Prague is the capital of the Czech republic. It has about 1,2 milion inhabitants. It is the cultural, historical and governmental heart of the republic.
The city was established in the 9th century. It was seat of Czech princes and later kings of Bohemia.
Charles IV, Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor chose the city as the capital of his whole Empire. He founded Chares University, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and the New Town. Many of the most beautiful things we associate with Prague can be traced back to Charles IV.
Prague is connected with the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus and the Hussite movement.
In Prague began Thirty Year’s War with the uprising of the Czech Estates in the early 17th century.
Prague was also centre of National revival in the 19th century. In this period was built the National Theatre to express this feeling of national pride for Czechs.
In 1918, the city became the capital of the independent Czechoslovakia and after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, it became the capital of the Czech Republic.
The old centre of Prague consists of five historical districts. Old Town, New Town and Josefov are situated on the right bank of the Vltava.The Lesser Quarter and Hradčany (theCastle District) are on the left bank.
The Old Town
There we can find Charles Bridge. It was built in 14th century. Legend says that the builders added eggs to the mortar to make a strong substance to hold the bridge together. It is an open-air gallery of 30 unique Baroque statues. In about the middle of the bridge stands the statue of St. John of Nepomuk. Nepomuk. He lived in the 14th century and held the position of General Vicar. He was also
the confessor of the Queen of Bohemia and refused to give away any of the Queen’s secrets. John angered the King when he confirmed the appointment of the new Abbot of Kladruby Monastery against the King’s will. For this, John was tortured to death and his dead body was thrown into the Vltava River. Later, he was proclaimed saint, and today he is venerated by many believers.
Another important place of the Old Town is The Old Town Square. It is consider as the most important market place in Prague. There we can see the Old Town Hall with world – famous astronomical clock. There are also two famous churches on the Old Town Square: the Gothic Týn Church and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church.
Nerby the Old Town Square there is The Estates Theatre. The world premiere of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni took place there in 1787.
The Lesser Quarter
Near Charles Bridge lies Kampa Island,separated from the Lesser Quarter by a small canal called Čertovka. In the past there used to be many mills on Kampa and two big wooden mill wheels are still preserved today.
In centre of The Lesser Town lies The Church of St. Nicholas, which is the typical example of baroque architecture.
Another Another important part of the Lesser Quarter is Nerudova Street with characteristic house-signs. The most important house is probably No. 233, also known as At The Two Suns. This is where the well-known Czech writer Jan Neruda used to live.
Hradčany = The Castle District
The Cathedral of St. Vitus is the biggest church in Prague and the Czech coronation jewels are held here. Wenceslas Chapel was built to protect the relics of the most important Czech saint and national patron – St. Wenceslas.
Another well-known place in the Castle District is the Loreta. The most fascinating part is its Treasure Chamber with a diamond monstrance.
Other places of interest
Vyšehrad Castle is situated on a rock overlooking the Vltava River. The legend says that Czech Princess Libuše prophesied the glory of Prague from here. It is the burial place, Writer Karel Čapek, sculptor J. V. Myslbek, composers A. Dvořák and B. Smetana, poet J. Neruda and artist M. Aleš are all buried here.
- Petřín Hill
There is a 60‐meter tall viewing tower on the hill. Apart from the tower, there’s a mirror labyrinth and the Prague Municipal Observatory.
The Powder Tower = Powder Gate
The National Gallery houses – a collection of modern art.
The National Theatre