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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prague
Czech: Praha
Panoramic view of Prague Castle

Flag

Coat of arms
Motto: Praga Caput Rei publicae
(Prague, Head of the Republic; Latin)
Prague is located in Czech Republic
Prague
Coordinates: 50°05′N 14°25′E / 50.083°N 14.417°E / 50.083; 14.417Coordinates: 50°05′N 14°25′E / 50.083°N 14.417°E / 50.083; 14.417
Country Czech Republic
Founded c. 885
Government
 - Mayor Pavel Bém (ODS)
Area [1]
 - City 496 km2 (191.5 sq mi)
Highest elevation 399 m (1,309 ft)
Population (2009-06-30)[2]
 - City 1,242,002
 Density 2,504/km2 (6,485.4/sq mi)
 Metro 1,900,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 1xx xx
NUTS code CZ01
GDP per capita ([nominal]) $ 42,983 (nominal) (2008)[3]
Website www.praha.eu

Prague (pronounced /ˈprɑːɡ/; Czech: Praha pronounced [ˈpraɦa]  ( listen), see also other names) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Nicknames for Prague have included Praga mater urbium/Praha matka měst ("Prague – Mother of Cities") in Latin/Czech, Stověžatá Praha ("City of a Hundred Spires") in Czech or Zlaté město/Goldene Stadt ("Golden City") in Czech/German.[4]

Situated on the Vltava River in central Bohemia, Prague has been the political, cultural and economic centre of the Czech state for more than 1100 years. For many decades during the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus was also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

Today, the city proper is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 1.9 million.[5]

Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, making the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4.1 million international visitors annually, as of 2009.[6]

Contents

Etymology

Bridges over the Vltava River, as seen from Letná.
Prague panorama. Upstream Vltava River from Charles Bridge.
Prague, New Town. A weir on the Vltava River, under the castle in background.

The name Prague comes from an old Slavic root, praga, which means “ford”, referring to the city's origin at a crossing of the Vltava River.

The native name of the city, Praha, is also related to the modern Czech word práh ("threshold"). A legendary etymology connects the name of the city with duchess Libuše, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. She is said to have ordered "the city to be built where a man hews a threshold of his house".

Czech práh shall be understood here as to be in the river, rapids or cataract: its edge as a passage to the other riverside. Contrarily, although there are a few weirs nowadays, there was not discovered any such geological threshold in the river under the Prague Castle. Thus some derive the name Praha from the stone of the hill, where the original castle was built: na prazě, the original term for shale rock. (In those days, there were forests around the castle, on the nine hills of the future city: the Old Town on the other riverbank as well as the Lesser Town underneath the castle appeared later.)[7]

History

Prague seen from Spot Satellite.
Prague Castle at night.

The history of Prague spans thousands of years, during which time the city grew from a castle known as Vyšehrad to the multicultural capital of a modern European state, the Czech Republic.

Ancient age

The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. Around 200 BC the Celts had a settlement in the south, called Závist, but later they were replaced by the Marcomanni, a Germanic people and later by the West Slavic people. According to legends, Prague was founded by Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the dynasty of the same name. Whether this legend is true or not, Prague's first nucleus[citation needed] was a castle on a hill commanding the left (western) bank of the Vltava River: this is known as Prague Castle, to differentiate from another castle, which was later, in the latter part of the 9th century[citation needed], erected on the opposite right (eastern) bank the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad, which is now wrongly considered as the oldest one.

The city became the seat of the dukes, and later kings, of Bohemia. Under Emperor Otto II the city became a bishopric in 973. Until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz.

It was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub. The Old New Synagogue of 1270 survives.

King Vladislav II had a first bridge on the Vltava built in 1170, the Judith Bridge, which was destroyed by flood in 1342.

In 1257, under King Otakar II, Malá Strana ("Lesser Quarter") was founded in Prague on a place of an older village in the future Hradčany area: it was the district of the German people. These had the right to administrate the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights. The new district was on the opposite bank of the Staré Město ("Old Town"), which had a borough status and was defended by a line of walls and fortifications.

The era of Charles IV

A view of one of the bridge towers of the Charles Bridge.

The city flourished during the 14th century reign of the king of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV of the new Luxembourg dynasty. He ordered the building of the New Town (Nové Město) adjacent to the Old Town. The Charles Bridge was erected to connect the new district to Malá Strana. Monuments by Charles include the Saint Vitus Cathedral, the oldest Gothic cathedral in Central Europe, which is actually inside the castle, and the Charles University. The latter is the oldest university in Central Europe. Prague was then the third-largest city in Europe. Under Charles, Prague was, from 1355, the actual capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and its rank was elevated to that of archbishopric (1344). It had a mint, and German and Italian merchants, as well as bankers, were present in the city. The social order, however, became more turbulent due to the rising power of the craftsmen's guilds (themselves often torn by internal fights), and the presence of increasing number of poor people.

During Easter 1389, members of the Prague clergy announced that Jews had desecrated the host (Eucharistic wafer) and the clergy encouraged mobs to pillage, ransack and burn the Jewish quarter. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague (3,000 people) perished.[8][9]

During the reign of King Wenceslas IV (1378–1419), Jan Hus, a theologian and lector at the Charles University, preached in Prague. In 1402, he began giving sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel. Inspired by John Wycliffe, these sermons focused on reforming the Church. Having become too dangerous for the political and religious establishment, Hus was summoned to the Council of Constance, put on trial for heresy, and burned in Konstanz in 1415. Four years later Prague experienced its first defenestration (the act of throwing someone out the window as a political protest - in this case, the city's councillors out the window of the New Town Hall), when the people rebelled under the command of the Prague priest Jan Želivský. Hus' death, coupled with Czech proto-nationalism and proto-Protestantism, had spurred the so-called Hussite Wars. In 1420, peasant rebels, led by the general Jan Žižka, along with Hussite troops from Prague, defeated the Bohemian King Sigismund, in the Battle of Vítkov Hill.

In the following two centuries, Prague strengthened its role as a merchant city. Many noteworthy Gothic buildings were erected[citation needed], including the Vladislav Hall of the Prague Castle.

Habsburg era

In 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia was handed over to the House of Habsburg: the fervent Catholicism of its members was to bring them into conflict in Bohemia, and then in Prague, where Protestant ideas were at the time having increasing success.[citation needed] These problems were not preeminent under Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, elected King of Bohemia in 1576, who chose Prague as his home. He lived in the Prague Castle where his court saw invitations to astrologers and magicians, but also scientists, musicians, and artists. Rudolf was an art lover too and Prague became the capital of European culture. This was a prosperous period for the city: famous people living there in that age include the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johann Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, the poetess Elizabeth Jane Weston, and others.

In 1618, the famous second defenestration of Prague provoked the Thirty Years' War, a particularly harsh period for Prague and Bohemia. Ferdinand II of Habsburg was deposed, and his place as King of Bohemia taken by Frederick V, Elector Palatine; however the Czech Army under him was crushed in the Battle of White Mountain (1620) not far from the city. Following this in 1621 was an execution of 27 Czech lords (involved in the Battle of White Mountain) in Old Town Square and an exiling of many others. The city suffered subsequently during the war under Saxon (1631) and Swedish (1648) occupation. Prague began a steady decline which reduced the population from the 60,000 it had had in the years before the war to 20,000. In the second half of the 17th century Prague's population began to grow again. Jews have been in Prague since the end of the 10th century and, by 1708, they accounted for about a quarter of Prague’s population.[10]

In 1689, a great fire devastated Prague, but this spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city. In 1713–14, a major outbreak of plague hit Prague one last time, killing 12–13,000 people.[11] The economic rise continued through the 18th century, and the city in 1771 had 80,000 inhabitants. Many of these were rich merchants who, together with noblemen of German, Spanish and even Italian origin, enriched the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens, creating a Baroque style renowned throughout the world. After the Battle of Prague in 1757 the city was badly damaged during a Prussian bombardment.[12] In 1784, under Joseph II, the four municipalities of Malá Strana, Nové Město, Staré Město, and Hradcany were merged into a single entity. The Jewish district, called Josefov, was included only in 1850. The Industrial Revolution had a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coal mines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karlín, was created in 1817, and twenty years later population exceeded 100,000.

