Prague, Czech Praha, capital of the Czech Republic, on the Vltava, with (2019) 1.3 million residents the largest city in the country.
Prague lies 176–391 m above sea level, in a wide basin (Prague Basin) on both sides of the Vltava, which flows through the city over a length of 28 km, in the middle of the Bohemian Massif. The city spreads on the river terraces of the Vltava, the outer edge of the city also on the adjoining plateaus, the spurs of which reach close to the left bank of the Vltava and tower over it up to 140 m. The castle and the district of Hradčany lie on one of the foothills of these plateaus, while the historic city center with the old town (Staré Město) and the new town (Nové Město) is located between the Vyšehrad rock (up to 57 m above the Vltava) and the Vltava bend. to the right and the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) to the left of the Vltava take the lowest river terraces. From an administrative point of view, Prague forms an independent district (496 km2) and is also the administrative seat of the Central Bohemian Region (Středočeský kraj).
Administrative and cultural institutions
Prague is the Catholic archbishop’s seat and the cultural and economic center of the country, with the Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, the Czech Technical University and the University of Agriculture, the University of Chemistry and Technology, the University of Economics and numerous other universities, the Academy of fine arts, the academy for music, the academy for art, architecture and design as well as several research institutes and libraries (national library etc.).
Prague has well-known museums (including the National Museum, the Museum of the City of Prague, the Jewish Museum, the National Gallery, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Kampa Museum of Modern Art; the Kafka Museum, the Dvořák Museum, the Smetana Museum); Goethe Institute (since 1990); Planetarium, botanical and zoological garden. In addition to the State Opera and the National Theater, Prague has numerous other stages. Every year the city hosts the Prague Spring (music). The Barrandov district is known for its film studios. In 2000, Prague was the »European City of Culture«.
Prague is the country’s outstanding industrial center. Mechanical engineering and vehicle construction are leading, followed by the food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, electrotechnical and electronic, precision engineering and optical industries. Information and communication technologies are becoming increasingly important. The economic dynamism of the city is based primarily on the expanding service sector with numerous banks, real estate and financial service providers; many Czech and foreign companies have their headquarters here. With 18.1 million overnight stays in 2017, the capital is also the country’s tourist center.
Prague is the country’s most important transport hub with an international airport (Ruzyně, in the northwest) and an inland port (the start of shipping on the Vltava). The most important inner-city means of transport has been the subway (since 1974).
According to A2zdirectory, Prague, which consisted of 40 fortified courtyards in the 9th century, developed from several settlements between the two castles Vyšehrad and Hradschin; In 973 the diocese of Prague was founded. The Jewish community in Prague has been documented since the end of the 11th century, one of the most important in Europe (bloom: 16th and 17th centuries). The Lesser Town, which received city rights in 1257, was created through intensive, including German, settlement, which was strongly encouraged by King Ottokar II. Přemysl (1253–78); the old town had city rights since 1230. Prague experienced through Emperor Charles IV., under which the diocese was released from the Mainz metropolitan power in 1344 and raised to the archbishopric and who had chosen the city as his residence in 1346, its first heyday. With the construction of the New Town and the founding of the (Charles) University (1348), the importance of Prague grew. The movement of J. Hus started in Prague with the 1st Prague window lintel (July 30, 1419), here the Hussite Wars ended with the Prague compacts of 1433. The second Prague window lintel (May 23, 1618) resolved that Bohemian uprising and ultimately the Thirty Years War.
From the story “The Mysterious City” (1929)
In ancient times, long before the reign of Queen Libusha, who is said to have founded Prague around the year 700, seven monks have wandered from the heart of Asia, the heart of the world, and have – like they did in other parts of the world plowed for a mysterious purpose – on a rock on the left side of the Vltava, where the Hradschin, the castle of Prague, now rises, a rice planted – this is the legend in Bohemia. It is popularly said that the rice was a dwarf juniper, that shrub growing horizontally in fantastic shapes that looks as if a storm wind, which we cannot feel, is sweeping over it constantly: that may well be the reason why it was said in the past Wherever such plants thrive, the hurricane of great wars would break out of the earth at intervals.
It is strange that, as I learned much later, the legend of the seven wandering monks is also linked to the Indian city of Allahabad. Allahabad has a second name: Prague! and is called like Praha (the Czech name for Prague) in German: the threshold. –
I don’t know of any city that, like Prague, when you live in it and are mentally weathered with it, lures you so often and in such a strangely magical way to visit the places of its past. It is as if the dead were calling us living to the places where they once lived to whisper to us that Prague is not called “threshold” for nothing – that in reality it is a threshold between this world and the hereafter, a threshold, much narrower than in other places. – Then you go there as if under compulsion, you don’t see or hear anything that you don’t already know, but you carry home a feeling that you can never forget, into old age – a peculiar feeling, somehow over a threshold to have stepped.
Meyrink: The mysterious city, in: the same: The house to the last lantern. Leftover and scattered things, ed. v. E. Frank (Munich / Vienna: Langen Müller, 1973), page 162 ff.
In 1784, under Emperor Joseph II, the magistrates of the four Prague cities (Old Town, Lesser Town, New Town, Hradschin) were united. After the construction of the Prague – Vienna railway line (1845), industrialization began, which strengthened Prague as the economic center of Bohemia. In June 1848, Prague was the center of the failed Czech national revolution (Slav Congress, »Prague Whitsun Uprising«). A change in the electoral mode brought the majority of the Czech population to the city parliament for the first time in 1861. In the first third of the 20th century, Prague was a center of German-Jewish culture (Prager Kreis).
From 1918 to 1992, Prague was the capital of Czechoslovakia (since 1920 through numerous incorporations, “Greater Prague”). After the occupation of Prague by German troops (March 15, 1939), Prague became the capital of the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” (until the invasion of Soviet troops, May 9, 1945); the “Prague May Uprising” (from May 5th) culminated in the brutal persecution of the Sudeten Germans. On August 21, 1968, the Prague Spring was put to a violent end by Soviet tanks. From January 1989, Prague became the starting point of the “soft revolution” (citizens’ movement) with protest rallies. Since 1969 also the capital of the Czech Republic (within the Federation), Prague became the capital of the independent Czech Republic on January 1, 1993.