Prague is a heart of the continent. The city was established in 9th century. It was the seat of Czech princes and later kings of Bohemia and became the political heart of the Czech State. Charles IV, Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor, chose the city as the capital of his whole Empire. He founded Charles University, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and the New Town. Many events have occurred here. Prague is connected with the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus and the Hussite movement.
The old centre of Prague consists of five historical districts. On the right bank of the Vltava there are Old Town, New Town and Josefov. On the left right bank of the Vltava there are The Lesser Quarter and Hradčany (the Castle District).
Old Town: The Old Town Square is another significant historical spot. It used to be the most important market place in Prague and the scene of many historical events. Its main monument is the Old Town Hall with its world-famous astronomical clock. There are also two famous churches on the Old Town Square: the Gothic Týn Church and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church.
The Estates Theatre is near the Old Town Square. The world premiere of Mozart´s opera Don Giovanni took place there in 1787. Mozart visited Prague a few times.
Charles Bridge connects two banks of river Vltava. It is 516 meters long and 10 meters wide. It was built during the reign of Charles IV. It is said that eggs were added to the bridge. There are many baroque statues for example statue of St. Jan of Nepomuk. He lived in the 14th century. Legend has it that if you touch the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge and make a wish, it will come true.
Near Charles Bridge lies Kampa Island, separated from the Lesser Quarter by a small canal called Čertovka. In the past there used to be many mills on Kampa and two big wooden mill wheels are still preserved today. The Church of St. Nicholas, at the center of the Lesser Quarter, is one of the most outstanding examples of Czech Baroque architecture.
Another important part is Nerudova Street with its characteristics house-signs/typical houses.
Hradčany – the Prague castle is seat of the Czech president, it is the largest castle complex in the world.
The Castle District – The Cathedral of St. Vitus is the biggest church in Prague and holds the nation´s crown jewels. The southern Golden Gate has an amazing mosaic decoration. St. Wenceslas Chapel was built to protect the relics of the most important Czech saint and national patron – St. Wenceslas. Its walls are decorated with frescoes and Czech semi-precious stones. Another well-known place in the Castle District is the Loreta. The most fascinating part is its Treasure Chamber with a diamond monstrance decorated with 6,222 diamonds.
Vyšehrad Castle is situated on a rock above the Vltava River. Legend has it that Czech Princess Libuše prophesied the glory of Prague from here. It was the seat of Czech kings. The Czech national cemetery was founded here. There are buried many important cultural figures: writer Karel Čapek, sculptor J.V. Myslbek, composers A. Dvořák and B. Smetana, poet J. Neruda and artist M. Aleš.
Petřín Hil: Prague´s skyline is defined by Petřín Hill. There is a 60-meter tall viewing tower on the hill, which was built in 1891. It was modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Apart from the tower, there´s a mirror labyrinth and the Prague Municipal Observatory.
Prague´s cultural events offer something for everyone. The National Gallery houses a collection of modern art, various dance performances can be seen at the National Theatre and classical concerts by Mozart, Dvořák, Smetana and other famous composers can be heard at the Rudolfinum and the Municipal House. The State Opera House, National Museum, the Jewish Museum.
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