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Basic facts and History

    Prague is a capital of Czech Republic. It is a seat of the President, the Parliament, the government and the cultural and economic centre of the country. It spreads on the both banks of the river Vltava. Prague is divided into 22 administrative districts and it has about 1, 2 million inhabitants. The oldest parts are Old Town, The Lesser Town, Hradčany, Josefov and Vyšehrad.
    A legend connects the foundation of Prague with Princess Libuše of the Přemyslid dynasty, who prophesied the future of Prague which “would touch the stars”. The oldest settlers came to the area in The Stone Age, but the Slavs came to the Prague valley in the 6th century. In the 9th century prince Bořivoj founded a castle in the Vltava valley and it became the seat of the Přemyslid dynasty. In the 10th century Vyšehrad castle was built and it became the residence of the dynasty too.
    Prague became an imperial residence during the rule of Charles IV., who founded an Archbishopric, University and the New Town here. He also promoted the construction of the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral. In the 15th century Prague became a centre of the Hussite movement. Prague regained its cosmopolitan character again during the rule of Rudolf II, who invited artists and scientists here. On 8th November 1620 the Czechs rose up against the Hapsburgs and they were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain. A few month later 27 members of the movement were executed at the Old Town Square. The Thirty Years’ War, re-catholicization and germanization followed. At the end of the 18th century it became a centre of the cultural life, when national revival started. In 1918 it rose again as a capital of an independent country. In 1939 it was occupied by German troops and later it was a place of assassination of the Nazi deputy Protector Reinhardt Heydrich. After the Prague Uprising against the fascist the town was liberated by the Russians on 9th May 1945.
The Soviet occupation in the August 1968 stopped the democratic reforms and started the process of the normalization. On the 17th November the Velvet Revolution began the democratic changes in our society. The process continued with the splitting the state into two independent states on the 1st January 1993, when Prague became the capital of The Czech Republic.

Places of interest
Prague castle
    is the dominant of the city and the seat of the President. Form the square outside the castle, tourists can admire the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses. The complex of the Prague castle includes three courtyards and over 700 rooms. The most famous are the gothic Vladislav Hall, the Spanish Hall and the Rudolf Gallery. In the Vladislav Hall the election of President takes place and the other Halls serve for ceremonial and cultural purposes.    
    The most impressive building in the complex is the St. Vitus Cathedral completed in 1929 and founded by Charles IV. with the occasion of establishment of the Archbishopric. The main constructors were Matthias of Arras and Peter Parlěř. The most admired parts are St. Wenceslas Chapel decorated by semi-precious stones, coronation chamber with the coronation jewels and the Royal Crypt with sarcophaguses of Czech kings and queens.
    Other interesting places at the Prague castle are the Basilica of St. George, Golden Lane, Schwarzenberg, Sternberg and Černín Palaces.

In the neighbourhood of the Prague Castle on the Petřín Hill the Strhov Monastery is located.
Nearby the Petřín Observatory Tower can be found.
The Lesser Town
    It is on of the oldest parts of the city. The jewel of Baroque architecture is St. Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town Square. Nearby is the Charles Bridge over the river Vltava. The bridge is 520m long and it is decorated with 30 sculptures and groups of statues.

Old Town Square
    It’s in the centre of the Old Town. The best known building in the square is the Old Town Hall, famous because of the horologe. The dominant of the square is Týn Church Tycho de Brahe was buried. In the centre of the square is the John Huss Monument. From the square lead Paris Street and Celetná Street.

    The Na Příkopě Street leads to the biggest square, the Wenceslas square. It is a 750 metres long boulevard lined with the banks, hotels and restaurants. At the upper end of the square are St. Wenceslas Monument and the National Museum.
    The Vyšehrad castle was another seat of the kings. There is very famous Slavín Cemetery, where the most famous persons of our history were buried.

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