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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

I arrived to Prague from Dresden a city in the east of Germany. When I arrived I had a bad experience with the subway police because they take advantage that I'm a tourist and they deceived me and stole me money, after that I called to the Spanich embasy but they don't want to help me. Anyway I liked the Prague after all and I recomend to everybody go there. Happened to me a curious thing, while I was walking in the main square I saw a friend from my school who has a czech boyfriend and we went to drink some beers.

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Its official name is Hlavní město Praha, meaning Prague - the Capital City.

Situated on the River Vltava in central Bohemia, Prague has been the political, cultural, and
economic centre of the Czech state for over 1100 years. The city proper is home to more than 1.2 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 1.9 million.

Prague is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is among the most visited cities on the continent. Since 1992, the extensive 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. Nicknames for Prague have included "the mother of cities" (Praga mater urbium, or "Praha matka měst" in Czech)", "city of a hundred spires" and "the golden city".

Lands Mark:

Old Town (Staré Město) with its Old Town Square
The Astronomical Clock
The picturesque Charles Bridge


The vaulted gothic Old New Synagogue of 1270.
New Town (Nové město) 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
Jan Žižka equestrian statue in Vítkov park, Žižkov - Prague 3.
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 resembles the Eiffel Tower
Anděl (neighborhood) which is probably the busiest part of the city with a super modern shopping malland architecture
Žižkov Television Tower with observation deck - Prague 3.
The New Jewish Cemetery in Olšany, location of Franz Kafka's grave - Prague 3.
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
Places connected to writers living in the city, such as Franz Kafka (One popular destination is the Franz Kafka museum)

The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. Around 200 BC the Celts established an oppidum (settlement) in the south, now called Závist. By the end of the 1st century BC, the population was composed mostly of the Marcomanni (and possibly the Suebi), a Germanic people. In the 6th century AD, during the great migration period following the collapse of the Roman empire, the Marcomanni people migrated westwards or were assimilated into the invading West Slavic people.

According to legends, Prague was founded by Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the dynasty of the same name. By the year 800 there was a simple fort fortified with woodenbuildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. The first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885.

The other Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad was founded in the 10th century, some 70 years later than Prague Castle. Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which was founded in 1344, but completed in the 20th century.

The region became the seat of the dukes, and later kings, of Bohemia. Under Roman-German Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973. Until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz.

Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Arabic merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub. The Old New Synagogue of 1270 still stands. Prague contained an important slave market.

At the site of the ford in the Vltava river, King Vladislaus II had the first bridge built in 1170, the Judith Bridge, (Juditin most) named honor of his wife Judith of Thuringia. This bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1342. Some of the original foundation stones of that bridge remain.

In 1257, under King Ottokar II, Malá Strana ("Lesser Quarter") was founded in Prague on the site of an older village in what would become the Hradčany (Prague Castle) area. This was the district of the German people, who had the right to administer the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights. The new district was on the bank opposite of the Staré Město ("Old Town"), which had borough status and was bordered by a line of walls and fortifications.
Prague flourished during the 14th century reign (1346–1378) of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Bohemia of the new Luxembourg dynasty. As King

of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, he transformed Prague into an imperial capital. He ordered the building of the New Town (Nové Město) adjacent to the Old Town and laid out the design himself. The Charles Bridge, replacing the Judith Bridge destroyed in the flood just prior to his reign, was erected to connect the right bank districts to the Malá Strana and castle area. On 9 July 1357 at 5:31 am Charles IV personally laid the first foundation stone for the Charles Bridge. The exact time of laying the first foundation stone is known because the palindromic number 135797531 was carved into the Old Town bridge tower having been chosen by the royal astrologists and numerologists as the best time for starting the bridge construction. In 1347 he founded Charles University which remains today the oldest university in Central Europe.

He began construction of the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, within the largest of the Prague Castle courtyards, on the site of the Romanesque rotunda there. Prague was elevated to an archbishopric in 1344, the year the cathedral was begun.

The city had a mint and was a centre of trade for German and Italian bankers and merchants. The social order, however, became more turbulent due to the rising power of the craftsmen's guilds (themselves often torn by internal fights), and the increasing number of poor people. The Hunger Wall, a substantial fortification wall south of Malá Strana and the Castle area, was built during a famine in the 1360s. The work is reputed to have been ordered by Charles IV as a means of providing employment and food to the workers and their families. Prague was at that time the third-largest city in Europe.

Charles IV died in 1378. During the reign of his son, King Wenceslaus IV (1378–1419), a period of intense turmoil ensued. During Easter 1389, members of the Prague clergy announced that Jews had desecrated the host (Eucharistic wafer) and the clergy encouraged mobs to pillage, ransack and burn the Jewish quarter. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague (3,000 people) perished.

