place where Albrecht von Wallenstein was murdered in 1634. The importance of the town decreased somewhat after WWII and the expulsion of the local Germans by the communist forces which followed.
Cheb has much to offer history buffs. The absolute must-see is the Romanesque castle, founded by the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa I in 1167. The castle that once hosted Holy Roman Emperors and Czech kings still retains an original section of its palace - of particular note is the unique single-storey chapel. In the streets of Cheb one encounters several historically notable houses. The complex of houses in the middle of the main square is called 'Špalíček' a symbol of the town and its history. Not far from the Špalíček stands the Municipal Museum of Cheb with its exhibition on Albrecht von Wallenstein. The monumental Church of St Nicholas and St Elizabeth (Chrám sv. Mikuláše a sv. Alžběty), originally Romanesque, was rebuilt after the fire of 1270 and acquired its current Gothic appearance between 1456 and 1470. The Minorite Monastery, somewhat hidden in the historical centre, was also founded in the first half of the 13th century has essentially retained its Gothic shape until the present day.
How to get there: by direct bus or train from Mariánské Lázně, by car (30 minutes)