Budweis (Czech Budějovice), a town of Bohemia, Austria, 80 m. S.S.W. of Prague by rail. Pop. (1900) 39,630. It is situated at the junction of the Maltsch with the Moldau, which here becomes navigable, and possesses a beautiful square, lined with fine arcaded buildings, the principal one being the town-hall, built in 1730 in Renaissance style. Other interesting buildings are the cathedral with its detached tower, dating from 1500, and the Marien-Kirche with fine cloisters. Budweis has a large, varied and growing industry, which comprises the manufacture of chemicals, matches, paper, machinery, bricks and tiles, corn and saw mills, boat-building, bell-founding and black-lead pencils. It is the principal commercial centre of South Bohemia, being an important railway junction, as well as a river port, and carries on a large trade in corn, timber, lignite, salt, industrial products and beer, the latter mostly exported to America. It is the see of a bishop since 1783, and is the centre of a German enclave in Czech Bohemia. But the Czech element is steadily increasing, and the population of the town was in 1908 60% Czech. The railway from Budweis to Linz, laid in 1827 for horse-cars, was the first line constructed in Austria. A little to the north, in the Moldau valley, stands the beautiful castle of Frauenberg, belonging to Prince Schwarzenberg. It stands on the site formerly occupied by a 13th-century castle, and was built in the middle of the 19th century, after the model of Windsor Castle.
The old town of Budweis was founded in the 13th century by Budivoj Vitkovec, father of Záviš of Falkenstein. In 1265 Ottokar II. founded the new town, which was soon afterwards created a royal city. Charles IV. and his son Wenceslaus granted the town many privileges. Although mainly Catholic, Budweis declared for King George Poděbrad, and in 1468 was taken by the crusaders under Zdenko of Stenberg. From this time the town remained faithful to the royal cause, and in 1547 was granted by the emperor Ferdinand the privilege of ranking at the diet next to Prague and Pilsen. After the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War Budweis was confirmed in all its privileges.