The revolutions that shocked all Europe around 1848 touched Prague too, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years the Czech nationalist movement (opposed to another nationalist party, the German one) began its rise, until it gained the majority in the town council in 1861. Prague had German-speaking near-majority in 1848, but by 1880 the German population decreased to 14% (42,000), and by 1910 to 6.7% (37,000), due to a massive increase of the city's overall population caused by the influx of Czechs from the rest of Bohemia and Moravia and also due to the assimilation of some Germans.[13]

20th century

The Jubilee Synagogue, built in 1905 to 1906 by Wilhelm Stiassny, of Bratislava, is the largest Jewish place of worship in Prague

At the beginning of the 20th century the Czech lands were the most productive part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with 80% of the empire's industrial production and some Czech politics began with attempts to separate it from the Habsburg Empire.[citation needed]

The First Republic

World War I ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital and Prague Castle as the seat of president (Tomáš Masaryk). At this time Prague was a true European capital with highly developed industry. By 1930, the population had risen to 850,000.

Second World War

Hitler ordered the German Army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939 and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. For most of its history Prague had been a multiethnic city with important Czech, German and (mostly Czech- and/ or German-speaking) Jewish populations. From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and during World War II, most Jews fled the city.

In 1942, Prague was witness to the assassination of one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany - Reinhard Heydrich (during Operation Anthropoid). Hitler ordered bloody reprisals. At the end of the war Prague suffered several bombing raids by the U.S. Air Force. Over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of buildings, factories and historical landmarks were destroyed (however the damage was small compared to the total destruction of many other cities in that time). Once the outcome of the war was decided and it was known that Germany would surrender to the Allies, Prague revolted against the Nazi occupants on 5 May 1945 two days before Germany capitulated, on May 7. Four days later the Soviet Army entered the city. The majority of the German population either fled or was expelled in the aftermath of the war.

Cold War

Mostecká Street packed with tourists in the afternoon.

Prague was a city in the territory of military and political control of the Soviet Union (see Iron Curtain). The 4th Czechoslovakian Writers' Congress held in the city in 1967 took a strong position against the regime. This spurred the new secretary of the Communist Party, Alexander Dubček to proclaim a new deal in his city's and country's life, starting the short-lived season of the "socialism with a human face". It was the Prague Spring, which aimed at the renovation of institutions in a democratic way. The Soviet Union and its allies reacted with the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the capital in August 1968 by tanks, suppressing any attempt at work.

Era after the Velvet Revolution

In 1989, after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague and the Czechoslovak capital benefited greatly from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic. In the late 1990s Prague again became an important cultural centre of Europe and was notably influenced by globalisation. In 2000 anti-globalisation protests in Prague (some 15,000 protesters) turned violent during the IMF and World Bank summits. In 2002 Prague suffered from widespread floods that damaged buildings and also its underground transport system. Prague launched a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics,[14] but failed to make the candidate city shortlist. Due to low political support, Prague's officials chose in June 2009 to cancel the city's planned bid for 2020 Summer Olympics as well.[15]

Main sights

Milunić and Gehry's Dancing House.
Powder Tower
Prague View

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's (and the world's) most popular tourist destinations. It is the sixth most-visited European city after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin.[16] Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern. Some popular sights include:

Geography

Location

On the Vltava River in the centre of the Bohemian Basin.

Topography

Similarly to Rome, the city of Prague is spread over nine hills: Letná, Vítkov, Opyš, Větrov, Skalka, Emauzy, Vyšehrad, Karlov and the highest Petřín.[4]

Climate

The city of Prague experiences a humid continental climate with warm summers and relatively cold winters.

Climate data for Prague
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.4
(63)
18.5
(65)
22.5
(73)
28.6
(83)
32.8
(91)
37.2
(99)
37.8
(100)
36.8
(98)
33.1
(92)
27.0
(81)
19.5
(67)
17.4
(63)
37.8
(100)
Average high °C (°F) 1.4
(35)
2.6
(37)
7.7
(46)
14.0
(57)
18.8
(66)
22.0
(72)
24.2
(76)
24.4
(76)
19.2
(67)
14.2
(58)
6.6
(44)
2.2
(36)
12.7
(55)
Daily mean °C (°F) -1.1
(30)
-0.3
(31)
3.8
(39)
8.4
(47)
13.6
(56)
16.3
(61)
19.4
(67)
19.3
(67)
14.6
(58)
8.9
(48)
4.4
(40)
0.2
(32)
8.6
(47)
Average low °C (°F) -3.6
(26)
-3.3
(26)
-0.2
(32)
3.5
(38)
8.4
(47)
12.0
(54)
14.4
(58)
14.0
(57)
10.1
(50)
5.9
(43)
2.4
(36)
-1.7
(29)
4.6
(40)
Record low °C (°F) -27.5
(-18)
-27.1
(-17)
-27.6
(-18)
-8.0
(18)
-1.6
(29)
3.6
(38)
7.8
(46)
6.4
(44)
0.7
(33)
-7.5
(19)
-16.9
(2)
-24.8
(-13)
-27.6
(-18)
Precipitation mm (inches) 24
(0.94)
23
(0.91)
28
(1.1)
38
(1.5)
77
(3.03)
73
(2.87)
66
(2.6)
70
(2.76)
40
(1.57)
31
(1.22)
32
(1.26)
25
(0.98)
527
(20.75)
Sunshine hours 62 92 124 192 241 254 228 219 166 117 58 43 1,796
% Humidity 87 81 79 71 68 71 73 71 80 84 88 87 78
Avg. precipitation days 14 12 14 11 14 13 18 14 12 14 13 12 161
Source: www.weatheronline.co.uk {{{accessdate}}}
Source #2: http://www.chmi.cz/meteo/ok/extrklem.html {{{accessdate2}}}

Culture

Wenceslas Square and National Museum at night.
Rudolfinum - one of Prague's prestigious concert and exhibition halls

Prague is traditionally one of the cultural centres of Europe, hosting many cultural events.[citation needed]

Significant cultural institutions:

There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city. Prague hosts Music Festivals including the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Prague Autumn International Music Festival and the Prague International Organ Festival. Film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Prague also hosts the Prague Writers' Festival, the Summer Shakespeare Festival [17], the Prague Fringe Festival, the World Roma Festival as well as hundreds of Vernissages and fashion shows.

Many films have been made at the Barrandov Studios. Hollywood movies set in Prague include Mission Impossible, Blade II and xXx. Other Czech films shot in Prague include Empties and The Fifth Horseman is Fear. Also, the music video to "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" by Kanye West was shot in Prague, and features shots of the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock, among other famous landmarks. Prague was also the setting for the film "Dungeons and Dragons" in 2000.

Forbes Traveller Magazine listed Prague Zoo among the world's best zoos.[18]

The Prague restaurant Allegro received the first Michelin star in the whole of post-Communist Eastern Europe.

With the growth of low-cost airlines in Europe, Prague has become a popular weekend city destination allowing tourists to visit its many museums and cultural sites as well as try its famous Czech beers and hearty cuisine.

Prague sites many buildings by renowned architects, including Adolf Loos (Villa Müller), Frank O. Gehry (Dancing House), or Jean Nouvel (Golden Angel).

Economy

Head office of Czech Airlines in Ruzyně, Prague

The GDP per capita of Prague is more than double that of the Czech Republic as a whole, with a per-capita GDP (nominal) of $42,983 (purchasing power standard) in 2008, which is 172.6% of the European Union average and 215% of Czech average, ranking Prague among the 5 richest EU regions,[19] However, the price level is significantly lower than in comparable cities.

The city is the site of the European headquarters of many international companies[citation needed].

Since the late 1990s, Prague has become a popular filming location for international productions and Hollywood, Bollywood motion pictures. A combination of architecture, low costs and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proven attractive to international film production companies.

Prague's economy is based on various industrial sectors. Prague's industrial sector is split into aircraft engines, diesel engines, refined oil products, electronics, chemicals, food, printing, automobiles etc. Also a significant proportion of research and development is based in Prague. Approximately one-fifth of all investment in the Czech Republic takes place in Prague city.

Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses capable of satisfying all categories of visitors.

