Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, the biggest, oldest and the most important city, the seat of the President, government and parliament.Prague is the political, cultural and economic centre of the country. Prague is lying in the heart of Europe. Others call it „hundred-towered Prague“ It spreads out on both banks of the river Vltava in the centre of Bohemia. It covers an area of almost 500 km2 and it has 1,2 million inhabitants.The whole city consists of 10 administrative districts.The oldest parts are the Old Town, The Lesser Town, the New Town, Josefov, Hradčany and Vyšehrad.
The oldest settlement of this area goes back to the Stone Age but the Slavs came to the Prague valley in the 6th century. In the 9th century Prince Bořivoj founded a castle on a headland above the Vltava valley and it became the seat of princes of the Přemyslid dynasty. In the 10th century another castle, Vyšehrad , was built and it became temporality a seat of the Přemyslid Princes too. Prague became the imperial residence of Charles IV. And during his reign it flourished and grew. Charles IV. Established an Archbishopric (1344), foundedCharles University (1348) and The New Town, and promoted the construction of Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral.In the 15th century Prague was the centre of the Hussite movement. At the end of the 16th century Prague regained its cosmopolitan character again when it became the seat of Rudolph II., who invited artists and scientists there (Tycho de Brahe, Johannes Kepler). On November 8, 1620 the Czech estates rose up against the Habsburgs and were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain. A few months later, in 1621, 27 representatives of the uprising were executed in the Old Town Square.The Thirty Years War, re-catholicization and germanization followed. At the end of the 18th century it became the centre of Czech cultural life when Czech scholars and writers began the process of national revival. In 1918 Prague was the capital of the independent Czechoslovak Republic again. In 1939 it was occupied by German troops and in 1942 severely persecuted after the assassination of the Nazi deputy protector Reinhardt Heydrich. After the Prague Uprising against the fascists the town was liberated by the Russians on 9th May, 1945. The August occupation of Prague in 1968 stopped the democratic reforms in the country and began the process of „normalization“.
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