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Prague - the capital of our country

  • základní zeměpisné údaje
  • stručná historie
  • politické, kulturní a dopravní centrum České republiky
  • zajímavá místa

  1. Basic Information
    • population:1,183,729 (31.3.2006)
    • area:496 sq km
    • the city was founded in the 9th century
    • Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.It is situated on the Vltava River in central Bohemia.
    • nicknames for Prague: "city of a hundred spires" and "the golden city".
    • since 1992, the historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.
    • according to Guinness World Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world.


    1. History
      • According to legend, Prague was founded by the Princess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the dynasty with the same name. It was founded in the 9th century as a castle on a hill commanding the right bank of the Vltava: this is known as Vyšehrad.
      • Soon the city became the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, some of whom also later reigned as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire.
      • It was an important seat for trading where merchants coming from all Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled by the Jewish merchant and traveler Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub in 965.
      • The city became a bishopric in 973.
      • King Vladislav II had the first bridge on the Vltava- the Judith Bridge - built in 1170, destroyed by a flood in 1342
      • The Charles Bridge was later built on the foundations of the Judith bridge - built in 1357
      • The city flourished during the 14th century reign of Charles IV, of the new Luxembourg dynasty.
        • He built the New Town, the Charles Bridge, Saint Vitus Cathedral, the oldest Gothic cathedral in central Europe inside the Prague Castle, and the Charles University, the oldest university in central Europe.
        • At that time Prague was the third-largest city in Europe and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
      • In 1526 the Kingdom of Bohemia was handed over to the House of Habsburg.
      • Emperor Rudolf II became the King of Bohemia in 1576. He chose Prague as his home. He lived in the Castle where he held his bizarre courts of astrologers, magicians and other strange figures. This was a prosperous period for the city: famous people living there in that age included the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johann Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo and others.
      • In 1618 the famous Defenestration of Prague provoked the Thirty Years' War. Ferdinand II of Habsburg was deposed, and his place as King of Bohemia taken by Frederick V of Pfalz. But the Bohemian army was crushed in the Battle of the White Mountain (1620), not far from the city, and thenceforth Prague and Bohemia encountered a harsh period in which religious tolerance was abolished and the Catholic Counter-Reformation became dominant in every aspect of life.
      • The city suffered also under Saxon (1631) and Swedish (1648) occupation. Moreover, after the Peace of Westphalia of the latter year, Ferdinand moved the court to Vienna, and Prague began a steady decline which reduced the population from the 60,000 it had had in the years before the war to 20,000.
      • The 17th century is considered the Golden Age of Jewish Prague.
      • In 1689 a great fire devastated Prague.
      • World War I ended with the defeat of Austria-Hungary and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital. At this time Prague was a true European capital with a very developed industrial base. In 1930 the population had risen to a startling 850,000.
      • In 1989, after the Berlin Wall had fallen, and the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia finally freed itself from communism and soviet influence, and Prague benefited deeply from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

      1. Interesting Places
        • Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's and the world's most popular tourist destinations.
        • Prague was one of the few European cities relatively untouched during the World Wars, allowing its historic architecture to stay true to form.
        • There are lots of old buildings, many with beautiful murals on them. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.
        • Some of the most known sights are:
          • Old Town with its Old Town Square
          • The Astronomical Clock
          • The picturesque Charles Bridge
          • New Town with its busy and historic Wenceslas Square
          • Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter)
          • Prague Castle (the largest castle in the world) with its St. Vitus Cathedral
          • Josefov (the old Jewish quarter) with Old Jewish Cemetery and Old New Synagogue
          • The Lennon Wall
          • Vinohrady
          • The museum of Heydrich assassination in the crypt of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
          • National Museum
          • Vyšehrad Castle
          • Petřínská rozhledna, an observation tower on Petřín hill, which is nearly a 1:5 copy of the Eiffel Tower
          • The New Jewish Cemetery in Olšany, location of Franz Kafka's grave
          • The Metronome, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city
          • The Dancing House (Fred and Ginger Building)
          • The Mucha Museum, showcasing the Art Nouveau works of Alfons Mucha
          • Strahov Stadium — the largest stadium in the world

        1. Culture in Prague
          • Prague is a traditional cultural centre of Europe, hosting many cultural events.
          • Most Important Cultural Institutions:
            • National Theatre
            • The Rudolfinum (home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra)
            • National Opera
            • National Museum
            • National Library
            • National Gallery
          • There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city.
          • Prague also hosts Film Festivals, Music Festivals, a Writers Festival, hundreds of Vernissages, Sport Events and Fashion Shows
            • Prague Spring International Music Festival
            • Prague Autumn International Music Festival
            • Febiofest - film festival
            • One World Film Festival
            • Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
            • Barrandov Studios - established in 1920s, used by many film-makers from the whole world
            • Prague Writers Festival
            • Prague International Organ Festival
            • Prague Fringe Festival
            • World Roma Festival
            • There was the world Premiere of Mozart's Don Giovanni
            • Prague Marathon
            • Evžen Rošický Athletic Competition

          1. Education in Prague
            • Prague is the home for many universities and colleges
              • Charles University (UK) founded in 1348 by Charles IV
              • Czech Technical University (ČVUT) founded in 1707
              • Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) founded in 1800
              • Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (VŠUP) founded in 1885
              • Institute of Chemical Technology (VŠCHT) founded in 1920
              • Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) founded in 1945
              • Czech University of Agriculture (ČZU) founded in 1952
              • University of Economics (VŠE) founded in 1953

            1. Transportation
              • Public transport infrastructure consists of an integrated transport system of:
                • three metro lines (with 54 stations)
                • trams
                • buses
                • a funicularto Petřín Hill
                • chairlift at Prague ZOO
              • Prague has two international railway stations, Hlavní nádraží (sometimes referred to as Wilsonovo nádraží) and Praha Holešovice.
              • Intercity services also stop at the main stations Praha Smíchov and Masarykovo nádraží. In addition to these, there are a number of smaller suburban stations.
              • Prague also has air transport. Ruzyně International Airport is the hub of the flag carrier, Czech Airlines. There are several cheap flights per day from the UK and from other countries. Ruzyně International Airport is considered as one of the most modern airports in Europe.

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