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Prague (Praha), Czech Republic
Prague coat-of-arms
Capital city (hlavní město) Czech Republic (Česká republika)
Population 1,172,975 (31.3.2005)
Area 496 km²
Coordinates 50°02′ N 14°45′ E
Elevation 180-400 m AMSL
Founded 9th century
Prague location map

Prague (Czech: Praha, see also other names) 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 people. (It can be derived from jobs statistics, however, that an additional 300,000 work there without having registered as residents.)

Nicknames for Prague have included "city of a hundred spires", "the golden city", "the Left Bank of the Nineties", the "mother of 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 also reigned as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire in later times. The city flourished during the 14th century reign of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town, the Charles Bridge, Saint Vitus Cathedral: the oldest gothic cathedral in central Europe which is actually inside the Castle, and the Charles University: the oldest university in central Europe. Prague was then the third-largest city in Europe.

For centuries, Prague was a multiethnic city with an important Czech, German and (a mostly Yiddish- and/ or German-speaking) Jewish population. From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and during World War II, most Jews either fled the city or were killed in the Holocaust. The German population, which had formed the majority of the city's inhabitants till the 19th century, was expelled in the aftermath of the war.

Prague Castle at night
Prague Castle at night

Most important moments of Prague history in chronological sequence:

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), Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana, south of the Castle), Old Town (Staré Město, on the east bank opposite the Castle) and New Town (Nové Město, 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. In 1938 population reached 1,000,000.


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, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern. Some of its many tourist attractions are:

Packed with tourists on a busy summer day in Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Prague
Packed with tourists on a busy summer day in Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Prague
The astronomical clock in the Old-Town Square of Prague
The astronomical clock in the Old-Town Square of Prague
View over Prague from the Klementinum tower, where a meteorological and astronomical observatory was located.
View over Prague from the Klementinum tower, where a meteorological and astronomical observatory was located.


Prague is a traditional cultural center of Europe, hosting many cultural events.

Most Important Cultural Institutions:

There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city. Prague also hosts Film Festivals, Music Festivals, Writers Festival, hundreds of Vernissages and Fashion Shows.

See also


Prague is the wealthiest city in Eastern Europe. The GDP per capita of Prague is more than double that of the Czech Republic as a whole. The city is becoming a site of European headquarters of many international companies.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s Prague has become a popular filming location for international productions and Hollywood motion pictures. Unlike many other European cities, Prague did not suffer great destruction during World War II, and the city is often used as a "stand in" for other pre-WW2 European cities, such as Amsterdam or London. [1] [2] A combination of architecture, low costs, tax breaks and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proved attractive to international film production companies.

Colleges and universities

The city contains 8 universities and colleges including the oldest university in Central and Eastern Europe:

The Church of Our Lady in front of Týn (chrám Panny Marie před Týnem)
The Church of Our Lady in front of Týn (chrám Panny Marie před Týnem)


Public transport infrastructure consists of three metro lines, trams (including nostalgic tram no.91), buses and a funicular to Petřín Hill. The city is a railroad hub.

Prague is served by Ruzyně International Airport (10,000,000 passengers per year), which is the hub of the flag carrier, CSA Czech Airlines. There are several cheap flights per day from UK (Easyjet) and from other cities (Smartwings).


The taxi service in Prague has had a somewhat chequered history. During the rule of Communist Party in Czechoslovakia (1948–1989), the taxi service was nationalised into one umbrella company, and, with a short exception during liberalization related to Prague spring, no independent taxi drivers were allowed. The quality and availability of the service was low. This caused many enterprising people to run illegal taxi services. Their earnings were far above income of typical citizens and became a source of envy. After the fall of the Communism regime, the service was liberalized, and anyone could become a taxi driver. Unfortunately, the chaos of transition from planned to market economy did not leave any time to implement sufficient regulations. The lack of planning and controls has led to a number of serious taxi scams operating in the city; some of which have been linked with organised crime. Many of the victims of overpricing are tourists.

Taxi services in Prague can currently be divided into three sectors. There are major taxicab companies, operating call-for-taxi services (radio-taxi) or from regulated taxi stands, where overpricing is rare and regulation mostly in place. There are independent drivers, who make pick-ups on the street; cheating is mostly associated with these cars. Lastly, there are fake taxi drivers, who operate as "contractual transport services" in order to avoid government regulation.


Prague is the site of many sports events, national stadiums and teams


Prague TV tower
Prague TV tower

Prague is also the site of most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic and Central Europe.

Prague - Venue

Major events of recent years:

Famous People connected with Prague

Portrait of Rudolf II
Portrait of Rudolf II
See main article Famous People Connected with Prague for detailed list.

As cultural and economical center of Czech lands Prague attracted many famous people. Some of most known are: Charles IV - Rudolf II - Jan Hus - Bohumil Hrabal - Franz Kafka - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Antonín Dvořák - Václav Havel.

Historical population

  • 1230: cca 3-4,000 inhabitants 1
  • 1370: cca 40,000 2
  • 1600: cca 60,000 2
Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice)
Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice)
  • 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
  • 2004: 1,170,571


  • 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).

See also

the Church of St. Nicolas
the Church of St. Nicolas

External links

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