Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of nearly 2.0 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100 year existence. Founded during the Gothic and flourishing by the Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
World War I ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital and Prague Castle as the seat of president (Tomáš Masaryk). At this time Prague was a true European capital with highly developed industry. By 1930, the population had risen to 850,000. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic. Once the capital of the Roman Empire, Prague was founded more than 1,100 years ago and it features many historic attractions and buildings which survived destruction during the World Wars.
Rarely visited by tourists until 1989 and the fall of Communism, Prague is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Europe. The city is located on both sides of the Vltava River in central Bohemia and is now home to over one million residents, there is also plenty to see and do for tourists. In fact, the city has seen a boom since November 17th, 1989 and the Velvet Revolution which freed the city from communist rule.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions and much of the city is very beautiful. One of the best ways to see it is by simply taking a walk along cobblestone streets while observing the fantastic architecture, churches and buildings that will line any route. In fact, there are over 866 hectares of land listed on the UNESCO World Culture and Natural Heritage Register. The history of the city actually goes back thousands of years and was first established around 200 BC by the Celts. As a result, visitors can take in sites ranging from the time of the Holy Roman Empire to the Communist party.
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There is also plenty of food and cultural events to take part in as well. Visitors can enjoy classical concerts and operas or participate in the clubbing scene. Both lunches and dinners can be had at relatively cheap prices and don’t forget to include a famous Czech beer to wash down the meal. Look out for events such as the Czech Beer Festival, where more than 70 brands of famous Czech beer can be tasted.
|Prague Castle Entrance|
- Prague Castle. The most easily recognised historical structure of Prague. The Castle is what gives Prague its fairytale image. It also boasts of being the largest and best preserved castle in the world. The Crown Jewels are stored in the castle and it also forms the seat of the Czech government. The gothic spires, baroque architecture and large gardens seem like pictures come alive from a fairytale. Today the castle houses many museums.
- Charles Bridge. The Charles Bridge crossing the Vlatava River is a famous sight in Prague. The bridge connects the Prague Castle and the Old Town. Adorned with beautiful baroque statues and statuaries on both sides, it is a pleasing sight to behold. During the day it is filled with tourists, street artists, musicians and vendors. At night, it magically transforms into a serene and inviting destination, perfect for a romantic, moonlight walk.
- Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock. The astronomical clock at the Old Town Square is the oldest functioning clock in the world today. To truly appreciate the splendour of this clock, view the procession of the twelve apostles that takes place after every hour. Christ is followed by his disciples while the death bell tolls the statue of a Turk. The Old Town Square also houses the St Nicholas Church, Tyn Cathedral and the Old Town Hall. The views from the Old Town Hall are spectacular and present Prague, in all its glory.
- Petrin Tower. The Petrin Tower draws inspiration from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Set atop the Petrin Hill, the tower was built in 1891 for the Jubilee exhibition. You can reach the Petrin Tower by a funicular railway, passing through beautiful views. There is an observatory at the tower from where you can view the city below with lush landscaped gardens. The hall of mirrors is also popular among tourists.
- Josefov. Or the Jewish quarter is what is left of the Jewish ghetto from the 13th century. Most of the ghetto was destroyed in the 19th century. At the Jewish quarter you can visit the Spanish synagogue, Klaus synagogue, Maisel synagogue, Pinkas synagogue, Old New synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall. Perhaps the most significant and moving sight in Josefov is the Jewish cemetery. As the space for burying the dead began to be scarce, they were burials on top of the existing bodies.