Legend has it that it was the Celts who originally established a settlement called Kadan. The word Kadan can be interpreted as “glowing fire” and the Celts allegedly used fire signals as a method of communication between their fortified settlements in the area of Poohri.
The first evidence of the Kadan Middle Age settlement dates back to the end of the 11th and the first half of the 12th century. Around this time, an important market settlement named Kadaň was founded beside the ford across the Ohře River. The Czech Prince Bedrich donated the settlement to the Knights Hospitaller on 23rd April 1186, whose knight’s order started to operate in the area around the turn of 1170s and 1180s. Sometime later, Kadan was promoted to a Free, Royal Town (by either Wenceslas I. or Ottokar II.).
Three significant buildings were constructed during this period of time, namely a Royal Castle, the Minority Church, and the Church of St. Michael. The Hospitallers were able to keep parochial rights over the newly established town and later they built the Deanery Church of the Virgin Mary (nowadays the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross). In 1362 the town burnt down along with its castle and suburbs.
The town flourished again during the reign of the Bohemian King and latterly Roman Emperor Charles IV. (1346-1378), who granted the town the right to full self-government. Throughout the 1520s, the ideas of the German Reformation, whose spiritual father was the Augustinian monk Martin Luther, began to spread in Kadaň. During the revolt of the Bohemian estates against the Habsburgs (1618), the churches that belonged to the Roman Catholic Church in Kadan were all looted.
Since 1990, the town centre and its surrounding buildings have undergone extensive transformation. Many buildings have been renovated, including the town hall and its tower.
The town centre is now one of the most interesting and charming protected zones in northern Bohemia, dominated by its town hall. The town hall was originally a two-storey building from the second half of the 14thcentury and was reconstructed and extended by a prismatic tower on the Gothic arcades by the architect Rott in 1811.
For more information about the Usti Region where this place is located click here.