Czech Airlines has its head office on the grounds of Ruzyně International Airport in Ruzyně, Prague.[20]

Colleges and universities

Several universities and colleges are located in the city:

Science, research and hi-tech centers

The region city of Prague is an important centre of research:

...and its institutes:
  • Czech Language Institute (Ústav pro jazyk český) founded in 1946
  • Institute of Information Theory and Automation (UTIA) founded in 1959

Transport

The "nostalgic tram" no. 91 runs through the city centre
Barrandov bridge at night, part of the Municipal Ring Road.
Construction of Tunnel Blanka at quarter Troja
Construction of 2 km (1 mi) long bridge across river Vltava and Berounka valley on Prague Ring Road in April 2009

Public transportation

The public transport infrastructure consists of an integrated transport system of Prague Metro (its length is 59 km with 57 stations in total), Prague Tram System (including the "nostalgic tram" no. 91), buses, the Petřín funicular to Petřín Hill, and five ferries: PID, Pražská integrovaná doprava (English: Prague integrated traffic system) Prague integrated traffic) All services have a common ticketing system, and are run by The Prague Public Transit (Dopravní podnik hl. m. Prahy, a.s.) and some other companies (full list). Recently, Prague integrated transport coordinator (ROPID) has franchised operation of ferries on the Vltava river, which are also a part of the public transport system with common fares, taxi.

Cars and trucks

The recent situation on the streets is very unpleasant: the main traffic stream of cars leads through the centre of the city. The longest city Tunnel in Europe with a proposed length of 5.5 km and with 5 interchanges with the surface is now being built to relieve congestion in the north-western part of Prague. The tunnel is called Tunel Blanka and it is part of the Municipal Ring Road. Construction started in 2007 and the tunnel is scheduled to be completed in 2011/2012. The southern part of the Prague Ring Road(with a length of almost 17 km) is also under construction with a proposed completion date of April 2010.[citation needed]

Rail

The city forms the hub of the Czech railway system, with services to all parts of the Czech Republic and abroad. There is also a commuter rail system known as Esko Prague which serves the Prague metropolitan area.

Prague's main international railway station is Hlavní nádraží (formerly called and sometimes still referred to as Wilsonovo nádraží). Intercity services also stop at the main stations Praha-Smíchov, Praha-Holešovice, Praha-Libeň and Masarykovo nádraží. In addition to these, there are a number of smaller suburban stations. In the future rail should play a greater role in Prague Public Transport System.[citation needed]

Air

Ruzyně

Prague is served by Ruzyně International Airport, the biggest airport in the Czech Republic and one of the busiest in Central and Eastern Europe. It is the hub of the flag carrier, Czech Airlines, as well as of the low-cost airline Smart Wings operating throughout Europe.

Other airports

Other airports in Prague include the city's original airport at the Kbely north-east district, which is serviced by the Czech Air Force, internationally too: The runway (9-27) at Kbely is 2 km long. The airport also houses the Prague Aviation Museum.

The close airport in Letňany is mainly used for private aviation and aeroclub aviation.

Another close airport is Aero Vodochody aircraft factory's on the north, used for testing purposes, as well as for aeroclub aviation.

Aeroclub airfields

There are a few aeroclubs around Prague: I.e. the Točná airfield is located in the south part of the city, just on the right (east) river bank, and serves mostly as an aeroclub.

Ships and ferries

  • Pražská paroplavební společnost
  • ferries

Taxis

Taxi services in Prague can be divided into two sectors. There are major taxicab companies, operating call-for-taxi services (radio-taxi) or from regulated taxi stands, and independent drivers, who make pickups on the street. The latter are notorious for overcharging, targeted mainly at foreign tourists and are possibly managed by (mob) crime organizations.[citation needed]

Funiculars

Sport

Synot Tip Arena - Eden football stadium, home to Slavia Prague club

Prague is the site of many sports events, national stadiums and teams

Miscellaneous

Prague TV tower with crawling "babies"

Prague is also the site of some of the most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic.

Prague as a venue

Recent major events held in Prague:

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Prague is involved in a number of official as well as unofficial partnerships with other major world cities.[22] The city of Prague also maintains its own EU delegation in Brussels called Prague House.[23]

Partner cities

official: unofficial: Partner cities in the future:

Namesakes

Czech emigration has left a number of namesake cities scattered over the globe, though more heavily concentrated in the New World.

See also

Further reading

Guides

Culture and society

  • Becker, Edwin et al., ed. Prague 1900: Poetry and Ectasy. (2000). 224 pp.
  • Burton, Richard D. E. Prague: A Cultural and Literary History. (2003). 268 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Cohen, Gary B. The Politics of Ethnic Survival: Germans in Prague, 1861-1914. (1981). 344 pp.
  • Fucíková, Eliska, ed. Rudolf II and Prague: The Court and the City. (1997). 792 pp.
  • Holz, Keith. Modern German Art for Thirties Paris, Prague, and London: Resistance and Acquiescence in a Democratic Public Sphere. (2004). 359 pp.
  • Iggers, Wilma Abeles. Women of Prague: Ethnic Diversity and Social Change from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. (1995). 381 pp. online edition
  • Porizka, Lubomir; Hojda, Zdenek; and Pesek, Jirí. The Palaces of Prague. (1995). 216 pp.
  • Sayer, Derek. "The Language of Nationality and the Nationality of Language: Prague 1780-1920." Past & Present 1996 (153): 164-210. Issn: 0031-2746 Fulltext: in Jstor
  • Spector, Scott. Prague Territories: National Conflict and Cultural Innovation in Kafka's Fin de Siècle. (2000). 331 pp. online edition
  • Svácha, Rostislav. The Architecture of New Prague, 1895-1945. (1995). 573 pp.
  • Wittlich, Peter. Prague: Fin de Siècle. (1992). 280 pp.

References

Notes
  1. ^ Total area and land area, by NUTS 2 regions - km2
  2. ^ Population: by area, region and district of the Czech Republic in January – June 2009 (preliminary results)
  3. ^ "Regional comparisons : 2008". http://www.czso.cz/csu/2009edicniplan.nsf/engt/85002C6537/$File/14100904.pdf. 
  4. ^ a b "Přívlastky hlavního města Prahy". PIS, Pražská informační služba, Prague Information Service. http://www.pis.cz/cz/praha/zakladni_info/privlastky_hlavniho_mesta_prahy. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  5. ^ Eurostat. "Urban Audit 2004". http://www.urbanaudit.org/DataAccessed.aspx. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  6. ^ "Development of incoming tourism to the Czech Republic in 2008". Official site. Czech Tourism. 2009. http://www.czechtourism.com/eng/uk/docs/press-centre/studies-and-statistics/articles-commentary/statistiky2009.html. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "drexler blog". Drexler, novinky.cz. 2008-07-11. http://drexler.blogy.novinky.cz/0807/o-vzniku-nazvu-praha. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  8. ^ "The Prague Pogrom of 1389". Everything2. April 1389. http://www.everything2.org/title/The%2520Prague%2520Pogrom%2520of%25201389. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  9. ^ "The former Jewish Quarter in Prague". prague.cz. April 1389. http://www.prague.cz/jewish-quarter/. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  10. ^ Prague, The Virtual Jewish History Tour
  11. ^ M. Signoli, D. Chevé, A. Pascal (2007)."Plague epidemics in Czech countries". p.51.
  12. ^ Prague. 1911 Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  13. ^ The Erosion of "Gemeinschaft": German Writers of Prague, 1890–1924, by Peter Horwath, German Studies Review, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Feb., 1981), pp. 9–37
  14. ^ Prague Assembly Confirms 2016 Olympic Bid
  15. ^ It’s Official – Prague Out Of 2020 Bid
  16. ^ www.radio.cz. "Prague, sixth most visited city in Europe". http://www.radio.cz/en/article/65335. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  17. ^ ABOUT FESTIVALS, Summer Shakespeare Festival 2009, AGENTURA SCHOK, spol. s r.o., Praha
  18. ^ The World's Best Zoos. ForbesTraveler.com. November 5, 2007.
  19. ^ [1].
  20. ^ "Imprint." Czech Airlines. Retrieved on 4 February 2010.
  21. ^ WFDF. "Prague, Czech Republic to host the WFDF World Ultimate Club Championships 2010". http://www.wfdf.org/index.php?page=news/WUCC_2010_Press_Release.html. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  22. ^ "Prague Partner Cities" (in Czech). © 2009 Magistrát hl. m. Prahy. http://magistrat.praha-mesto.cz/72647_Partnerska-mesta. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  23. ^ www.prazsky-dum.cz. "Prague House". http://www.prazsky-dum.cz/aj/index.html. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  24. ^ "Berlin's international city relations". Berlin Mayor's Office. http://www.berlin.de/rbmskzl/staedteverbindungen/index.en.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  25. ^ "Cooperation Internationale" (in French). © 2003-2009 City of Tunis Portal. http://www.commune-tunis.gov.tn/fr/mairie_cooperation1.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  26. ^ "Madrid Official Website". Madrid City Government agreement. 1989-10-23. http://www.munimadrid.es/portal/site/munimadrid/menuitem.dbd5147a4ba1b0aa7d245f019fc08a0c/?vgnextoid=4e84399a03003110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=1ccd566813946010VgnVCM100000dc0ca8c0RCRD&vgnextfmt=especial1&vgnextfmt=especial1&idContenido=d9ecc435a6b5b010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD&rmEspecial=285cea336ba9a110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&rmCapitulo=bf0f77d586cf2110VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  27. ^ "Frankfurt -Partner Cities". © 2008 Stadt Frankfurt am Main. http://www.frankfurt.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=502645. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  28. ^ "Kyoto City Web / Data Box / Sister Cities". www.city.kyoto.jp. http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/databox/sister.html. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  29. ^ "Saint Petersburg in figures - International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. http://eng.gov.spb.ru/figures/ities. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  30. ^ "Twinning Cities: International Relations" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. www.tirana.gov.al. http://www.tirana.gov.al/common/images/International%20Relations.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  31. ^ Sister city list (.DOC)
  32. ^ "Jasło Official Website - “Współpraca Międzynarodowa Jasła” (Jasło's Twin Towns)". http://www.jaslo.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=107&Itemid=100. 
  33. ^ "Bratislava City - Twin Towns". © 2003-2008 Bratislava-City.sk. http://www.bratislava-city.sk/bratislava-twin-towns. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  34. ^ Praha, Texas, Handbook of Texas online. Retrieved on 2009-02-24.
  35. ^ History of Prague, Oklahoma, City of Prague, OK official website. Retrieved on 2009-02-24.
  36. ^ Prague, Saunders County, Virtual Nebraska, University of Nebraska. Retrieved on 2009-02-24.
  37. ^ Heritage of New Prague, Minnesota, USA, New Prague Chamber of Commerce website. Retrieved on 2009-02-24.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Prague is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
Týn Church in Old Town Square
Týn Church in Old Town Square

