Prague Facts

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and has a long history. More than one million people currently live in this more than 1,000-year-old city, making it the most populous city in the country. Because of this rich history and its position as the hub of the Czech Republic, Prague is a popular tourist destination.

History

The history of the land goes back several thousand years to when the Celts settled near Prague. However, its modern history did not begin until around 800 CE, when a fort was constructed where Prague is now. It is said that Prague was founded by Duchess Libuse. This is just a story, though. There is no evidence that Prague did not simply spring up around a fort over time.

Before 900 CE, the first structure was built on the land on which Prague Castle now sits. Then came another fort, a cathedral and royalty. Prague was a Bohemian city and the home of the Bohemian kings for hundreds of years. In fact, Prague has been part of the Czech Republic for only a fraction of its history.

Prague was not only the home of kings; it was the home of emperors. Twice Roman Emperors ruled from Prague, making it twice the capital of the Roman Empire. It was during the rule of first Charles IV and then Rudolf II, more than 200 years later, that the city flourished and grew culturally with the construction of churches and schools, as well as being home to scientists of the eras, such as Tycho Brahe, the noted astronomer.

The 17th through the 20th centuries in Prague saw a lot of upheaval, destruction and rebuilding. The city survived the Thirty Years' War, the Plague, the Spring of Nations, World War I and World War II. It came out of the First World War as a republic. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split in half and the Czech Republic was born out of half of it. Prague easily became its capital city.

Noteworthy sites

Prague has examples of architectural styles spanning centuries. Prague Castle is easily the most impressive. It is so large that St. Vitus Cathedral is entirely within the castle. In fact, Prague Castle is the biggest castle in the world. Both buildings are in the gothic style. The Charles Bridge is another great example of historical architecture in the city. It is a blend of styles, notably containing gothic and baroque elements.

A modern artistic expression in the city is the Lennon Wall. This wall was not constructed for this purpose, but by some trick of popular culture, it has been covered in John Lennon graffiti. Yes, a British musician has a wall in his honor in the Czech Republic. The art began appearing at the start of the 80s and has continued since, with the permission of the owners.

Prague is so full of historic sites that entire portions of the city are sites in and of themselves. Old Town has both old and new structures, including Clam-Gallas Palace and the Museum of Decorative Arts. New Town has the National Museum and Medieval Charles Square.

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