Praha, Prague

Prague is the capital of and the largest city in the Czech Republic. It is the political, cultural, and economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Government and of the President. It includes both banks of the Vltava River. The area is 500 square km. The population is 1.2 million. It has many nicknames such as The Heart of Europe, The City of a Hundred Spires, Golden Prague, or Magic Prague. It is under the protection of UNESCO.

There is a legend of the founding of Prague in the 8th century. Princess Libuše foretold that a man was building a treshold (which means práh in czech) and that it was the place where Prague was established and so it got its name from the word ‘threshold.’ During the 14th century, specifically from 1348-1378, was the time of the rule of Charles IV. During this time, the city grew and flourished. During the 15th century, the city was the centre of the Hussite movement. During the 16th century, it was the seat of Rudolph II. He invited many artists and scientists and Prague became the cultural centre of Europe. In 1620, the Czechs were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain by the Habsburgs, who ruled until 1918. Then Prague became the capital of the independent Czechoslovakia. In 1939, Prague was occupied by German Nazis and the inhabitants were severely persecuted after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The spring of 1968 is known as the Prague Spring. The normalization period began in 1989. The Velvet Revolution started democratic changes in our society. In 1993, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.

Regarding sightseeing, the city is divided into 5 historical districts. Old Town, New Town, and Josefov (previously a Jewish ghetto) are on the eastern bank of the Vltava. Lesser Town and Hradčany are on the western bank. Prague Castle is the seat of the President and the dominant feature of the city. It has more than 700 rooms and 3 courtyards. There is Vladislav Hall which was built in the gothic style and is used for special ceremonies. The Spanish Hall is used for cultural purposes. St. Vitus Cathedral was completed in 1929. Founded by Charles IV, St. Wenceslas Chapel is decorated with semi-precious stones. Under the Cathedral there is a royal crypt with the sarcophagi of Czech kings and queens. Belvedere is the royal summer palace and the purest example of Italian renaissance architecture. Lesser town starts through Neruda Street which is connected with the Prague Castle. Saint Nicholas Church is in the baroque style. We can continue through Mostecká Street which is connected with Charles Bridge. The bridge has 30 sculptures which are mostly in the baroque style. In the Old Town Square there is a magnificent Astronomical clock. In the Old Town, there is the John Huss Monument, the gothic Týn Church, and the baroque St. Nicholas Church. On Wenceslas Square, there are many shops, theatres, and cinemas. At the top, there is the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslaus. Behind the horse, there is a meeting point. Also at the top, there is the National Museum.

Regarding entertainment, Wenceslas Square is a center for shopping, theatres, and cinemas. There is the National Theatre, the Laterna Magica, the Rudolphinum, the Municipal House with many concert halls, and Sazka Arena, a sports centre and concert hall.

Přidal: sheeni 19. 5. 2011
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