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Prague

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20 - PRAGUE Prague, the capital of the Czech Republicis. It is the most important political, economic and cultural centre of the country and the seat of the President and the other institution the Czech government, the Parliament and other instituion. More than one million people live here. It lies on area of 500 square kilometers andit spreads out on both banks of the Vltava river.The whole city consists of 10 administrative districts. The oldest ones are the Old Town , the Lesser Town, the New Town, Josefov, Hradcany and Vysehrad. It has several nicknames: heart of Europe, City of a Hundred Spires, Mother of the Cities or Golden City. The historical centre of Prague is under protection of UNESCO. Prague was founded in the 6th century by Slavs. This foundation is connected with Princes Libuše, who has said that the future glory of Prague "would touch the stars”. In the 10th century the Vyšehrad castle was founded. It was built as a temporary seat of Přemyslid dynasty. It is the oldest castle in Prague.The Vyšehrad site also contains the Slavín cemetery, the burial place of famous personalities of our political and cultural life.In the 14th century the most famous emperor of Czech Monarchy Charles IV lived in Prague. He established an Archbishopric in 1344 there, founded Charles University (1348) and the New Town. He also promoted the building of Charles Bridge (with 31 sculptures added between 17th and 20th century) and St. Vitus Cathedral (architects Matthias of Arras and Peter Parler). In the 15th century Prague was the centre of the Hussite movement, which was one of the consequences of execution of John Huss. It was defeated on the Vítkov Hill. In the 16th century Prague was the seat of Rudolph II, who invited artists and scientists there. In 1620 an uprising against The House of Habsburg was defeated on The White Hill. A few months later 27 leaders of this uprising were executed on the Old Town Square. Now there are 27 crosses on the pavement of the Old Town Square. In 1918 Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia, newly established state with President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. In 1939 Czechoslovakia split into Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and Slovakia and later they united again. Protectorate was occupied by Germanyand in 1942 was severely persecuted after the assassination of the Nazi deputy protector Reinhard Heydrich. In 1945 the town was liberated by the Soviet Army.Since 1948 till the Velvet Revolution on November 17th, 1989 Czechoslovakia was under the reign of Communist Party. In 1993 it split again into two independent states and Prague became the capital city of the Czech Republic. Prague castle has more than 700 rooms and 3 courtyards. It is seat of president and it is also dominant of the city. The three most important rooms are Vladislav hall (built in gothic style, used for special ceremonies), Spanish hall (used for ceremonial and cultural purposes), Rudolph gallery (used for exhibitions). Saint Vitus Cathedral was finished in 1929 after more than 1000 yearsafter the foundation of the first church on this site. One of the most important chapels is called Saint Wenceslas Chapel. It is decorated with semi-precious stones. Inside of this chapel, there is coronation chamber where the coronation jewels are kept (St. Wenceslas crown, the scepter and the orb). The royal crypt with sarcophaguses of Czech kings and queens is under the cathedral.Another place worth seeing is the Convent of St George, the first to be built in Bohemia (993), now containing collections of the National Gallery. In the Castle Gardens we can admire the Royal Summer Palace Belveder (Queen Ann’s Summer House), Golden Lane made up of tiny houses with coloured facades originated in the 16th century when craftsmen settled there. During the reign of Rudolf II a lot of alchemists and later also the famous writer Franz Kafka and lived there. In the neighbourhood of the Castle on Petřín Hill the Strahov Monastery (founded in the 12th century) is located. Nearby the Petřín Observation Tower can be found. It was built for the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 as a copy of the Eiffel Tower. There is also a fabulous mirror maze. You can use the funicular railway to go on Petřín. Along Charles Street we can get to the Old Town Square, the centre of the Old Town. Old Town Hall is the best known building on the square. Tourists come to see an Astronomical Clock with statue of the Apostles on the tower. The visual dominant of the Square is the Týn Church where Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was buried. The John Huss monument can be found on the centre of the square. Paris Street takes us to the Jewish Town. The Jewish community originated in Prague as early as the 10th century. The Old-New Synagogue and cemetery have remained to the present. Wenceslas Square is the heart of New Town. It is a 750 meters long boulevard, lined with banks, department stores, boutiques, shops, hotels, restaurants, theatres and cinemas. The neo-renaissance building of the National museum closes the upper part of the square. It was built in end of 19th century and now it contains historical and natural collections. In the upper part of the square stands the St. Wenceslas Memorial. It is a bronze equestrian statue of prince Wenceslas made by J.V.Myslbek. On Vltava’s right bank there is the most beautiful Neo-Renaissance building, the National Theatre. Its foundation stone was laid in 1868 and finished after 30 years. It was built according to plans of architect Zítek. The new building caught fire by an accident and burnt out nearly to the ground. In short time it was rebuilt. Many excellent artists like Myslbek, Hynais, Aleš, Ženíšek etc. took part in its decoration. Charles Bridge is the oldest stone bridge in Europe. It had been constructed from 1357 to 1400. Until 1841, this was the only bridge to connect old street of Prague. It also played an very important role as the trade route between East and West zone of Prague. At first, it w

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