"Prague-One of Europe's Best" Prague by bpwillet

Prague Travel Guide: 11,902 reviews and 24,941 photos

Just the Beginning...

When I visited Prague I didn't quite know what to expect. I had assumed to see a lot of faceless concrete buildings, and time worn faces on the local population. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. Prague is at a crossroads between old and new, constraint and freedom. It has an incredible history of conquest, peace, and domination. The Czech Republic has seen many changes in the last few decades and it is nice to see that Prague hasn't lost any of its charm. This was my first trip to this capital city. I was able to see really interesting architecture, listen to very talented musicians and see works of art in many different forms. If you haven't been to Prague yet it should be on your list for places to visit in Europe. Though I didn't have the opportunity to visit many places that surround Prague, there was enough to find to do in the city itself for the 4 days that I was there.

Family Dynasties

Prague has seen many different rulers and controlling forces within its city limits. From Celts to Slavs, to Frankish merchants. The three main founding dynasties were the Premyslids, Lucxemburgs and the Habsburgs whose rule lasted until Czechoslovakia's independence in 1918. As told in a Slavic legend, Princess Libuse was the founder of the Premyslids, and saw Prague as a glorious city. The fortified settlements still visible today, the Prague Castle, and the hilltop fort of Vysehrad were built in this time and were used by the ruling family for centuries. King Wenceslas is the most remembered of this line who was subsequently assissinated by his brother on his way to mass. By now Prague had been growing and more and more merchants were being encouraged to stay in the city. Creating vast markets in the present Old Town Square and the Little Quarter. The late 13th century saw the end of the Premyslids with the death of Otakar II and the beginning of the Luxemburgs and Prague's time to shine. The Roman Emporer Charles IV made Prague his home and the city became one of the greatest cities in Europe, surpassing London and Paris. He also founded and constructed many of the grand buildings which still exist today. The 15th century brought political and religious uprising. The Hussites were lead by Jan Zizka and Jan Hus, and succeeded militarily to overthrow the Emporer and begin a new reign. This was short lived, however, and the ruling seat once again changed to that of the Habsburgs. By the end of the 1500's the Renaissance had reached Prague and the Imperial Court was filled with art and science. The beginning of the Thirty Year's War soon followed the Czech Nobles attempt to overthrow their government. It also saw the beginning of Germanization of Bohemia and its institutions.

Breaking the Silence

The 19th Century is when Prague really began to grow socially and spacially. The Czech language was reintroduced and many works in theatre and literature began to be published in this new official langauge. Redevelopment projects were begun and many new areas were given much needed face lifts. Attempts at independence came at the end of WWI when Czechoslovakia became an independent nation from Austrian rule. As German power increased in the 1930's all of Bohemia became a protectorate of Germany. Prague did not suffer physically from Nazi occupation or bombing, but the large population of Czech Jews were either driven out or died. By 1945 the population had rallied enough to liberate themselves from the Germans as US and Russian troops came closer to the capital city. Communism eventually took hold in the Czech Republic in 1948 and it left the country crippled financially and socially. After many attempts to change the face of government the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 finally signalled a change in the political ideas of the Republic. Eventually a democratically elected president came in to office and the Czechs gained their independence a second time from Slovakia in 1993.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:lively, entertaining, and full of richness
  • Cons:money may seem to go fast in the city
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful and attractive city
  • Last visit to Prague: Mar 2004
  • Intro Updated Mar 20, 2004
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Reviews (115)

Comments (30)

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    Hi I thoroughly enjoyed your very comprehensive page - it inspired me to get going on my own, which is still early work in progress! Regards from Johannesburg Cathy

  • Sep 12, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    This is NOT a Russian church, rather a western Ukrainian church.

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2008 at 4:10 AM

    great page on my most favorite city ;-)

  • Oct 13, 2006 at 7:48 PM

    Thank you for all the tips...I'll use them on a trip to Prague in November. Your page is great...very comprehensive. You have really put a lot of time and effort into it. Thanks.

  • Sep 30, 2006 at 5:19 PM

    great page, nikos

  • ncfg's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2006 at 8:37 AM

    Great page! I hope to go there soon, so your page is a good guide for me. Thanks! Nat

  • Small_World's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2006 at 5:09 AM

    What an informative, succinct history of Prague you've written! It was just what I was looking for... (I'm trying to make up my mind where to spend vacation in Europe) :-)

  • rsleisk's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2005 at 1:31 PM

    Excellent photos and great historical info on Prague. Truly a beautiful and interesting city!

  • ExGuyParis's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2005 at 3:48 AM

    You have really captured the spirit of Prague... great job!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2005 at 10:43 PM

    You really covered a lot in 4 days!


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