Jan Hus, a theologian and rector at the Charles University, preached in Prague. In 1402, he began giving sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel. Inspired by John Wycliffe, these sermons focused on what were seen as radical reforms of a corrupt Church. Having become too dangerous for the political and religious establishment, Hus was summoned to the Council of Constance, put on trial for heresy, and burned at the stake in Constanz in 1415.

Four years later Prague experienced its first defenestration, when the people rebelled under the command of the Prague priest Jan Želivský. Hus' death, coupled with Czech proto-nationalism and proto-Protestantism, had spurred the Hussite Wars. Peasant rebels, led by the general Jan Žižka, along with Hussite troops from Prague, defeated King Sigismund, in the Battle of Vítkov Hill.

In the following two centuries, Prague strengthened its role as a merchant city. Many noteworthy Gothic buildings were erected and Vladislav Hall of the Prague Castle was added.
In 1526, the Bohemian estates elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg The fervent Catholicism of its members was to bring them into conflict in Bohemia, and then in Prague, where Protestant ideas were gaining popularity. These problems were not pre-eminent under Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, elected King of Bohemia in 1576, who chose Prague as his home. He lived in the Prague Castle where his court saw invitations to astrologers and magicians, but also scientists, musicians, and artists. Rudolf was an art lover too and Prague became the capital of European culture. This was a prosperous period for the city: famous people living there in that age include the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johann Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, the poetess Elizabeth Jane Weston, and others.

In 1618, the famous second defenestration of Prague provoked the Thirty Years' War, a particularly harsh period for Prague and the Bohemia. Ferdinand II of Habsburg was deposed, and his place as King of Bohemia taken by Frederick V, Elector Palatine; however the Czech Army under him was crushed in the Battle of White Mountain (1620) not far from the city. Following this in 1621 was an execution of 27 Czech leaders (involved in the uprising) in Old Town Square and an exiling of many others. The city suffered subsequently during the war under Saxon (1631) and Battle of Prague (1648). 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. In the second half of the 17th century Prague's population began to grow again. Jews have been in Prague since the end of the 10th century and, by 1708, they accounted for about a quarter of Prague’s population.


Stiassny's Jubilee Synagogue built in 1906 is the largest in PragueIn 1689, a great fire devastated Prague, but this spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city. In 1713–14, a major outbreak of plague hit Prague one last time, killing 12–13,000 people.

The economic rise continued through the 18th century, and the city in 1771 had 80,000 inhabitants. Many of these were rich merchants and nobles who enriched the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens, creating a Baroque style renowned throughout the world. After the Battle of Prague in 1757 the city was badly damaged during a Prussian bombardment. In 1784, under Joseph II, the four municipalities of Malá Strana, Nové Město, Staré Město, and Hradcany were merged into a single entity. The Jewish district, called Josefov, was included only in 1850. The Industrial Revolution had a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coal mines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karlín, was created in 1817, and twenty years later population exceeded 100,000.

The revolutions that shocked all Europe around 1848 touched Prague too, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years the Czech nationalist movement began its rise, until it gained the majority in the town council in 1861. Prague had a German speaking majority in 1848, but by 1880 the German population had decreased to 14% (42,000), and by 1910 to 6.7% (37,000), due to a massive increase of the city's overall population caused by the influx of Czechs from the rest of Bohemia and Moravia and also due to ethnic mixing and assimilation.
Hitler ordered the German Army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939 and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. For most of its history Prague had been a multi-ethnic city with important Czech, German and (mostly Czech- and/or German-speaking) Jewish populations. From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and during World War II, most Jews fled the city or were deported.

In 1942, Prague was witness to the assassination of one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany – Reinhard Heydrich (during Operation Anthropoid). Hitler ordered bloody reprisals. At the end of the war Prague suffered several bombing raids by the USAAF. Over 1,000 people were injured, 701 people were killed, and hundreds of buildings, factories and historical landmarks were destroyed (however the damage was small compared to the total destruction of many other cities in that time). On 5 May 1945, two days before Germany capitulated, an uprising against Germany occurred. Four days later the 3rd Shock Army entered the city. The majority of the German population either fled or was expelled by the Beneš decrees in the aftermath of the war.
In 1989, after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague and the Czechoslovak capital benefited greatly from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic. In the late 1990s Prague again became an important cultural centre of Europe and was notably influenced by globalisation. In 2000 anti-globalisation protests in Prague (some 15,000 protesters) turned violent during the IMF and World Bank summits. In 2002 Prague suffered from widespread floods that damaged buildings and also its underground transport system. Prague launched a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but failed to make the candidate city shortlist. Due to low political support, Prague's officials chose in June 2009 to cancel the city's planned bid for 2020 Summer Olympics as well. Prague is the largest city in Czech.








July 2003

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