Prague, or “Praha” in Czech, is the capital city of the Czech Republic and the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union. It is also the historical capital of the region of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city itself is currently home to about 1.3 million people. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre throughout its 1,100-year existence. Once the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Prague was later an important city for the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire, and became the capital of Czechoslovakia after World War I. The city played a key role in the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, as well as in the major events of 20th-century history, including both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th century Europe. Attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill. Since 1992, Prague’s entire historic centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city’s rich history makes it a very popular tourist destination, welcoming more than 4 million international visitors each year.
What to see in Prague:
1. The Castle
Prague Castle is the largest historic castle in the world (570 m long, on average 128 m wide, area 7.28 hectares). It has long been the seat of the Czech rulers.
Constructed in the 9th century by Prince Bořivoj, the castle has been transformed over the centuries from a simple wooden fortress to the imposing form it has today. Each ruler adapted it in their own style, but its classical facelift dates from the 18 century during the reign of Maria Theresa.
You should allow at least half a day (it does not include time for museum visits) if you want to look at Prague Castle in depth.
2. Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge across the river Vltava, whose construction began in 1357 under King Charles IV. It was the only bridge across the Vltava until 1841, and so was a crucial connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town.
3. The Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is a historic square in the centre of Prague. Featuring various architectural styles including the gothic Týn Church and baroque St. Nicholas Church, the square also features the famous Astronomical Clock, while the tower at the Old Town Hall offers a panoramic view of Old Town Prague.
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