Prague (Praha in Czech) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated on the Vltava river in central Bohemia, it is home to approximately 1.2 million inhabitants. (It can be derived from jobs statistics, however, that additional 300,000 work there without having registered as residents.)
Nicknames for Prague have included "city of a hundred (or thousand) spires", "the golden city", "the Paris of the Twenties in the Nineties", the "mother of all cities", and "the heart of Europe". Since 1992, the historic center of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.
Founded in the latter part of the 9th century, Prague soon became the seat of the kings of Bohemia, some of whom later reigned also as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city flourished during the 14th century reign of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New City, the Charles Bridge, Saint Vitus Cathedral, the oldest gothic cathedral in central Europe and actually inside the Castle, and the Charles University, the oldest university in central Europe north of the Alps. Prague was then the third-largest city in Europe.
View over Prague from the Klementinum tower, where a meteorological and astronomical observatory was located.
The four independent boroughs that had formerly constituted Prague were eventually proclaimed a single city in 1784. Those four cities were Hradčany (the Castle District, west and north of the Castle), Malá Strana (the Lesser Town, south of the Castle), Staré Město (the Old Town, on the east bank opposite the Castle) and Nové Město (the New Town, further south and east). The city underwent further expansion with the annexation of Josefov in 1850 and Vyšehrad in 1883, and at the beginning of 1922, another 37 municipalities were incorporated, raising the city's population to 676,000. Most of the city's 50,000 Jews died in the Nazi genocide of World War II.
Prague suffered from serious flooding in August 2002, with parts of the city having to be evacuated. The floods caused a lot of damage, but fortunately no major landmarks (such as the Charles Bridge) were destroyed.
Prague is a popular tourist destination. There are lots of old buildings, many with beautiful murals on them. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern . Some of its many tourist attractions are:
The astronomical clock in the Old-Town Square of Prague
Prague is a traditional cultural center, hosting many theaters including, National Theatre,The Rudolfinum (Home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra), opera houses, concert halls, galleries and music clubs.
Prague is the wealthiest city in Central and Eastern Europe, and wealthier than many in Western Europe, with a per-capita GDP (PPP) of EUR 31,369, which is at 149% of the European Union average.
Colleges and universities
The city contains 8 universities and colleges including:
Public transport infrastructure consists of three metro lines, as well as tramway lines and buses.
Prague is served by Ruzyně International Airport, which is the hub of the flag carrier, CSA Czech Airlines.
Prague is also the site of most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic, including the President, the Government and both houses of the Parliament.
- 1230: cca 3-4,000 inhabitants 1
- 1370: cca 40,000 2
- 1600: cca 60,000 2
- 1804: 76,000
- 1837: 105,500
- 1850: 118,400 (157,200 incl. suburbs)
- 1880: 162,300 (314,400 incl. suburbs)
- 1900: 201,600 (514,300 incl. suburbs)
- 1925: 718,300
- 1950: 931,500
- 1980: 1,182,800
- 1998: 1,193,300
- 2001: 1,169,100
- 1 Staré město only
- 2 Staré město, Nové město, Malá Strana and Hradčany quarters
- Numbers beside other years denote the population of Prague within the administrative border of the city at that time (and population including present suburbs in parentheses).