Prague (1,200,000), the capital of the Czech Republic, is located in the center of the Bohemian plain, is without doubt one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Europe, rich in history, art, Baroque and Gothic architecture, with picturesque views. Prague is one of the most important tourist attractions in Central Europe, and is, one of the European city most visited by tourists.
On the left bank of the Vltava river are Stare Mesto – the Old Town – and Josefov – the old Jewish ghetto – to the south of these is Nové Mesto – the New Town – on the other side of the river is Mala Strana with the Citadel. Its historic center – in 1992 – was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries, the Old Town, Lesser Town and the New Town demonstrate the great cultural and architectural development had from this city from the Middle Ages.
The many magnificent monuments that characterize it, as the Hrad Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, the Charles Bridge and numerous churches and palaces were built in the majority in the fourteenth century under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Prague is situated in a hilly area along the river Vltava (Moldau), and has been for centuries one of the main economic and cultural centers of Europe, the city was the ancient capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
The area where today stands Prague was probably inhabited from the Upper Palaeolithic, in the third century BC, was the site of a Celtic settlement. The current city was built around a castle built in the ninth century on the hill where today is the famous Prague Castle (Hradcany), a few decades later, in the tenth century, on a hill across the river was built the fort of Vyšehrad, in this period the city became the residence of the kings of Bohemia and a bishopric.
Due to its location at the center of important communication routes Prague became an important commercial center, home to the market, which was held in the settlement of Stare Mesto (Old Town), built in the ninth century on the right bank of the Modava. In the thirteenth century, to the south of the castle, always on the left bank of the river, was founded the neighborhood of Malá Strana (Lesser Town), which became the seat of the German population of the city.
The fourteenth century saw Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and one of the most important and cosmopolitan cities in the continent of Europe, in the city resided Jews, Germans and Italians merchants and bankers. To the south of the Old City was built a new city called Nové Mesto (New Town), were built the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral , and in 1348 there was founded the university Carolina, the city became the seat of an archbishop, and there was installed a mint to mint coins.
In the sixteenth century, Prague became part of the possessions of the Habsburgs, under the Emperor Rudolph II, the city was re-elected to the seat of the imperial court, becoming one of the capitals of European culture and attracting scientists, artists, writers and alchemists from all over Europe.
In the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years War, the city had a rapid decline that led to a drastic reduction of the population. Only with the eighteenth century Prague began to grow again, at the beginning of this century a quarter of the population of the city was made up of Jews. In the course of the century the trade enriched many people, mostly merchants and bankers, and wealthy families built and enriched the city with numerous buildings in the baroque style. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the majority of the inhabitants of Prague was of German language and culture.
- Population: 1,288,696 (2011)
- Height: 180/400 meters above sea level.
FLIGHTS: Airport Prague – Ruzyne is the biggest in the country and has direct international flights from major European destinations. The national airline is Czech Airlines. About 16 km far from the center, the airport provides passenger bus service and taxis to reach the city. Several airlines connect the Czech Republic to major European cities.
GETTING AROUND: The city is served by three underground subway lines, as well as tram and bus.