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Prague

Prague, Czech Republic, Bridges Spanning the River Vltava

Prague is the natural capital and largest city of Czech Republic is strategically located on the river Vltava, in the middle of Bohemia. Prague is known as a city with one hundred towers and is rich in historic buildings from all periods. Many find the most beautiful city Prague in Europe. The broad but shallow Vltava is spanned by several bridges, one of them is 14th-century Charles Bridge, the most remarkable piece of medieval art and architecture. Hradaany the formidable castle, seat of the President, overlooks the river and the old town and Mala Strana.

Much of urban life focuses on the famous Wenceslas Square, the center of the new town of Charles IV. Beyond the historic districts are densely built neighborhoods with 19th and 20th century and beyond are the apartment’s buildings from the communist period.

Prague, once a compact city with courtiers, merchants, musicians (Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was premiered here) and scholars, in the 20th century has become an important commercial and industrial center. The heavy industry of the Communist era is now overshadowed by light industry, services and tourism.

This bridge was built by order of King Charles IV (14th century). He placed Prague on the map; the city has architecturally changed dramatically. This bridge over the Vltava River was and still is an important connection between the city and the seat of government (Prague Castle). Now this bridge is pedestrian and tourist heart of the city. Through his 42 saints is very recognizable.

A visit to Prague without visiting this part of the city is impossible; moreover it would be a disaster. On this square stands the statue of Jan Hus. He was a priest and professor and well connected as confessor at the Royal Court. Because he dared to attack the Catholic authority for their greed, he was sentenced to death. He died in 1415 at the stake but has an important movement launched by unrest as a result. He is now a hero of Prague.

On this same square is the old town hall. The tower itself is nothing special but outstands with its astronomical clock. At the very hour you can see a procession of apostles (daytime only). On the other side of the square is the Tyn Church (Tynsky chram). This typical Bohemian church was completed early 16th century but was completely destroyed by fire in 1679. The somber and sober interior lacks the warm colors of other Baroque churches in Prague.

The Old Town Square is the most expensive in the city. Here almost all the main characters lived in the beautiful houses around the square. Now there are shops and expensive restaurants in that location.

Wenceslas is one of the major figures of Prague. He lived in the 10th century and left his position as ruler of what was to be completely at the service of his faith. He was killed by his brother. He was later canonized and revered throughout the Czech Republic.
This square has always been the gathering place for celebrations, commemorations but also demonstrations. For example this square was packed with protesters during the Velvet Revolution in late 1989. In 1969, after the failure of the Prague Spring, put the student Jan Palach set themselves on fire in protest. Now there are still flowers on this site.
Wenceslas Square is still the most vibrant square, day or night. The shopping areas are on this square, there are restaurants and entertainment. Besides the statues you will certainly notice the majestic building of the National Museum. Between the square and the museum is a beltway. You will find a natural-history department next to a major collection of coins, archeological finds and artworks related to the Czech (Bohemian) history.

Prague has always had an important Jewish community. During the Nazi period, they also severely affected. To get a good picture about their presence in Prague is best to visit the Jewish Museum (museum Zidovske). All sights are located in the Jewish Quarter Josefov, just north of the Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti).

The Prague castle is a complex of palaces and churches where kings had their residence. Each of the Bohemian princes has been changed to make it a jumble of architectural styles. Now the President's residence is located here. Do not worry the complex is so big that there is much left to visit.