About Prague

The Italian scholar Angelo Maria Ripellino wrote in his famous book 'Magic Prague:'

"… when I seek another word for mystery, the only word I can find is Prague. She is dark and melancholy as a comet; her beauty is like the sensation of fire, winding and slanted as in the anamorphoses of the Mannerists, with a lugubrious aura of decay, a smirk of eternal disillusionment."

Prague is a remarkably preserved city that combines medieval, renaissance, baroque, and modern influences. It stands at the crossroads of Europe, where East meets West and the past meets the present: a city of current-day political excitement and historical imagery. It combines the legacy of three cultures of Europe-Czech, German, and Jewish.

Located on the river Vltava, Prague's thousand years of architectural and artistic history are reflected in its stone facades and cobblestone streets. Standing in the middle of the Charles Bridge above the rippling reflections of turrets and domes and glimpsing the spires, steeples, and the great Prague Castle rising above the city, you sense at once the spirit of this remarkable site.

The Czech capital was first established over 1000 years ago, at the crossing of ancient trade routes. Medieval Prague originally grew up as four separate towns, which were united into a single city in 1784. In the mid-14th century, Bohemia's "Golden Age," the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV made Prague his Imperial capital after adding the New Town, which transformed Prague into one of Europe's largest cities. Prague flourished during this time, as Gothic churches and monasteries were built, the first university in Central Europe was established in its capital and monuments such as the Charles Bridge were erected. Since this "Golden Age," Prague has endured a turbulent history fraught with religious wars and cultural and economic decline. It was under the rule of the Hapsburgs on and off from 1526- 1620 and then continuously from 1620-1918. During World War II, the Nazis occupied Prague and after the war, until 1989, it endured Soviet occupation.