Prague (Czech: Praha) [1] is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.

Districts

Confusingly, several incompatible district systems are used in Prague. Partially, different systems are from different historic periods, but at least three different systems are used today for different purposes. To make things even worse, a single district name can be used in all the systems, but with different meanings.

For purposes of this guide, the "old" district system is used. In this "old" system, Prague is divided into ten numbered districts: Praha 1 through to Praha 10. If you encounter a higher district number, a different system is being used. For example, Praha 13 is part of the "old" Praha 5 district. The advantage of the "old" system of ten districts is that it is used on street signs and house numbers throughout the city, so you can always easily determine the "old" system district you are located in.

Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city, the original 'Town of Prague', and has by far the densest number of attractions. Praha 2 also contains important historic areas. In this central area, the "old" district system (or any of the newer systems) is too crude to be practical, a finer division is needed. Traditional city "quarters" provide such a division. Their disadvantage is that they are somewhat incompatible with the modern district systems - although "quarters" are smaller than the "old" system districts, a single quarter can belong to two or even more districts. The advantage is that these central quarters are well known and widely used and identical with the homonymous cadastral areas shown on on street and house number signs along the "old" district designation, allowing easy orientation.

The most important quarters in the historic city centre are:

  • Castle (Hradčany)— The historic nexus of the city, and the highest point on the left bank. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a small part belongs to Praha 6.
  • Lesser Town (Malá strana)— The settlement around the castle; location of most governmental authorities, including Czech Parliament. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a very small part belongs to Praha 5.
  • Old Town (Staré město)— The nucleus of the right bank, the oldest part of Prague. The whole Old Town belongs to Praha 1.
  • Jewish Town (Josefov)— A small enclave within Old Town, the old Jewish ghetto. The whole Jewish Town belongs to Praha 1.
  • New Town (Nové město)— The district adjacent to Old Town, established in the 14th century. Large parts of the New Town belongs both to Praha 1 and Praha 2. A small part belongs to Praha 8.
  • Vysehrad (Vyšehrad)— The site of the old Vyšehrad castle south of the medieval Prague. The whole Vyšehrad belongs to Praha 2.
Rotunda at Vysehrad
Rotunda at Vysehrad

For the rest of the city, the "old" district system is used in this guide:

  • Praha 1— Almost the whole area of Praha 1 is divided between historic quarters of Castle, Lesser Town, Old Town, Jewish Town and New Town described in individual articles. A small part of Praha 1 doesn't belong to any of these quarters, but these parts are insignificant.
  • Praha 2— A large part of Praha 2 is divided between historic quarters of New Town and Vysehrad described in individual articles. The remaining part includes most of Vinohrady.
  • Praha 3— Zizkov is the name of the district referred to as Prague 3. Previously a working class suburb, Zizkov is home to many expats, short term travelers and university students; and sits on a hill on the right side of the old town. The plentiful array of intriguing and often unusual bars and restaurants, combined with a small but dedicated culture of poets, artists and musicians, gives the area its reputation for being both fun, relaxed and alternative. It is considered one of the more Bohemian districts of Prague.
  • Praha 4.
  • Praha 5.
  • Praha 6.
  • Praha 7.
  • Praha 8— Karlin is the small strip of land sandwiched between Zizkov and the river and bordering the old town on the west side. Karlin belongs to Prague 8 and prior to 2002, it was a rather unsavory part of the city. After the flood of 2002, Karlin was revitalised and is fast becoming a somewhat conservative, cosmopolitan, professional-class area. On the north-east side, Prague 8 balloons out and encompasses urban areas, business premises and furniture/homeware shopping districts. This is generally not regarded as a tourist area.

Links to the articles using the former division, until rewritten:

  • North - Praha 7, Praha 8 and Praha 9.
  • East - Praha 3, Praha 10, Praha 14 and Praha 15.
  • South - Praha 2, Praha 4, Praha 11 and Praha 12.
  • West - Praha 5, Praha 6 and Praha 13.

Jan Palach

A university student, Jan Palach became a Czechoslovakian martyr when he set himself ablaze in protest to the Warsaw Pact intervention against the Prague Spring reforms, which liberalised government policies and human rights restrictions. Palach died three days later from his injuries. Palach's funeral erupted into mass protests against the government. Many Czechoslovakians mourned Palach and sympathized with his ideals including Jan Zajíc, who killed himself in the same fashion as Palach to encourage his countrymen to fight the Warsaw Pact occupation of the Czechoslovakian nation. A little more than two months later, on Good Friday, Evžen Plocek also set himself ablaze in the town of Jihlava. However, Plocek's protest went largely unnoticed since his death was not reported by the media. In 1989, twenty years after Palach's death, large scale protests were held in what became known as Palach Week, a precursor to the Velvet Revolution later the same year.

This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by WWII, Prague's compact medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.

It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Budapest and Krakow. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.

Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century - many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age. The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

The east bank of the Vltava river
The east bank of the Vltava river

The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but pollution often hovers over the city due to its location in the Vltava River basin.

Learning a little of the language may receive a smile or two (see the Czech Republic page for an introduction to basic Czech phrases).

Chaty

Many Praguers have a small cottage (which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling) outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chatas, are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects. Each reflects its owners' character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. There were no Home Depots under communism. Chata owners used the typically Czech "it's who you know" chain of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today. Chaty (pl. of chata) are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.

  • Prague Daily Monitor (in English) [2]
  • Prague Post (weekly, in English) [3]
  • ABC Prague (in English) [4]
  • Prague Observer (in English) [5]

Get in

By plane

Ruzyně International Airport, (IATA: PRG), +420 220 111 111, +420 296 661 111 [6]. Located 20km northwest of the city centre, it generally takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre by car. The airport is served by a number of airlines:

  • Wizz Air [7] is a low cost airline with a significant base in Prague operating to European destinations including Liverpool, London, Barcelona, Milan and Paris amongst others.
  • Czech Airlines (ČSA) [8] is the national carrier operating to many European and international destinations, including London, Manchester, Paris, New York and Toronto.
  • easyJet [9] operates low cost services to European destinations
  • Ryanair [10] low cost services to European destinations
  • BMIbaby [11] low cost services from the UK only
  • Jet2.com [12] low cost services from Leeds/Bradford & Edinburgh
  • SmartWings from Europe & Turkey
  • Aer Lingus from the Irish cities of Dublin & Cork
  • Norwegian [13] from Scandinavia.
  • Delta Air Lines [14] Atlanta and other destinations in the United States.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines [15] 5 direct flights per day from Amsterdam, connections via Amsterdam to many international destinations.

