Prague is the capitol and the largest city of the Czech Republic with a population over million people. It is situated on the both banks of Vltava River covering an area of about 500km². Prague has traditionally been one of the principal intellectual and cultural centers of central Europe.
The oldest settlement of this area goes back to the Stone Age but the Slavs came to the Prague valley in the 6th century. The city’s origins date back to the 9th century. In the 10th century another castle, Vyšehrad, was built and it became temporarily a seat of the Přemysl Princes too. Prague became the imperial residence of Charles IV (1346-1378) and during his rein it flourished and grew. Charles IV established an Archbishopric (1344), founded Charles 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 fact that Prague was not the capital of the monarchy any more preserved many historical buildings from the old times there. 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 Heyndrich. 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". On 17th November, 1989, the Velvet Revolution began democratic changes in our society. The whole process continued with the splitting of former federal Czechoslovakia into two independent states and thus, on 1st January, 1993, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic. The old centre of Prague consists of five historical districts.
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