Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. It’s the seat of the president, government and parliament. It’s the culture centre. Prague lies on both banks of the river Vltava in the centre of Bohemia, in the Central Europe. It covers area about 500 km2; it has got about 1,2 million inhabitants. It has got about 10 administrative districts. The oldest parts of Prague are The Lesser town, The Old town, The New town, Josefov, Hradčany and Vyšehrad.
2.HISTORY OF PRAGUE
Princess Libuše predicted the future glory of Prague, which would touch the stars. In the 6th century, Slovenes came to the Prague valley. In the 9th century prince Bořivoj founded a castle above the Vltava valley and in the 10th century, Vyšehrad castle was built. The most important king was the Charles IV. In the 14th century, during his reign, Prague became an imperial residence. Charles IV. established an Archbishops, he founded Charles university in 1348, the New town, Charles bridge and St.Vitus cathedral. In the 15th century, Prague was a centre of Hussite movement. In the 16the century, Prague was a cosmopolitan centre, it was the seat of Rudolph II, who invited to Prague some popular artists, scientists as Tycho de Brahe or Johannes Kepler.
I’d like to introduce you the most important historical places in Prague by sightseeing tour. We can start at Prague castle. It’s the seat of the president. There’re Vladislav hall, where proceed elections of president, Spanish hall and the Rudolph gallery; there’re ceremonies and culture purposes. There’s St.Vitus cathedral, which was completed in 1929 /two famous architects, Matys of Aras; Petr Parléř/. In the cathedral, there’s gothic St.Wenceslav Chapel, the coronations jewels /= St.Wenceslav crown, the Sceptre, the Orb/ and the Royal Crypt – there’re sarcophaguses of Czech kings and queens. Next sight is the Convent of St. George = there’re collections of Gothic and Baroque art of the national gallery. Then there’s Basilica of St. George, the Archbishops palace, Stenberg palace, Černín palace /=it’s the seat of Ministry of foreign affairs/ and the Loretta complex. From outside the castle, we get birds eye view of all interesting Prague’s places. On the opposite site, we can see the Petřín hill with the Petřín observatory tower. It was built for the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 as a free copy of the Eiffel tower. Along Neruda Street, we can go from the Castle to the Lesser town. There’re a lot of stylish taverns, pubs, ancient houses, small shops with interesting goods /for ex. puppets, glaces, hand made goods or pictures/. Down the street, there’s St. Nicholas church and the Lesser town square. Lesser Town Square came to the existence in 1257 as the centre of just founded Lesser town. It’s still lovely centre of Lesser town, in which numerous memorial tablets recall the visits of outstanding personalities of European history and culture. St. Nicholas church, there’s Liechtenstein, Smiřický and Hartig palaces.
From this place, we can easily get to Charles Bridge over the river Vltava. It’s 520m long, it’s decorated with 30 sculptures-mainly of Baroque origin /=F.M Brokoff, M.Braun/. Charles IV founded it in 1357. By the latest researches its construction was started by Master Otto and finished by Petr Parléř in 1402. Charles Bridge is the tourist atraction, a place for walks, it’s market in the open area; there’re some srtists, they sing and draw the pictures. From Charles Bridge, we can get to Old Town square, the centre of Old town = in the centre of the square, there’s a monument of the great reformer John Huss, whose ideas inspired the Hussite Revolution in the first half of the 15th century. We can visit Bethlehem chapel, where John Huss preached. It was founded in 1391 and in 1661, it was changed from Jesuit to catholic church. There’re also the Old Town Hall and the Horologe – it was founded in 1338. The Horologe is from the early 15th century. In the top part of the horologe, the 12 apostles appear every hour. Round the calendarium, there’re also the zodiac signs painted by Josef Mánes. On entering the square, we can notice the twin spires of the Church of Our Lady /=Týnský church/. There’re also a lot of interesting streets as Paris street /houses from 19th century/, Na Příkopech street – there’s a pedestrian precinct take us to the Wenceslav square and Celetná street leads to the Powder Tower. The Powder Tower was established in 1475, first architect was Václav. In 1478, Matěj Rejsek took over a control above the building. In last century, it was replanted in neo-gothic style. At the end of 17th century, it was used for store of gunpowder, that’s why; it’s called the Powder Tower. Wenceslav square is 750m long. There’re a lot of banks, restaurants, hotels, shops, cinemas, and boutiques. On the top, there’re St.Wenceslav bronze statue and National museum. There’re exposition of history, precious stones, evolution of people and evolution of Earth. Technical museum is my favourite, there’re exhibition of mining, car industry, motorcycles, trains and planes. It lies on Letná. Along Národní Street we can go to the National theatre. It’s the neo-renaissance building erected in 1868-1881 from funds collected among people of all the country. When I was in Prague, I also visited Carolinum – it’s the seat of the Rector’s office of Charles University; Czech national revival – there’re expositions of geological, mineralogical, zoological, archaeological and numismatic collections. Valdštejn palace /=Albrecht of Wallenstein built a large complex with very beautiful, large garden/. The House of artists = Rudolfinum. Josef Zítek and Josef Schulz built it from 1876-1884. It’s in neo-renaissance style and it’s seat of the Czech Philharmonic. The most famous is Dvořák hall, where are held a lot of concerts. It’s decorated with plastic decoration.
Nowadays Prague is a very large city. It’s the centre of political, economical, historical life. In Prague, there are a lot of foreigners from various countries. Prague is the centre of travelling activities.