Getting into the city from the airport

  • By bus: The cheapest way to get to the city is by bus, but be sure to have some Czech Crowns ready. Buy a ticket from the kiosk in the arrivals hall or the vending machine, next to the bus stop, for 26 CZK (if you have bigger luggage with you, you have to pay 13 CZK extra). You can also buy the ticket from the driver, but it is more expensive. No machines or drivers accept foreign currencies. Take bus 119 to its terminus (Dejvická) and go downstairs to the metro. Your ticket will continue to be valid in the metro. Alternately, bus 100 takes you to subway station Zličín (metro B). Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get on the bus. If you fail to do so and an inspector catches you, you'll be fined 700 CZK. Tickets are also available from the DPP kiosk in the arrivals area of Terminal 1. 24-hour, 3-day and 5-day tickets are also available here.
  • Airport Express(bus operated by Czech Railroads): These buses leave the airport every 30 minutes; the first one at 4:40AM while the last one at 9:10PM at a price of 50 CZK per person. Tickets are available from the driver. They will take you to the railway and subway station Dejvická and Masarykovo nádrazí. The last stop will be Prague's main train station (Hlavní nádrazí which is commonly abbreviated in Czech Praha hl.n). From there the bus operates back to the airport. Schedules can be found online [16] (enter Terminal 2 and hl.n. into the search engine).
  • Cedaz bus: [17] These buses operate from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every half hour. They will take you past the subway station Dejvická (metro A) and into the city centre to the Náměstí Republiky (metro B). Fares are 120 CZK per person. The easiest way to get to your hotel, however, is to use the company's shared-ride transfer service. They will take you direct to the door of your hotel, delivering groups of 1-4 passengers for 480 CZK or 980 CZK for 5-8 passengers. The drivers can be clearly seen straight outside the doors of the terminal building, just be sure to check that they have the correct identification.
  • By shuttle: Various companies run shuttle services to the hotel and back. They can be found at the airport arrival halls. They usually charge around 600 CZK for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
  • By taxi: The most comfortable method to reach the city will cost around 500 to 700 CZK with AAA. AAA [18] has an exclusive contract with Prague airport to have a fleet of taxis waiting. For a bargain, call one of their competitors such as Profi Taxi [19], Taxi Praha [20], Halo Taxi [21] and others or choose any cab standing on parkings or soliciting inside the terminal building, but then check the price before you enter the car.

By train

Prague has two international train stations: Hlavní Nádraží (the central station, also known as Praha hl.n.) and Praha Holešovice. Both have connections with Metro Line C.

If you arrive at Praha Holešovice and wish to continue to your destination by tram, please note that are 2 separate tram stations that bare the Nádraží Holešovice name. If you wish to travel on trams 5, 12, 15, or 54, you should walk straight out of the train station and follow the McDonald's sign (through the underpass), and the tram stop is just in front of the McDonald's. If you want trams 14, 17, or 53, then you should exit the train station heading right, and walk across the street to this tram stop.

The park in front of the main train station is a haunt for some of the city's undesirable elements and should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, it's best to avoid coming through the park and approach from the Southeast along Washingtonova. As you get to the corner of the park there's a police station, so the likelihood of running into problems from this direction is minimalised. The station is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, alas the 70s style will be lost, but the toilets might be cleaned up once in a while. Beware of the taxi drivers operating from the (official-looking) taxi rank alongside Praha hl.n.; they will attempt to charge a fixed price of CZK1760 (~USD100) for a trip within the city center zone, or more than this if you want to travel further.

Eurocity trains connect Prague to Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. It is a very comfortable way of travel, but not as quick as in other countries - Eurocity has average speed about 120 km/h as the Czech railway network is not suitable for higher speeds. From Berlin, a train reaches Prague in just under five hours, from Vienna in 4-4.5 hours and from Budapest in 6.5 hours. The train line from Berlin to Prague passes through the Erzgebirge mountains, and for a couple of hours the passengers are treated to a series of beautiful alpine river valleys, surrounded by rocky escarpments and mountains.

Since 2005, faster Super City Pendolino [22] trains operate between Ostrava (3.5 hours), Olomouc (just over two hours), Vienna and Bratislava (4 hour each) and Prague (station Praha - Hlavní Nádraží). Reservation is necessary on these trains. If you come to Prague by SC Pendolino, you can use Airport Express to Prague Airport without any additional fee. These buses operate every 30 minutes (5:15AM to 9:45PM). Without a SC Pendolino ticket, you will have to pay 45 CZK to the driver.

Train connections from western countries such as France and the United Kingdom are complicated and slow because of the layout of German railways, which lead mainly from north to south, with no direct connections from east to west. The route with the fewest connections is Prague-Berlin-Paris, but you can shave a few hours off your route if you're willing to transfer several times; eg. Prague-Nurnberg-Stuttgart-Paris can be done in 12 hours. Trains from within Germany can be best scheduled through the 'Deutsche Bahn' website [23]. Direct trains run several times a week from Prague to the Netherlands, reaching Amsterdam in about 14 hours.

The Czech Republic is now covered by the Global Eurail pass [24] and can be included in other Eurail passes.

By car

Prague has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, the highway network in the Czech Republic is quite incomplete and some highways are old and in poor condition. Thus, the highway connection from Prague to the border of the Czech Republic is available only in two directions - southeast and southwest. The south-western highway (D5; international E50) leads through Pilsen (Plzeň) to Germany. The D5 highway continues in Germany as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (160 km). The south-eastern highway (D1) is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway - as such it's in a rather poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for 250km, and usually takes over two hours. To the northwest you can take highway D8 (E55), but it is not complete to the German border. It ends now at Lovosice (about 60 km from Prague and starts again in Usti nad Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig). To the northeast you can take highway R10 (E65). It is strictly speaking a motorway, not a highway, but it has four lanes and differs little from a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov. It isn't regarded as an important access route, as there are no major cities in this direction (Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland), however it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerské hory and Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) with the best Czech skiing resorts. To the east you can take the newly completed D11 (E67), which goes to Hradec Kralove. It leads to Poland.

Czech highways are under development (D8 and D11 are being extended, D3 to Ceske Budejovice and Linz is supposed to be completed in 2020) so it's hoped that things will get better. Unless there are road works, there are only seldom traffic jams on Czech highways, with the exception of D1 near Prague (and near Mirosovice (direction to Ceske Budejovice and Linz, and Brno, too)).

Prague suffers from heavy traffic and on week days the main streets are one big traffic jam. Moreover, Prague still doesn't have a complete highway outer circuit. It is a really good idea to use the P+R (park and ride) parking places, where you can park your car for a very small fee and use public transport. The P+Rs are situated near all highways and are well marked. Note that traffic wardens are rife and parking in most residential streets in and around Prague city centre (even after dark) without a valid permit will result in a parking fine. In particular, avoid blue-marked areas which are parking-restricted area if you don't want your car to get towed away within the hour.

By bus

The main bus station for international buses in Prague is Florenc, in Praha 8 (metro lines B and C). It is located east of the city centre. In June 2009 a new terminal building was opened.

Eurolines and Student Agency connect Prague to major European cities. Other, less frequently used bus stations are at Nádraží Holešovice (metro C), Dejvická (A), Zličín (B) and Černý most (B).

Get around

Public transportation is very convenient in most of the areas visitors are likely to frequent.

Walking

Prague is renowned as a very "walkable" city. For those who enjoy seeing the old and new city by foot, one can easily walk from Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square, or from the Old Town to Charles Bridge and the Palace (Hrad) District. However almost all of the streets are cobbled, rendering it very difficult for disabled or elderly travellers to get around effectively. Also, pedestrians should enter crosswalks carefully in Prague, as drivers are not as likely to yield as they are in other European cities.

Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on a red man, and if caught this incurs a fine of 1000kč.

Taxi

Try to avoid getting taxi on the street (public transportation is always the better option in Prague) and if you have to, try to negotiate the price in advance. It’s advisable to call one of the major Prague Taxi services:

  • Taxi Praha, +420 222 111 000 [25].
  • Profi Taxi, +420 844 700 800 [26].
  • PAT Taxi, +420 800 870 888 [27].
  • City Taxi, +420 257 257 257 [28].
  • Halo Taxi, +420 244 114 411 [29].
  • AAA Taxi, +420 222 333 222 [30].
  • Speedcars, +420 224 234 234 [31]. This is not a taxi service, but well controlled 'individual transport service' by provider.

