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Visit Prague, Czech Republic

Visit Prague- The Past Becomes the Foundation of its Culture

Of the great cities in Europe I’ve had a chance to see, one that I would most highly suggest is to visit Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.  They have warm summers in addition to chilly, but not particularly cold winters. In 2011 it was the sixth city most visited anywhere in Europe.

The Vltava River has been this city’s focal point, and built around it our the principal points of interest.  It’s rich in history and culture, and has ten major museums, theaters and historical exhibits.  Luckily much of the old architecture has survived the destruction of Europe in the last century.

A Center of European History for 10 Centuries

As a major city in Eastern Europe, it has been at the center of history in that area for 1000 years.  At that point it started to be a center of trade for Europe, and aided by the wealth that trade brings it became a seat of control for what would turn out to be the Kingdom of Bohemia.  A sizable Jewish area was established, and the Old New synagogue, constructed in 1270 stands today.

Over the centuries Prague has had its good and bad times.  The city flourished under the King of Bohemia Charles IV, who ruled from 1346-1378.  A good amount of the architecture you will see in the city comes from this time, such as Charles University (the oldest university in Central Europe), the Charles Bridge (the vital thoroughfare connecting the right bank area to the castle area), the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, in addition to New Town (which is a delightful area adjacent to Old Town).  During this point Prague was the third largest city in Europe, with just Rome and Constantinople larger.

The City becomes a Center of Art in Europe

Following Charles passing away the city went through about 200 years of unrest, caused generally by differences attributable to religious beliefs and religious persecutions.  Things settled down with Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, who was chosen King of Bohemia in 1576 and took up residence in the Prague Castle.  Rudolf had been a forward thinker and a lover of fine art, and Prague became the capital of culture of Europe.  The year 1618 marked the beginning of one more turbulent time in Prague, when the devastating Thirty Years’ War had been fought especially in the first seven years in Bohemia.  Plague and famine brought on by the war caused the population of Prague to fall.

Prague was to recover later on within the 17th century, and by the mid-1800s factories spurred from the Industrial Revolution were to grant it an additional revitalization time.  Together World Wars I and II profoundly affected the city, as was communism within the last half of the Twentieth Century.

As we are able to see, Prague has had a explosive past, and I have devoted most of this piece to its history.  That is certainly because much of the things you will observe there features a historical setting, and to really appreciate this great city is to have a grasp of what Prague will have went through in the last 700 years.  If you go, for me an incredible dining experience was eating the local cooking and drinking the local beer.  These are both in fact outstanding.  There are literally hundreds of bars and pubs, and the native food we believed was more Slovak with German qualities.  Like most tourist cities, go to the out-of-the-way places (the locals are able to point you in the correct way) and stay clear of the touristy places.

Prague from emre aydin on Vimeo.

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