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Prague – a city between the European West and East

  • Written by NewsServices.com

The capital and central city of the Czech Republic derives its name from river treshholds, sand sediments settling before and within a large meander of the lower flow of the Vltava (Moldau), a river crossing the country almost symbolically from the utmost southern point of the country to the north. The original word práh, or prahy, is of slavonic origin, the people who settled along the river in the area called central Bohemia were Slavs. But the history of Prague reflects all the different nations and people that passed this area or settled here since the early Middle ages.

Modern capital of the state

Today´s Prague is a modern city and home to more then 1,3 millions of inhabitants, and the administrative, financial, and cultural centre of the Czech Republic, the state born in 1993 after the peaceful split of the Czecho-Slovakia. Within the last decades, especially after the fall of the communist régime in 1989, Prague is also a popular target of many tourists coming to see the city´s architectural, natural and cultural attractions.

Origins of Prague

The original settlement arouse underneath the castle founded in 880 on the hill above the river by one of the powerful, and perhaps most cruel Slavonic genera – the Přemyslid clan, that dominated the country for the following 5 centuries – their last male member was killed in 1306.

Until the late 19th century, the city has developed into three different parts – independent cities – the Castle and Lesser town, a noble city inhabited by noble families and their people, the Old Town of Prague – a city founded and settled mostly by the foreign merchants coming to the area, and the New Town of Prague – founded in 1348 by Charles IV. for the craftsmen and servants necessary for the functioning of the original two cities.

Prague Castle

The Prague Castle rules over the city till our days – who would not know the famous Prague panorama, the cathedral spires dominating the view composed of the river, the gothic Charles bridge and the churches and palaces of the Little – or Lesser Town. A perfect and unrepeatable composition of all styles that can be found here – from the Romanesque over the Gothic, Baroque as far as the architecture of the first half of the 20th century. The castle complex plays an important role in the life of the country since its first days, and includes some of the key Czech institutions – it is the presidential seat, the gothic Cathedral of Saint Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert is the main catholic church of the country, the place is related to the first female Benedictine convent in the country, and many uncountable historical traces that have marked the past and the presence of the country are to be found here. Therefore, when planning a visit of the Castle, having at least half a day is a necessary time to comprise and understand it all.

Old Town of Prague

The way from the Castle will leed you necessarily down the hill – to the Charles bridge connecting this part of the city with the Old Town of Prague – a part described in the very first written notion of Prague originating from a Jewish merchant, or perhaps the courrier of the Spanish Caliphate Ibrahim Ibn Jacob, who described the city of the year 965 as a large settlement consisting of huge stone houses, built around a spacious commercial centre – market, where people from all over the then known world came to sell and buy everything from slaves to tin, leather and furs, precious stones and spices, food and animals. The main historical square of the city – the Old town Square, copies this original market till nowadays – and its size is really astonishing, when considering a market back in the 10th century! It is filled with sights everyone should to see – the Astronomical clock, the Cathedral before the Týn, and many other monuments worth a visitor´s attention. Staying in the Old Town of Prague will bring you the benefits of seeing everything essential just walking, as it is the geographical heart of the city – no matter which direction you set out to, you can reach everywhere on your feet. One of the best hotels in this regards might be Hotel Rott – just a minute walk from the Square, it offers Prague historical atmosphere at its best.

New Town of Prague

The last part of the historical city, the New Town of Prague, is dominated by Wenceslas Square – an integral point playing key role in the history of the modern state. It is here where the Czechs celebrated the declaration of the Czechoslovakian state in 1918, where the Nazis parades were organised to deter and subdue the citizens, and the Russian tanks shooted in April 1968. Also the famous photographs of the people clinging with their keys at the times of the Velvet revolution were taken here – with Václav Havel standing on the balcony of one of the houses. At presence, the Wenceslas Square is a lively city centre full of stores, restaurants, bars and Cafés prepared to satiate all your tastes and wishes.

Attractions of all kinds for every visitor

Just as the whole city – no matter if you come alone to adore its architectural beauties, listen to the Czech Philharmonic or Prague Philharmonic orchestra, or you take your kids for a family holiday - pedaling on the river with the amazing coulisses around, visiting the Prague Zoological or Botanical gardens, Prague´s numerous museums and galleries, Prague has always something new and beautiful to offer no matter of age or preferences.

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