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13. Prague

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• Location • Important facts in history • Famous buildings / landmarks • Tourist attractions • Cultural life / sports • Shopping • Transport • Your experience 13) Prague Prague is the capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic, is located along the Vltava River in the central part of the Czech Republic.Prague is the headquarters of the President of the Republic, the Government and the majority of State institutions. It is not only the governmental heart of the country, but it’s also a city full of cultural events, architecture and history. Today, approximately 1.3 million residents live in Prague’s area of 496 km². Including its suburbs, Prague has about 2 million residents. The city, established in the 9th century, 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 of the most beautiful things we associate with Prague can be traced back to Charles IV. Prague is connected with the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus and the Hussite movement. Prague was also where the Thirty Year’s War began with the uprising of the Czech Estates in the early 17th century. The Czech National Revival in the 19th century restored once again Prague’s prominence and the National Theatre was built to express this feeling of national pride for Czechs. The building itself was financed from money collected by the Czech people. In 1918, the city became the capital of the independent Czechoslovakia and after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, it became the capital of the Czech Republic. The old Centre of Prague consists of five historical districts. Old Town, New Town and Josefov (the former Jewish Town) are situated on the right bank of the Vltava. The Lesser Quarter and Hradčany (the Castle District) are on the left bank. The Old Town Charles Bridge ranks among the greatest monuments in Prague. It is 516 meters long and 10 meters wide. It is an open-air gallery of unique Baroque statues. In about the middle of the bridge stands the statue of St. John of Nepomuk. He lived in the 14th century and held the position of General Vicar. According to legend, its construction began on 9th July 1357 at 5.31 a.m. Astrologists at the time believed, it was the best date and time for laying the foundation stone. While the bridge was being built, the builders added eggs to the mortar to make a strong substance to hold the bridge together. 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 theOld Town Hall with its worldfamous astronomical clock. There are also two famous churches on the Old Town Square: theGothic Týn Church and theBaroque St. Nicholas Church.The Estates Theatre is near the Old Town Square. The Cathedral of St. Vitus is the biggest church in Prague and holds the treasury of the Czech coronation jewels. The Lesser Quarter 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 of the Lesser Quarter isNerudova Street with its characteristic house-signs. The three fiddles sign has been preserved on one of the houses, signifying the three generations of violin makers who used to live and work there. The most important house is known asAt The Two Suns. This is where the well-known Czech writer Jan Neruda used to live. Today the building is a famous pub. Cultural life The National Gallery houses - a collection of modern art In theNational Theatre can be seen various dance performances At the Rudolfinum and the Municipal House can be heard classical concerts by Mozart, Dvořák, Smetana and other famous composers. headquarters –sídlo residents –obyvatelé emperor –císař uprising –povstání with the uprising of the Czech Estates - povstáním českých stavů National Revival- národní obrození lesser – menší ranks among - patří mezi mortar – malta The Estates Theatre – Stavovské divadlo Lesser Quarter – Malá strana house-signs – domovní znamení Transportation Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. The metro, trams and buses are used by two-thirds of Prague's population and cover the majority of the city. The Prague metro carries around 600 million passengers a year. Its three lines (A,B,C) consist of about 62 km of tracks running mostly underground, and 61 stations. New stations continue to be added. The Prague metro is only about 40 years old and is mostly Russian-built.

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