Rudolphstadt / Rudolfov

Rudolfov is a city in the České Budějovice District in the South Bohemian Region, about 5 km north-east of České Budějovice (Budweis).

The history of Rudolfstadt/Rudolfov is closely related to the discovery and exploitation of silver deposits in the area. The first mention of silver mining in the area is from 1385 and it reached its peak in the second half of the 16th century. Numerous mining encampments sprang up in the area near mining shafts and gradually developed into towns. Große Bergstadt and Kleine Bergstadt became one of the most important silver mining areas in all of Bohemia. In 1585 the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II renamed Große Bergstadt Kayser Rudolffstadt and made it a “Königliche freie Bergstadt”.

At the end of the 16th century Rudolfstadt was one of the largest cities in South Bohemia, even starting to rival Budweis/České Budějovice. Rudolfstadt/Rudolfov was predominantly Protestant whereas Budweis was Catholic. Protestant merchants and craftsmen expelled from Budweis settled in Rudolfstadt and contributed to its economic rise.

The downfall of Rudolfstadt/Rudolfov began early in the 17th century. In 1611 a mercenary army under Princebishop Leopold von Passau, fighting for Rudolf II, attacked the city and destroyed the mining facilities. And a short time later, the Thirty Years’ War found Rudolfstadt and Budweis on opposite sides, Budweis supporting Emperor Matthias and his successor Ferdinand II, and Rudolfstadt aligning with the Bohemian rebels.

Rudolfstadt/Rudolfov (or Rudolphstadt) was occupied and destroyed by catholic troops in 1619 and all protestant records were lost during this time.
By 1627 all protestants in Southern Bohemia were forced to convert or to leave the country. Unfortunately, the catholic church books from Budweis/České Budějovice have a gap from 1630 to 1644, but the existing records up to 1630 do not show any baptisms of adult “heretics”, and many families found in Rudolfstadt after 1644 have their roots in Budweis or other South Bohemian and Upper Austrian towns. Probably protestant inhabitants of Rudolfstadt were either killed or went into exile and the town was repopulated with Catholics from Budweis and other catholic areas, e.g. our Vitus Hutsteiner.

Vitus Hutsteiner lived and worked here for a while, but likely died in Budweis as a burial record of his sister from 21 November 1679 in which he is mentioned exists. Usually only living people were listed in these records, with the occasional deceased person identified as such.

Rudolfstadt, in the background Budweis (approx. 1840)

Rudolfstadt/Rudolfov was partially rebuilt during the remainder of the 17th century but never reached its previous importance again. A census of the parish in 1663 listed 58 houses of which 56 were inhabited with a population of 203, but our Vitus Hutsteiner obviously moved to Budweis before.

Rudolfov nowadays

 

 

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