Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic.
The city is located in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river.
As of January 2018, the population of Prague is about 1.3 million people.
Prague covers an area of 496 square kilometers (192 square miles).
The highest elevation in Prague is 399 meters (1,309 feet) above sea level while the lowest elevation is 177 meters (581 feet) above sea level.
During the thousand years of its existence, the city grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vyšehrad in the south, becoming the capital of a modern European country, the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union.
The legendary origins of Prague attribute its foundation to the 8th century Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” She ordered a castle and a town called Praha to be built on the site.
Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV (r. 1346–1378).
It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War and in 20th-century history as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe.
Today, Prague is one of the most visited European cities.
The construction of what came to be known as the Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, with a fortified settlement already existing on the site in the year 800. The first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885 at the latest. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. Today is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square meters (750,000 square feet), at about 570 meters (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 meters (430 feet) wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually.
One of the most recognizable old bridges in Europe is magnificent Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge is 621 metres (2,037 feet) long and nearly 10 meters (33 feet) wide, following the example of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg, it was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
Old Town Square is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague. The square features various architectural styles including the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, which has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century; the church’s towers are 80 m high. Prague Orloj is a medieval astronomical clock located on the Old Town Hall.
The Prague astronomical clock is a medieval astronomical clock. The clock mechanism itself has three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; statues of various Catholic saints stand on either side of the clock; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest and the most important church in the country. Located within Prague Castle and containing the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors, the cathedral is under the ownership of the Czech government as part of the Prague Castle complex. Cathedral dimensions are 124 by 60 meters (407 ft × 197 ft), the main tower is 102.8 meters (337 ft) high, front towers 82 meters (269 ft), arch height 33.2 meters (109 ft).
The Dancing House or Fred and Ginger, is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague. It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous.
The city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas and other historical exhibits.
The Czech name Praha is derived from an old Slavic word, práh, which means “ford” or “rapid”, referring to the city’s origin at a crossing point of the Vltava river.
Prague is classified as an “Beta+” global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Vienna, Seoul and Washington, D.C.
The city is ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016.
Prague has hundreds of restaurants, bars and pubs, especially with Czech beer.
Prague also hosts the Czech Beer Festival (Český pivní festival), which is the largest beer festival in the Czech Republic, held for 17 days every year in May.
Hollywood films set in Prague include Mission Impossible, xXx, Blade II, Alien vs. Predator, Doom, Chronicles of Narnia, Hellboy, Red Tails, Children of Dune, Dungeons and Dragons and Van Helsing.
Also, the romantic music video “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” by Kanye West was shot in the city.