Prague

Prague is the capital of Czech Republic and seat of regional government for central Bohemia, located on both banks of Vltava River. It is the cultural, educational and commercial center of the country as well as its leading industrial city. Moreover, Prague is a major railway junction and a river port. The most important industrial establishment in Prague is the CKD National Enterprise which is engaged in the production of engineering goods. Prague’s importance as a commercial metropolis is enhanced by its trade fairs held twice each year in September and March and visited by buyers from every country all over the world.

Apart from the great amount of institutions of higher learning such us the famed Charles University, in Prague there are many individual state colleges of economics, pedagogy, music, agriculture, technology, fine arts and chemistry.

Prague also has the national headquarters of the country’s scientific and cultural organizations, most of its research institutes, and the editorial offices of most of its national newspapers and magazines. The city has 17 permanent theaters of which the most illustrious is the National Theater (1883).Among the various museums and art galleries the greatest is the National Museum where are collections in the fields of cultural history and the natural sciences. The two most valuable libraries, those of the Charles University and the National Museum, are also located in the city, as is the unique book of the old Strahov Monastery. Prague is noted for its rich musical life which culminates every year in the traditional festival of music “spring in Prague”. But the most remarkable spectacle that Prague offers is the periodical Sokol Rallies, when tens of thousands of uniformed members of the Czechoslovak Gymnastic Union Sokol (Falcon) execute their colorful precision exercises in the massive Strahov Stadium.

Te origins of Prague are obscured by legends. However, in the early 10th century the site consisted of two castles protecting several fishing villages and merchant settlements. The old town, which subsequently became the basis of the city, was founded by King Wenceslaus the 1st in 1232. A flourishing era began under the rule of Emperor Charles the 4th, when the city was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Emperor Rudolf the 2nd chose Prague for his residence. But after a Czech rebellion against the Habsburgs ended in the Czech defeat on nearby White Mountain in 1620, Prague was reduced to the status of a provincial city and a subjected to intensive Germanization. Since 1918 the city has been capital of the Czechoslovak Republic, except between 1939 and 1945, when it fell under Nazi rule. In May, 1945, the city staged a general uprising against its German occupiers.

Prague’s eventful history appears in numerous stone monuments throughout the older parts of the city. Most impressive is the old royal Hradcany Castle, which is now the residence of the presidents of Czech Republic and Slovakia. This huge complex of buildings was superimposed gradually on the original construction dating from the 10th century. All the old parts of the city on both side of the river are surrounded by sprawling, newer sections of commercial and government buildings and apartment houses, interspersed with park areas and extending into older and newer residential subvisions.