The beginnings of the town date back to the 13th century and are connected with the Prague Bishop Pelhřim (lat. Pelegrina). The medieval origin of the town is perceptible both in preserved fortifications and two gates. The Jihlava Gate houses the Museum of Records and Curiosities.
In the late 16th century the town bought itself out of serfdom and became a royal town by the privilege of Rudolph II. The decanal Church of St. Bartholomew with the Way of the Cross based on a design by František Bílek and the Renaissance Church of St. Vitus are the chief religious sights of the town. Also remarkable are some of the burghers' houses built in the Renaissance style, as well as the unique Cubist houses built after designs by modernist architect Pavel Janák (the Fára House, the Drechsel Villa, etc.)