History

"Prague never lets you go. This dear little mother has sharp claws," Franz Kafka once said. Even though a household name since the nineties, Prague has been labeled as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe for many centuries. Located in the heart of Europe, Prague has been the crossroad for many merchants, artists and scientists throughout the centuries. From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to pope John Paul II, to Queen Elizabeth II, this city has mesmerized many historical figures and has been home to many. Prague has an extensive variety of historical sites and venues with many architectural and artistic styles co-existing in perfect harmony. The historic center is spread out on the two banks of the Vltava river where several independent towns were joined together in the 18th century to form Prague as we know it today: Vysehrad, Hradcany, Old Town, New Town, Lesser side and Josefov, the Jewish Quarter; these areas are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Since the fall of communism, Prague has been transforming into a significant business and cultural hub in Europe and is an important gateway to the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.

  • Prague History | Romanesque Rotunda The Beginning: From the Slavs to the Premysl Dynasty

    The oldest evidence of human existence around the Prague valley dates from 600,000 BC. Around 4000 BC, Germanic and Celtic tribes were the first lasting inhabitants that lived in the area, with the Celtic tribe naming the land Boii, hence the name Bohemia. During the 6th century two different Slav tribes settled on two different sides of the Vltava; the Czechs choose to build on the Hradcany side, or the current Castle District, while the Zlicani built their fortress at...

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  • Prague History | Charles IV The Golden Age of Prague

    One of the most renowned historical figures linked to the history of Prague is Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (1316 to 1378). During his reign Prague flourished politically, economically and culturally and was considered one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Charles IV built Karlstejn Castle as the venue for storing the Coronation Crown Jewels. Although the Jewels are now safely stored in Prague, this castle remains a popular recreational and tourist destination for its history and atmospheric location....

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  • Prague History | Jan Hus The Hussite Revolution and the Defenestrations

    In the 14th and 15th centuries, Jan Hus (think Martin Luther, but earlier) led a massive church reform movement that would eventually bring him to his heresy conviction and death at the stake. Troubled times followed, that would include Catholic priests being thrown out of windows at the New Town Hall, the so-called defenestrations. In 1420 Jan Zizka, the one-eyed Hussite warrior successfully defended Prague against the anti-Hussite crusade, started by the Holy Roman Emperor named Sigismund. Although victorious, the...

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  • Prague History | Habsburg Rule Habsburg Rule

    Czech nobility asked the Catholic Habsburgs to rule Bohemia starting in 1526. Rudolf II ruled over a prosperous city and added vast collections of paintings and sculptures, as he invited prominent artists to court. In 1541 a massive fire destroyed much of the Lesser Quarter and some of the Castle District as well. What followed was a Renaissance and Baroque construction extravaganza as both the districts were rebuilt with gorgeous palaces and residences, still there today. A second defenestration from...

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  • Prague History | Tomas G. Masaryk The National Revival and the First Republic

    Some of finest architectural pieces in Prague such as the National Theater, The Rudolphinum and the National Museum were built during the National Revival. This movement also launched distinguished Czech figures like Karolina Svetla, Frantisek Palacky and Josef Tyl. In the years before and during World War I, Czech politics were proactive and radically aimed at independence from Austria-Hungary. The independent state of Czechs and Slovaks was declared in Prague in 1918. President Tomas G. Masaryk led the First Republic...

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  • Prague History | Prague Spring 1968 The 20th Century

    The boom era ended with the German occupation and World War II, which was devastating for the city in many ways. Perhaps the only bright spot of this period was that Prague was never bombed (except for the small-scale accidental bombing by the US Army Air Forces, who claimed the attack was a navigation mistake; they thought Prague was Dresden) and much of its stunning architecture remained intact. During the war, over two thirds of the Jewish population in Prague...

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  • Prague History | Art Installation The Present

    Since the separation of Czechoslovakia, Prague has remained capital of the Czech Republic and today is experiencing an economical, political and cultural boom. Much of its residential, cultural and historical venues have been restored to their former glory thanks partially to the tourism boom Prague has experienced since the fall of Communism.  Prague is a cosmopolitan center in the heart of Europe, drawing foreign investors, investments, and millions of tourists, thanks to its impeccably preserved historical spirit and the ability...

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