Otázka: Prague – Historical development and places of interests
Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. It is the most important political, economic and cultural centre of our country and a resident of our president and the Czech goverment. It lies in “the heart of Europe”, on both banks of the river Vltava in the centre of Bohemia. It covers an area of about 500 square kilometres and it has 1,5 million inhabitants.
A legend connects the foundation of Prague with princess Libuše. In the 10th century Vyšehrad Castle was built and became the seat of Czech kings. In the 14th century Prague became a residence of Charles IV. In this time many important sights were built – Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, the New Town and important institutions were established– Charles University and archbishopric. In the 15th century Prague was the centre of the Hussite movement. In the 18th century Prague was the centre of Czech cultural life when Czech scholars and writers began the process of national revival. In 1918 Prague became the capital of the independent Czechoslovakia. In 1989 the Velvet Revolution started there and on the 1st January 1993 Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.
The dominant of the city is Prague Castle. It was a residence of Czech kings and now is a seat of president. We can find there many gothic, renaissance and baroque houses and palaces with gardens. The most impressive building at the Castle is the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, which was completed in 1929, nearly 600 years after its founding by Charles IV. The coronations jewels are kept in this cathedral. The famous part of the Castle is Golden Lane, where many craftsmen lived.
The Lesser Town is one of the most beautiful parts of Prague. It’s the oldest part of the town. When we go downhill from the Prague Castle to the Charles Bridge, we can go through Neruda Street, where one of the biggest Czech writer – Jan Neruda – was born. Near this street is St. Nicholas church,built in baroque style.
Charles Bridge,the oldest bridge in Prague, connects the Lesser Town with the Old Town – the historical centre of Prague. This bridge was built by Charles IV., when the original Judita’s bridge was torn down by a flood. It is decorated with 30 statues in baroque style. On the bridge there are many artist and musicians, stalls with pictures of Prague and with jewellery for tourists.
The Old Town Square is the centre of historical Prague. It is well known fot the astronomical clock with 12 apostles. There are also many hotels and restaurants and gift shops.
Jewish Town is a part of historical Prague.In the past the Jews were not allowed to live in any place but the ghetto. Now all that remains are several synagogues. The best known are the Old-new Synagogue and Pinkas Synagogue. On the walls of this Synagogue are written the names of victims from the Nazi terror. Nearby there is an old Jewish Cemetery and a Jewish museum.
Wenceslas square is a commercial centre of Prague. It’s known for its statue of St. Wenceslas on a horse in the upper part of the square. There are many shops, fast food, hotels and restaurants. On the top of the square there is the National Museum It is the biggest and the oldest Czech museum. We will also pass by Powder Gate, which originally wasone of the entrances to the Old Town.
The Vyšehrad Castle is the oldest castle in Prague and was another seat of kings. Near the Vyšehrad Castle is very famous Slavín Cemetery, where Czech artists and writers are buried.
Shopping and entertainment
In Prague there are a lot of opportunities for shopping and entertainment. The most famous boutiques are in the Paris Street – it is the most expensive street in Prague.
In Prague there are a lot of cinemas, theatres and galleries too. The most famous theatres are the National Theatre, Vinohrady Theatre and Theatre Na Zábradlí.
Prague is a large city, so transport is very important. There are different means of transport – buses, trams, underground, taxis and cars. The underground has 3 lines. It was flooded in 2002, but it is in operation again. There is one international airport Ruzyně renamed on Václav Havel’s airport in 2012.