Deceptive taxi drivers are another trap that can badly surprise a tourist. Mostly they charge more than they should. The municipal council has been trying to solve this problem since the Prague mayor dressed up as an Italian tourist and was repeatedly overcharged. The most frequent cases of cheating happen between the railway station or airport and hotel. If you must take a taxi, and cannot call one directly or call your hotel for a referral, the best way to find a reputable one may be to look for a hotel and ask them to call a taxi.

Always insist on having the taxi-meter turned on and ask for a receipt once you leave the taxi. The receipt should have driver's name, address and tax identification number included. Even though you ask for receipt the taxi-meter could be tampered with so called "turbo", which will cause the taxi-meter price go sky high.

If you go for waving the taxi on the street make sure you stop car with logo of one of the major companies. It's not a bullet proof solution, but at least you have some chance to get some satisfaction from the taxi dispatching company.

About two years ago, an information desk was set up on most taxi stands in the city, with orientation prices to most popular destinations from that stand. But there is a mistake in the local law, which actually allows some of the taxi companies renting the taxi stands (specifically around Old Town square) to charge VERY high prices (about 99Kč/Km). There is an ongoing law suit regarding this, however the practice still hasn't stopped. The most infamous company in this regard is a recently created AAA Taxi s.r.o. deliberately creating its name to resemble regulated and popular AAA Radiotaxi Praha, however AAA Taxi cabs charge up to four times more for a ride, they even do not provide services to Czech customers [32]. Visitors are advised to to use the services of proved phone-order taxis, as they are even reports of robberies with street cruising taxis [33].

If you're not speaking Czech, then be prepared there is about 50% chance to get cheated by a taxi driver, when stopping taxi in the city center. So be always on watch as that is a standard warning in any guide book about Prague.

If you are convinced you got overcharged by the taxi driver, mark the car ID numbers (license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name etc.) and contact the company, which the driver is working for (if any) or police. The problem is that you have to testify against the driver, which is kind of hard when you're on the other side of the world. Try to avoid suspicious taxis and if you find even a grain of suspicion, then walk away catching another taxi.

Other alternative is to use some of the chauffeured services companies like Prague Airport Transfers s.r.o. [34] or FEBA Trade Limousine Car Service [35] or even cheaper but as reliable HFS s.r.o. - 123-Prague-Airport-Transfer.com [36].

Prague Metro
Prague Metro

There are three main subway lines (Czech: metro), and numerous bus and tram (streetcar) lines. The tram and bus schedules are posted on the stops, and the metro operates from very early in the morning (around 5:00AM) until approximately midnight. The schedules and connections may also be checked online from the website of Prague Public Transit [37] [38]. Purchase a 30-minute metro (or 5 stops only) for 18 Kc, 75-minute transfer ticket for 26 Kc, or 180 minutes for 40Kc, at any dispenser using coins (they give change), or tobacco shop. Ensure you always have some coins, because the only way to buy ticket on some stations (or at night time) is to use a ticket machine. Discounted tickets for children up to 15 years are also available.

You may purchase 24-hour, 3-day or 5-day tickets at ticket offices in some metro stations. A 24-hour ticket costs 100 Kc, and may be both cheaper and more convenient than buying separate tickets for each journey. Tickets for 3 or 5 days allow for free accompaniment of one child between the age of 6 and 14 (inclusive). The same ticket may be used on metro, tram or bus, including transfer from one to the other, during its time period. Time stamp your ticket by slipping it into one of several boxes in the tram or bus as soon as you board, stamp metro tickets before entering the stations (imitate the locals), and keep it handy until it expires.

Tickets are not checked upon boarding, but uniformed and plain-clothes ticket inspectors often make the rounds asking to see your ticket. These inspectors have mostly improved a great deal, and usually speak a fair amount of English and are fairly polite in their difficult jobs. One problem is false inspectors who most often ride the trams between "Malostranske Namesti" and Prague Castle - these deceivers can be detected by asking for the identity card which should be possessed by every inspector. An unstamped ticket is invalid, it will be confiscated, and you will incur a 700 Kc fine. Even though "riding black" seems easy in Prague, you should invest in the cheap ticket, for the simple reason that Prague's transportation works perfectly, and it functions on the honor system - help it stay that way.

Public transport continues at night. Night trams or night buses (00:00 to 5:00AM) usually come every 30 minutes. Every 15 minutes during this time, trams leave the central exchange stop of Lazarská in the centre of Prague. All night trams go through this stop. You can easily change tram lines here if not anywhere else.

Do not underestimate how close to the footpath the trams will be when they reach the stop. It's safer to take a few steps back before the tram arrives as wing mirrors could cause injury for taller people. When you use public transport in Prague, keep in mind that it is good etiquette to let elderly people, pregnant women or disabled people sit down.

By boat

You can travel down the famous Vltava River (Moldau, in German), which inspired writers and composers such as Smetana and Dvorak.

Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
  • Prague Castle [39]. The biggest ancient castle in the world, according to the Guinness World Records, which rises above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery [40], several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among other attractions. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. The entrance for St. Vitus Cathedral is free, but the queue may be long (1 hour). A Prague castle ticket is 350 CZK and audioguide a further 350 CZK. This is a large amount for an audioguide, but it lets you skip the St. Vitus queue. Do not confuse this Prague Castle which dominates the city and is in the Hradčany area with [41]Prague Castle Blahutovo which is in the Kbely suburb.
  • Charles Bridge [42]— One of several bridges over the Vltava. Its construction started in the 14th Century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful attractions. Over the day it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment.
The Astronomical Clock
The Astronomical Clock
  • The Old Town (Staré město)— Prague's historic centre. Includes numerous historical buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock (Orloj), the pure GothicTýn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed. The old town features many historical churches (St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Tnem among others) and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.
  • Josefov— The historical Jewish ghetto. Interesting for its well preserved historical synagogues, unique in the entire world. The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga) is Europe's oldest active synagogue. It's rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamented building of Moorish style. Other attractions are the old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house. The Old New Synagogue is NOT a part of the Jewish museum, so it's recommended to buy a combined pass to all Jewish attractions [43] which costs 480 CZK.
  • New Town (Nové město)— The new town was constructed as an extension of the old town at the 14th Century. Nonetheless, despite its oldness, most of it was modernized. The main attraction here is the Wenceslas Square, which has many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look (see below). Midway down this historic Boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views (Henry Tower), romantic restaurants, Narodni, and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.
  • The Lesser Town (Malá strana)— Across the Vltava from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches (of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned). The Lennon Wall which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge.
  • Loreta [44]. A beautiful Baroque convent in the Lesser Town.
  • Strahov Monastery [45]. A monastery on the mountain. Worth a visit for both its picture gallery and its notable Renaissance library.
Frank Gehry's Dancing House
Frank Gehry's Dancing House
  • Prague Dancing House (Fred and Ginger Building)— One of the most fascinating architectural expressions of Prague. Accessible from Karlovo náměstí metro station.
Elephant in Prague Zoo
Elephant in Prague Zoo
  • Vyšehrad [46]. A nice castle well worth a visit.
  • Petřínská rozhledna [47]. A smaller version of the Eiffel Tower on the top of a hill. Climbing the tower costs 100 CZK for a standard ticket or 50 CZK for discounts.
  • Prague Giant Metronome— A huge monument erected in order to replace the Stalinistic monument that preceded it.
  • Memorial to the 1989 Velvet Revolution— A simple brass plaque at 20 Narodni. From Cafe Louvre, walk toward the river. You will enter an archway in just a few meters, look at the wall on the left.
  • Prague Zoo [48]. A large zoo in Prague.

Museums:

  • Czech National Gallery (Národní galerie) [49]. Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace (up to to the Baroque), St George Convent (Czech Baroque and Mannerism) and Veletržní Palace (19th century and modern art). The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery (see above) which is worth visiting on its own right.

A collection of Asian art is exhibited at the Zbraslav Castle.

