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Prague Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated on the Vltava river in central Bohemia, it is home to approximately 1.2 million people.

Prague was founded has been settled since the Paleolithic Age. Around 200 BCE the Celts had a settlement in the south called Zi°vist, but later they were replaced (either expelled or assimilated) by Germanics.The Slavs conquered the site from the 4th century CE onwards, though for a period they were subdued by the Mongolian Avars.

Prague was founded by the Princess Libuse and her husband, Piłemysl, founder of the dynasty with the same name. Whether this legend is true or not, Prague's first nucleus was founded in the latter part of the 9th century as a castle on a hill commanding the right bank of the Vltava: this is known as V ysehrad ("high castle") to differentiate from the castle which was later erected on the opposite bank, the future Hradi®any. Soon Prague became the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, some of whom also later reigned as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important seat for trading where merchants coming from all Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled by the Jewish merchant and traveler Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub in 965. Prague became a bishopric in 973.

In 1689 a great fire devastated Prague, but this spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city. The economic rise continued through the following century, and the city in 1771 had 80,000 inhabitants. Many of these were rich merchants who, together with noblemen of German, Spanish and even Italian origin, enriched the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens, creating a Baroque style renowned throughout the world. In 1784, under Joseph II, the four municipalities of Mali° Strana, Nove Mi¨sto, Stare Mi¨sto and Hradi®any were merged into a single entity. The Jewish district, called Josefov, was included only in 1850. The Industrial Revolution had a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coalmines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karli≠n, was created in 1817, and twenty years later the population exceeded 100,000. The first railway connection was built in 1842.

The revolutions that shocked all Europe around 1848 touched Prague too, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years the Czech nationalist movement (opposed to another nationalist party, the German one) began its rise, until it gained the majority in the Town Council in 1861.

World War I ended with the defeat of Austria-Hungary and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital. At this time Prague was a true European capital with a very developed industrial base. In 1930 the population had risen to a startling 850,000.

For most of its history Prague had been a multiethnic city with important Czech, German, and (a mostly Yiddish- and/or German-speaking) Jewish populations. From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and during World War II, most Jews either fled the city or were killed in the Holocaust. The German population, which had formed the majority of the city's inhabitants until the 19th century, was expelled or fled in the aftermath of the war. Prague's people had revolted against the Nazi occupants as early as May 5, 1945, and four days later the Soviet army entered the city. Prague was thenceforth the capital of a Communist Republic under the military and political control of Soviet Union, and in 1955 it entered the Warsaw Pact.

In 1989, after the Berlin Wall had fallen, and the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia finally freed itself from communism and soviet influence, and Prague benefited deeply from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's (and the world's) most popular tourist destinations. Prague was one of the few European cities relatively untouched during the World Wars, allowing its historic architecture to stay true to form. There are lots of old buildings, many with beautiful murals on them. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.

Prague Transportation :

The city forms the hub of the Czech railway system, with services to all parts of the Czech Republic and to neighbouring countries.

Prague has two international railway stations, Hlavni nadrazi (sometimes referred to as Wilsonovo nadrazi) and Praha Holesovice. Intercity services also stop at the main stations Praha Smi≠chov and Masarykovo nadrazi. In addition to these, there are a number of smaller suburban stations.

Airport :
Prague is served by Ruzyne International Airport, which is the hub of the flag carrier, CSA Czech Airlines. There are several cheap flights per day from the UK (Easyjet) and from other cities (Smartwings and SkyEurope).

Famous People Related to Prague :

Being the cultural and economical center of Bohemia, Prague attracted many famous people. Some of the best known are:

Charles IV
Rudolf II
Jan Hus
Bohumil Hrabal
Franz Kafka
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Antonin Dvorak
Vaclav Havel
Albert Einstein
This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia

Tags: capital, czech republic, vltava, bohemia

Date Added: 26 April '06

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