Thanks to the large amount of places of interest and a beautiful nature, this region situated close to the border to Austria and Germany has predominantly recreational character. It is therefore visited by tourists from all over the world who find many chances to relax and enjoy beautiful things here. The region can offer a lot of interesting places: ancient towns, majestic Gothic churches, Renaissance castles, monasteries, unique collections of small architectural sights, popular architecture monuments and interesting technical structures including unique pond systems. Thanks to the position in the centre of Europe, this territory connects the influences of German and Anglo-Saxon north with refined art of Italian Renaissance masters. All that has left its imprints in the "healthy" soul of the region which was never predominantly devoted to heavy but to agriculture and to care for the landscape and the monuments. Two localities of the region are registered in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List and other localities are applying for that prestigious registration. At the same time, South Bohemia is an important education centre - there are many schools here, headed by the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice that has 11 thousand students in more than 200 subjects of study, so that its campus with appreciated architecture is full of life and hope.
The largest city of the South Bohemian Region is situated at the confluence of two rivers - the Vltava and the Malše, which predestines its scenic beauty. It is the statutory town and administrative capital of the South Bohemian Region and has almost one hundred thousand inhabitants. The rich history of the royal town is reminded by important architectural buildings constructed since the 13th century. České Budějovice was founded by Přemysl Otakar II, a Czech king, in 1265, and it made use of its favourable geographic position at trade paths from the beginning. It became the venue for many deals and the carrier of sovereign rights awarded by the king, including the right to brew beer. Yields came also from salt and cloth trade, fish farming and extensive silver mining. During the Thirty Year War, České Budějovice became the capital of Bohemia for some time (even the crown jewels were hidden there), but that famous era was terminated by a large fire in 1641 during which two thirds of the town burnt down. The importance of the town increased in late 18th century when it became the seat of the bishop of the new diocese. In the 19th century, the development was supported by the first European horse railway that connected České Budějovice with Linz, Upper Austria and, together with the Vltava River navigation, contributed to faster transport of goods between the north and the south.
Those important moments remain reflected in the architecture of the city whose centre is a conservation area. The Piarist Square with the Dominican Monastery is the oldest part; the large Přemysl Otakar II Square, considered one of the masterpieces of medieval urban planning in our country, is situated close to it. It is lined by buildings with typical arcades and its centre is dominated by the Baroque Samson Fountain, ranking among the biggest fountains in our country. The Black Tower, built in the 16th century, offers the must beautiful view of the historical centre and of the large surroundings. České Budějovice is the seat of world-famous companies with long tradition, like Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth (one of the biggest world manufacturers of art, school and office supplies), the Budějovický Budvar brewery, the Robert Bosch engineering company or Madeta, an important food industry company. The city is also an important centre of history, culture and gastronomy. Very attractive for tourists is the town of Hluboká nad Vltavou, situated at 10 kilometres from here; it boasts a large fairy-tale castle and a broad range of recreation places including wellness and golf.
The University of South Bohemia was established in 1991 as a public university with seat in České Budějovice. It is characterized as an educational and research institution focused on natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. It cooperates with more than 300 universities all over the world. About 11 thousand students are educated at the University of South Bohemia in more than 200 study disciplines within Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programs at eight Faculties: Faculty of Economy, Faculty of Fishing and Water Protection, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and Faculty of Agriculture. The university offers courses and programs of lifelong education to broad public.
The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences exists as a self-standing faculty since 1991 and it is, with more than 2000 students, the second largest faculty of the University of South Bohemia. As one of the few universities of the Czech Republic, it closely interconnects the health and social issues. The combination of these disciplines is broad, and therefore the graduates have great chances to find employment. At present, the Faculty educates students in thirteen Bachelor and four subsequent Master study disciplines; after that, the graduates can continue in two Doctoral programs, Nursing and Rehabilitation. The Faculty has also the right of habilitation and professorial proceedings. The "Nurse" Bachelor study discipline and the "joint degree" program can be studied here in English, as well as the subsequent "Nursing care in geriatrics" Master study program. The Faculty has maintained contacts with foreign universities and institutions for many years, aiming at exchange of experiences in the area of care for children, adults and seniors. The educational process includes an essential proportion of practical training - the Faculty cooperates with more than 80 respected health and social institutions, primarily with hospitals of the South Bohemian Region, with the Arpida Centre for rehabilitation of handicapped persons in České Budějovice, with senior homes, etc. The Faculty also organizes or co-organizes many expert meetings, often with international attendance; the International Nursing Symposium is the greatest of them. Therefore the members of the Nursing Institute have extensive experience with organization of conferences - these experiences guarantee also a successful organization of the ETNA conference.
The main building of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of the University of South Bohemia, the two-storey Vltava building, has a lot of lecture halls and classrooms. The rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology. The Vltava building also has a large parking lot, a café and the university canteen offering lunches and dinners.