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The City

Prague, the charming city, heart of Europe

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic and of Bohemia, is situated on the River Moldava (Vltava in Czech): the city has been a cultural link between the East and the West due to its location in the centre of Europe. Nicknames for Prague have included “The city of one hundred towers” or “the hundred spires” (actuall about five hundred) , the “Golden city”. “the Paris of the 1920’s” “Mother of cities” and “Crown of the World”. Prague nowadays ranks among the 20 more visited cities in the World.
The beauty of Prague emerges from the magical Bohemian forests located by the side of the Moldava river wich flows gently forward into the Elbe forming meandres in its way ; the bridges over the river, the irregular lands and the hills … a really wonderful view!
Going for a walk around Prague (Praha in Czech) is like entering the fantastic world of Princes and Fairy tales: palaces, castles, churches and incredible bridges everywhere, creating one unique literary, romantic, nostalgic and musical background taken out of a dreamworld. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites due to its beauty and to one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture of different styles, a testimony of the historical evolution of architecture. Different styles are present: Romanic rotundas, the Gothic in the churches, Baroque in palaces, exquisite exponents of Renaissance, Modernism, Neo-Classical and Cubist.
Prague is one of nine European cities to hold the prestigious title of “ European city of Culture 2000” which it gained thanks to its 40 museums and more than 50 galleries housing unique collections, tens of theatres and important concert halls which host performances by world famous artists.
Famous Bohemia glass, beautiful Karlovy Vary ceramics, matrioshkas, marionettes, 40 different world-famous brand names of Czech beer, Bohemia and Moravia wines, handmade embroidery, antiques, the Black light Theatre, musical instruments and classical music are part of the cultural heritage of Prague. The Heart of Europe has its own musical musical beating: Hussites chorales, Organ Baroque Music, classical violin, great Bohemian composers and the well-known Philarmonic Orchestra join their chords and let Prague sound harmoniously all over the World. Every Spring, the World of Music is present in Prague as well in the Prague Spring International Music Festival, opening the European musical concerts season; Concertino Praga Czech Radio's prestigious international competition for young musicians; Summer in Prague is full of cultural events, concerts and theatre performances in historical buildings and gardens; the International Jazz Festival closes the Autumn season, five months later.

History of Prague

Once upon a time there lived Libuše, prophetess and wife of Přemysl, a mythical farmer, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. They were looking where to establish and arrived to the banks of the Moldava river, which the Princess recognized to be the place of her dreams and forecast that her glory “would reach the stars”. They built the Vyšehrad castle just there, seat of royal Bohemia. So, according to legends, this was the very beginning of the city that would transform into Charles IV imperial capital in the future.
“Praga caput regni” is read on the coat of arms of the city. It means : Prague, capital city of the Kingdom, Prague capital city of the Republic. Since its foundation in the 9th century, Prague started to grow and became an important city in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since those days Pargue played an important role in the history of the Czech nation and the continent. The historical nucleus in Prague spreads out to both sides of the Vltava river (Moldava) and is made up of six districts –originally and until the 18th century separate towns-: Staré Mesto (the Old Town), Josefov (the preserved area of the old Jewish quarter-today a part of the Old Town), Nove Mesto (the New Town), Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Hradcany and Vysehrad.
Religious conflicts between Catholicism and Protestant ideas, a war that lasted 30 years, annexed as an Austro-Hungarian province, cultural splendour, separation and reunification, monarchy and republic… All these events-the same happened all over Central Europe – marked the city of Prague: two World Wars, bombardments, decay, nazi dictatorial power and soviet dictatorial power, the Jewish exodus. In 1968 the Prague Spring, a liberalization movement that rebelled against the totalitarian regime and was suffocated by the Soviet Union and members of its Warsaw Pact allies that invaded the country to halt the reforms. Only 21 years after the Velvet revolution the people in Prague would breathe the fresh air of freedom almost simultaneously with the Fall of Berlin Wall. In 1993 and after the official split of Czechoslovakia Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic.

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