Monday, December 26, 2016

Prague’s Diary: History of Prague (Elementary-Intermediate level)

Founded in the latter part of the 9th century, Prague became the seat of the kings of Bohemia. The city flourished during the 14th century reigns of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town, the Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral and the Charles University.
For centuries, Prague was a multi-ethnic city with an important Czech, German and (a mostly Yiddish, German speaking) Jewish population. The four cities that previously formed Prague only unified in 1784 to proclaim the Prague we know today. These four cities were Hradcany, Lesser Town, Old Town and New Town. In 1850 the city underwent further expansion when the Hebrew district Josefov was constructed and in 1883 Vysehrad.
From 1939, when the country was occupied by the Nazis, and during WWII, 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 was under communist rule for over 40 years and seldom visited by tourists until after the Velvet Revolution on 17 November 1989. From the moment freedom came to the streets, the city started enjoying a huge economic boom, even more so after the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004. Now, it is a very popular tourist destination – according to statistics, it is the 5th most visited city in Europe.
The city is situated on both banks of the River Vltava in central Bohemia. Prague is the Czech Republic’s capital and the cradle of Czech culture. Many famous writers, artists, athletes and sportspeople, models and film directors were born here.
Prague has a huge number of buildings of special architectural interest. In 1992, the historical centre of the city, covering 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register. No matter where you go, you will discover parts of the city’s multilayer history dating back to the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, the first Czechoslovak Republic (1918), the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Communist Republic of Czechoslovakia to the present time of a democratic Czech Republic.

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