  • Czech National Museum (Národní muzeum) [50]. An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.
  • Prague City Gallery [51]. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th Century Czech art in a beautiful medievil edifice. 19th Century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.
  • Czech Museum of Fine Arts [52]. 20th Century Czech art and changing exhibitions.
  • Museum of Decorative Arts [53]. This 17th century palazzo-style building houses examples of historical and contemporary crafts, as well as applied arts and design.
  • National Technical Museum (Národní technické muzeum) [54]. Amazing collection of motorcycles, cars, aircraft and commercial vehicles, plus many examples of communist-era technological engineering
  • Military Museum [55]. Showcases the uniforms, artefacts and maps relating to the Czechoslovak armed forces during World Wars I and II.
  • Jewish Museum [56]. This covers six separate places (four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall) but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.
  • Mozart and Dušek Museum [57]. Dedicated to the works of Mozart.
  • Prague City Museum (Muzeum hl. m. Prahy) [58]. An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.
  • Mucha Museum [59]. A museum of the Czech artist Alfons Mucha.
  • Kafka Museum [60]. There is also a permanent exhibition at Kafka's house.
  • The Pedagogical Comenius Museum [61]. A museum documenting the writings of the Czech Renaissance erudite.
  • The Mueller Villa [62]. A work of art of the well known Viennese architect Loos from the beginning of the 20th Century.
  • Jaroslav Fragner Gallery [63]. Jaroslav Fragner Gallery is oriented in temporary architecture. You can find here profiles of influential people and groups, retrospective exhibitions, thematic exhibitions, recent movement in architecture. Gallery provides lectures, seminars and publishing, regarding central Prague the JFG became a centre for architects, professional and general public, students of architecture and construction companies.
  • Museum Kampa [64]. A museum of modern Central European art.
  • Museum of Communism in Czechoslovakia [65]. Interesting exhibits on how Communism changed Czechoslavakia.
  • There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Miniature Museum at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Wax Museum, Torture Museum, Postal Museum and Brewery Museum at the Old Town and the Aviation Museum at Kbely.

Sightseeing Passes

As with many major European cities, you can get a good deal by buying a tourist card. Be discerning when choosing based on your needs (for example, cards may list free entry to locations that are normally free anyway - this concerns Prague Pass). Here are your options:

  • Prague Card [66]. All-top attractions inclusive tourist card with tradition since 1991, is valid for 4 days and grants free entry to over 50 top attractions in the Prague area. You will receive a book with information on all the free attractions and many discounts (Prague Walks excursions, airport transfer, shopping, Mucha and Kafka museum etc.) and a voucher for each attraction. You can only enter the attraction with a valid card AND a voucher. The card does not include public transport and a separate ticket will have to be bought. The Prague Card costs 790 Kč.

Free Attractions Of note is that the card will grant free admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250 Kč. Many of the town's museums and galleries--including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum--are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value. As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum.

With the Prague Card you can visit Prague Castle (350 CZK), Old Town, Malá Strana and Charles Bridge historical towers and other attractions, Observatory (20 CZK), small copy of Eiffel Tour (100 CZK) and Mirror Maze at Petrin Hill, Vysehrad all castle including his casemates and gallery, many New Town Museums and Galleries and several castles outside centre of Prague.

  • Prague Pass [67]. Will give you free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 1 year period, various discounts, sightseeing tours and 72 hours of public transport, including metro, tram, bus, funicular, and train all for 860 Kč.

Free Attractions There is something for everyone with Vysehrad and its casemate (catacombs) and basilica, take a boat trip through Prague on the river Vltava (Moldau), effortless up in the TV tower with the best panorama of Prague or enjoy a ride on the Petrin hill cable railway. The whole city in one hall (perfect model in 1:480 scale) - a time travel to the past in Prague’s historical most significant museum. Don't fear the sharks and marvel at the blaze of colors in the Sea World Aquarium, a magical ride at a performance of a Black-Light-Theater or let your soul swing at a concert in a church. River Navigation Museum, Army museum, Aviation museum and the UNESCO certified auto museum "PRAGA".... all for free! (Some of them however have free entry anyway !)

Also in your pack is a free map of Prague and a program guide booklet as well as a free welcome present. You will also receive discount coupons for several discounts of up to 50% for guided sightseeing- and city-walking tours, Mozart museum, galleries, concerts, internet use, computer games, real laser game or for Rent a Car (25%).

  • National Gallery Gift Ticket— If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a dárková vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 Kč, for two persons 1000 Kč. For 240 Kč you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery (Šternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anežka Convent), basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you 450 Kč.
Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles

Culture

There are many opera and Black Light Theatre companies in Prague. There are several performance groups that cater to tourists. They aren't strictly to be avoided, but common sense should tell you that the opera advertised by costumed pamphleteers is not going to be up to truly professional standards.

  • AghaRTA Jazz Centrum [68].
  • Black Light Theatre [69].
  • Ungelt Jazz & Blues Club [70].
  • Pipe organ music in Prague [71].
  • Prague Advent Choral Meeting [72].
  • Prague Folklore Days [73].
  • 19th International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music. [74]

List of Concerts, Theatres, Museums, Galleries, Monasteries, Antiques, Trade Fairs, History in prague:

  • Heart of Europe. [75]
Prague Boat
Prague Boat

River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music.

  • Cruise Prague [76]. Offers a wide range of regular and private cruises.
  • EVD [77].
  • JazzBoat [78]. Combines cruising and jazz concerts.
  • Prague Sports [79]. Gives you the chance to play a range of sports from football, cricket, rugby union, and hockey in Prague. Packages can be tailor-made to include accommodation, transfers, activities etc.
Christmas market at night
Christmas market at night

The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find the exact same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path. Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague - they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.

Christmas market
Christmas market

In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city.

There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take "Na Prikope" street - the 18th most expensive street in the world (measured by the price of property), with famous shopping arcades "Cerna ruze" (Black rose) and "Palac Myslbek" and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square. The other typical (if rather expensive) Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones (gathered near the town of Turnov) are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity. "Pařížská" street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious (and expensive) boutiques in Prague.

Money

The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK. The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank [80]

Sometimes it is also possible to pay with Euros (Hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds etc.) but be prepared to suffer an unfavourable exchange rate.

Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles

Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or beef with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish is not as popular, though these days it is widely available. Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), crêpes or ice cream. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.

The tip should be about 10 to 15% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the bill or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise it's customary to leave at least 20Kč-40Kč or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas (along the river, or with views near the castle) will charge a cover or "kovert" in addition to your meal charge. If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it (bread, ketchup, etc.) If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. It should be noted that some waiters are impolite especially to people from the eastern part of Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.

If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it. Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs - they're far superior to the greasy, messy version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out French baguettes are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterwards. This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it - unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 crowns for a small one to 45 crowns for the terrifying-looking 'gigant'. Note that size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length.

If you're looking for somewhere more formal, Old Town Square has several places with outside seating on the square. It's an excellent place to people watch.

Talk

Czech and Slovak are the de-facto official languages of Prague. Both languages are very similar and mutually intelligible to a wide extent, leading foreigners to assume incorrectly that they are dialects of each other. Both are universally understood, as Czech and Slovaks have historically understood each other without the need of a translator. Russian is widely understood by people who were attending school before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but the language is too different from Czech to be understood without study. In addition, some people may dislike to use Russian even if they know it because of the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the communist history in general. Most people studying after 1989 and even many older people can speak English. However, learning either Czech or Slovak (even if it's just a few phrases) will surely endear the locals.

See the Czech phrasebook and Slovak phrasebook.

Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles

Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 Kč, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 Kč for an euro-sized glass. Don't be afraid to experiment with different beer brands, even if they are not mentioned in this article.

In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join. Prague has also many excellent tearooms (in Czech čajovna) which serve different kinds of teas from around the world.

  • Clocktower Bar Crawl. [81] Meets in front of the astronomical clock in Old Town square at 9:15PM nightly. €15 for an hour of unlimited beer, wine (if you find the pitcher) vodka, rum, and absinthe shooters, and then takes you to a variety of bars and pubs in town and ends at a night club. It is a great way to find out what the nightlife in Prague is really like. No booking necessary, just show up thirsty! Free T-shirts for everyone, and entry shots at every subsequent pub. Truly "the best night you will never remember."
  • Prague Pub Crawl [82] Join together at the original Pub Crawl Bar. Guests may join any time from 9PM-10:30PM starting by exercising drinking muscles with a drink lottery and an hour-and-a-half-long open bar with all the free beer or wine you can drink, and three rounds of super shots. From Pub Crawl Bar follow your guides to a variety of bars.
Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles

Sleep

Prague has a wealth of accommodation options, many of them within walking distance of the town centre. Peak season generally runs from April to October and a major influx of visitors can be expected during New Year as well. Prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high in the peak season and reservations are advised. Otherwise, the main train station, Hlavní nádraží, has an accommodation booking service for hotels and hostels upstairs. Normally, tax and breakfast are included in the room rate.

