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CITY OF PRAGUE

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union.It is also the historical capital of Bohemia proper. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 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 Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during 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 twentieth century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University. Prague is classified as a Beta+ global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Berlin, Rome, or Houston. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.1 million international visitors annually, as of 2009. In 2011, Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe.

The name Prague is derived from an old Slavic root, praga, which means "ford", referring to the city's origin at a crossing point of the Vltava river.

The native name of the city, Praha, however, is also related to the modern Czech word práh (threshold) and a legendary etymology connects the name of the city with princess Libuše, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. She is said to have ordered the city "to be built where a man hews a threshold of his house". The Czech práh might thus be understood to refer to rapids or a cataract in the river, the edge of which could have acted as a means of fording the river – thus providing a "threshold" to the castle. However, no geological ridge in the river has ever been located directly beneath the castle. The same etymology is associated with the Praga district of Warsaw.

Another derivation of the name Praha is suggested from na prazě, the original term for the shale hillside rock upon which the original castle was built. At that time, the castle was surrounded by forests, covering the nine hills of the future city – the Old Town on the opposite side of the river, as well as the Lesser Town beneath the existing castle, appeared only later.

Nicknames for Prague have included: Praga mater urbium/Praha matka měst ("Prague – Mother of Cities") in Latin/Czech, Stověžatá Praha ("City of a Hundred Spires") based on count by 19 century mathematician Bernard Bolzano. Today's count is estimated at 500.

Other nicknames: Zlaté město/Goldene Stadt ("Golden City") in Czech/German

 

Places worth to see and visit:

Hradčany and Lesser Town (Malá Strana)

  • Prague Castlewith the St. Vitus Cathedralwhich store the Czech Crown Jewels
  • The picturesque Charles Bridge(Karlův Most)
  • The Baroque Saint Nicholas Church
  • Church of Our Lady Victoriousand Infant Jesus of Prague
  • Písek Gate, one of the last preserved city gate of Baroque fortification
  • PetřínHill with Petřín Lookout Tower, Mirror Maze and Petřín funicular
  • Lennon Wall
  • The Franz KafkaMuseum

Old Town (Staré Město) and Josefov

  • The Astronomical Clock (Orloj) on Old Town Square, City Hall
  • The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem) from 14th century with 80 m high towers
  • The vaulted Gothic Old New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga) of 1270
  • Old Jewish Cemetery
  • Powder Tower (Prašná brána) a Gothic tower of the old city gates
  • Spanish Synagogue with its beautiful interior
  • Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) with gothic and baroque architectural styles
  • Municipal House, a major civic landmark and concert hall known for its Art Nouveau architectural style and political history in the Czech Republic.
  • Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, with an extensive collections including glass, furniture, textile, toys, Art Nouveau, Cubism and Art Deco
  • Clam-Gallas Palace, a baroque palace from 1713

New Town (Nové město)

  • Busy and historic Wenceslas Square
  • The National Museumwith large scientific and historical collections
  • The National Theatre, a neo-Renaissance building with golden roof, alongside the banks of the Vltava River
  • The Dancing House (Fred and Ginger Building)
  • Charles Square, the largest medieval square in Europe
  • The Emmaus monasteryand WW Memorial "Prague for his winning children" at Palacky Square (Palackého náměstí)
  • The museum of the Heydrich assassination in the crypt of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
  • Stiassny's Jubilee Synagogue is the largest in Prague
  • The Mucha Museum, showcasing the Art Nouveau works of Alfons Mucha

Vinohrady and Žižkov

  • Jan Žižka large bronze equestrian statue in Vítkov Park, Žižkov – Prague3
  • Saint Ludmila Church at Náměstí Míru (Peace Square) in Vinohrady
  • Žižkov Television Tower with crawling babies sculptures, coloured at night
  • New Jewish Cemetery in Olšany, location of Franz Kafka's grave – Prague3
  • The Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church at George of Poděbrady Square (Jiřího z Poděbrad)

Other places

  • Vyšehrad Castle with Vyšehrad cemetery and Prague oldest Rotunda of St. Martin
  • The Prague Metronomeat Letná park, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city
  • Prague Zoo in Troja, selected as the seventh-best zoo in the world by Forbes magazine
  • Průmyslový Palace, Křižík's Light Fountain, Lunapark funfair and Sea World Aquarium in Výstaviště compound in Holešovice
  • Letohrádek Hvězda (Star Villa) in Liboc, a villa in the shape of a six-pointed star surrounded by a game reserve
  • Veletržní Palace with large collection of Czech and international paintings and sculptures by artists such as Mucha, Picasso, Monet or Van Gogh
  • Anděl, a busy part of the city with modern architecture and a shopping mall
  • The large Nusle Bridge, spans the Nusle Valley, linking New Town to Pankrác, with the Metro running underneath the road
  • Strahov Monastery, an old Czech premonstratensian abbey founded in 1149 and monastic library.

 

 

At Malá Strana, Staré Město, Žižkov or Nusle there are hundreds of restaurants, bars and pubs, especially with good Czech beer. Prague also hosts the Czech Beer Festival (Český pivní festival), it is the biggest beer festival in the Czech Republic, held for 17 days every year in May. At the festival, more than 70 brands of Czech beer can be tasted. Prague is home of number of breweries. 

 

 

Book the tour Prague by Night with dinner cruise here.

 

Official web site of City of Prague in English:

http://magistrat.praha-mesto.cz/lang/l2

 

 

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