About Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital city of the relatively small Czech Republic
which lies in the heart of Europe; bordering Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.
Prague (Praha) has become one of the most popular tourist destinations
in Europe. No other European capital contains six hundred years of architecture so
completely untouched by natural disaster or war. Prague's rich collection of Gothic,
baroque, and Renaissance buildings has emerged unscathed from centuries of strife.
Prague has been called the 'Rome of the North'. Rome was built on
seven hills, and Prague was built on nine hills: Letna, Vitkov, Opys, Vetrov, Skalka,
Emauzy, Vysehrad, Karlov and the highest of all, Petrin. The mountains, forests and lakes
surrounding Prague are enchanting and ideal for outdoor holidays as well as winter sports.
Central Prague is made up of four towns, joined together in 1784.
The River Vltava (Moldau in German) divides the capital into two
unequal halves: on the steeply inclined left bank, are Hradcany and Malá Strana (the
The more gentle, sprawling right bank includes Staré Mesto, Josefov
and Nové Mesto.
Hradcany, on the hill, contains the most sights for visitors to
Prague: the castle itself, the cathedral and the former palaces of the aristocracy.
Below Hradcany, Malá Strana (Little Quarter), with its narrow
eighteenth-century streets, is the city's ministerial and diplomatic quarter, with
attractive Baroque gardens for all to enjoy.
Over the river, on the right bank, Staré Mesto (Old Town) is a web of
alleys and passageways centred on the city's most beautiful square, Staromestské
Enclosed within the boundaries of Staré Mesto is Josefov, the old
Jewish quarter; now containing only a few synagogues and a cemetery.
Nové Mesto (New Town) is the focus of the modern city and covers the
largest area, laid out in long wide boulevards; the most famous of which is Wenceslas
Square. These boulevards stretch south and east of the old town.
In the years since students took to the streets and the communist
regime ended, Prague has enjoyed an unparalleled cultural renaissance.
Amid Prague's cobblestone streets and gold-tipped spires, new
galleries, cafés, and clubs serve the expatriates well; as Prague earns the title of
Eastern Europe's new Left Bank.
Prague Castle has stood on the hill overlooking the Old Town since the 10th century; with
the city growing up around the castle, over the centuries.