Even during peak season, dorm rooms in hostels close to the city center can be had for around 350Kč per person per night. Prague has its share of rough and ready youth hostels with a party vibe, but there are many with a more relaxed atmosphere and some housed in beautifully restored buildings as fancy as any hotel. Many hostels also offer private rooms, with or without shared bathrooms, for much cheaper than a pension or hotel room. Around Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, there are many touts offering cheap accommodation. Many are Czech residents renting part of their apartment for extra cash. Prices don't vary much between them, but some may not be trustworthy so be cautious.

A fun alternative is a 'Botel'. Usually relatively well placed, with gorgeous views. Prices vary from €20 to €120 pppn. Botel Florentina offers a view of the castle while being affordable too.

For those travelers to Prague that aren't looking to just save money, but to stay and tour the town in style, there are a few luxury hotels including one that is in the historical building from the 16th century:

  • Hotel u zlaté studny (At the Golden Well), Karlova 3, Prague 1, +420 222 220 262, [83]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Hotel is situated in the very centre of Prague, on the Royal Path which connects the Old Town Square with the Charles Bridge.  edit

For those looking for something a little different, a 'botel' (boat hotel) may be an appealing option. Most are moored on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5.

  • Camping: The city has numerous campsites; there is one area to the south of the river (in the city) with camping grounds on river islands. Another is in the north in 'Troja' these camping grounds are mainly small, family affairs, in the peak season they can get very crowded. From Prague centre they are accessible from tram 12 and 15; at Troja follow the signs for the 'zoo'.
  • Old Prague Hostel, Benediktska 2, Prague 1 (metro Namesti Republiky), 00420224829058, [84]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Top located hostel in Prague. Next to Old Town Square. Common rooms, common kitchen. Free internet, breakfast.  edit
  • A1 hotel & hostel, Sokolovska 210, Prague 8 (metro Palmovka), 00420284827681, [85]. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 10:30AM. Friendly hostel 10 min from the centre. Common rooms, common kitchen, free internet. Don’t pay more when you don’t need to – we offer confortable accommodation for a friendly price.  edit
  • Prague Square Hostels, Melantrichova 10, Old Town (metro Mustek), 00420224240859, [86]. One of the best located hostels in Prague. 200 steps from Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock. 5min walk to Charles Bridge  edit
  • Sir Toby's Hostel, Delnicka 24, + 420 283 870 635, [87]. Sir Toby's is a great Prague tradition. It is a favorite of backpackers as it has a great atmosphere perfect for meeting locals and fellow travelers. Also, be sure to check out their cellar pub with regular movie screenings.  edit
  • Czech Inn, Francouzska 76, +420 267 267 600, [88]. One of Europe's Famous hostels, Czech Inn is the #1 designer hostel in Prague. It is chic and stylish while still maintaining the atmosphere and budget of a hostel. They also have their own cafe which doubles as an art gallery, with regular events (including concerts, trivia night, etc) and a large selection of local beers.  edit
  • Miss Sophie's, Melounova 3, +420 296 303 530, [89]. A boutique hotel and hostel located in Prague's New Town, just a stone's throw from all of the main tourist sights. Offering designer accommodation with chic, minimalist decor at reasonable prices, Miss Sophie's has dorm beds, private rooms, and apartments.  edit
  • Hotel Ambassador, Vaclavske namesti 5-7, Prague 1, 420 224 193 111, [90]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Luxury hotel right on Wenceslas Square. It's one of the traditional, longest operated 5 star hotel in Prague. It's pricey but good value for money and location. 2600 - 5500 czk.  edit
  • Prague Lion Hostel, Na Zbořenci 273/6 Praha 2 - Nové Město, 420 731 487 936, [91]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. A great hostel with single and double rooms. Some have ensuite bathrooms, others do not. Overall, a great value for the money in New Town; more of a pension than a hostel. 1200-1600 czk.  edit
  • Dizzy Daisy Hostel Prague, Dittrichova 330/15, Prague2 (In the centre, Praha2), +420 776 088 311, [92]. checkin: 13.30; checkout: 10.30. Hostel offers comfortable rooms and dorms with many other services. Located next to the river bank of Weltava. In a walking distances from the old town and Charles Bridges. Feel the real atmosphere of Prague with us!  edit
  • Ramada Grand Hotel Symphony, Václavské náměstí 41, Prague 1, +420 221 454 111 (), [93]. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. Hotel is situated on Wenceslas Square just a few steps from the most visited cultural and historical sights. Hotel offers 98 modern and elegant rooms including 9 apartments and one room for a disabled guests. All rooms are air-conditioned. Direct public transport connections ensures maximum mobility within Prague and surrounding areas.  edit
  • Ametyst Hotel Prague, Jana Masaryka 11, Prague 2 (metro I.P.Pavlova, metro Namesti Miru), +420 222921921 (), [94]. checkin: 11:00; checkout: 12:00. Ametyst Hotel Prague is a favoured 4 Star Boutique Hotel and Art Gallery Hotel located in the city centre of downtown Prague renowned for its fair value for money, award winning restaurant and excellent breakfast. (50.0708029456,14.4366359711) edit
  • The Golden Wheel**** Hotel (Centre), Nerudova 28 (Prague 1 - Lesser Town - Centre), +420257535490, [95]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Charm & Boutique Hotel - The Golden Wheel is one of the most popular hotels in Prague! The rating is up to 20th position of all 656 hotels in Prague! The hotel is located in the famous cobbled Nerudova street in the heart of the most romantic district of Prague - Mala Strana (Lesser Town) directly below the Prague Castle and just few steps from Charles Bridge. In this quarter of Prague every house has a name so “The Golden Wheel” is a historic name of building. This small hotel offers 17 elegantly and luxury furnished rooms, equipped with bathrooms with showers or bath, WC, international TV satellite channels, free internet high speed connection, WiFi, minibar and the attic rooms has air-conditioning. Each room has its own indistinguishable charm. Some rooms has ceilings with hand painted wooden beams or with Baroque vaults. Guests can enjoy an enchanting view over the Prague Castle from glass panoramatic balcony at 4th floor and the famous red roofs of Malá Strana from the upper floors, for relax hotel has private small calm, green garden with flowers. In hotel you can see old well from 14th century! Free high speed internet point with PC is ready for trvellers without own PC! Hotel make every day Daily hotel news at the breakfast time with weather forecast for today and tomorrow, tips to do in Prague, entertainment tips, ticket management. Splendid buffet breakfast with legendary Prague ham, mortadella, omelets, ham and eggs, selection of sausages, fresh fruits, light and dia breakfasts, croissants and Czech bread is made in hotel bakery. Breakfast is included in rate! 100-300eur.  edit
  • Hotel U Zlatých nůžek**** (City centre), Na Kampě 6/494 (Prague 1 - Lesser Town - just next to the Charles Bridge), +420257530473 (), [96]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. The hotel is located in the heart of historical Prague 1 – Lesser Town, halfway along the royal path between Prague Castle and Old Town Square. The hotel offers accommodation in 10 spacious double rooms with extra beds on request. All rooms have satelite TV, WiFi internet, direct phone lines, a safe, a minibar and an electronic door-locking system. Bathrooms are equipped with a shower or/and bath, toilet and hair dryer. Our hotel is located 12 km from Ruzyně Airport, 4 km from train station Hlavní nádraží and 3.5 km from the Florenc bus station. We are looking forward to your visit!  edit

Contact

Many hostels and hotels offer free internet on shared computers or over a wireless network, so ask before you shell out extra at one of Prague's many internet cafes.

There's an internet cafe at Spálená 49 (Metro B & Tram: Národní třída) which is open until midnight every day. It also has printing facilities which were invaluable after my friends recently missed a flight and needed to book another and print boarding cards.

  • Grial Internet Cafe, Belgická 31, Vinohrady, Prague 2, tel. +42 0222 516 033, info@grial.cz,[97]. The nearest metro station is Náměstí Míru on the A line. Open M-F 9AM-11PM, Sa-Su 11AM-11PM. Grial Cafe serves hot and cold drinks, including alcohol, and scanning, printing and CD/DVD burning are available. Internet access is 40Kč per hour.
  • Internet Cafe Interlogic, Budějovická 13, Praha 4, tel. +42 0241 734 617, info@interlogic.cz [98]. Open every day 10AM-10PM. 12Mbit/second internet connections, couches and drinks. 1Kč/min.
  • Blue Mail, Konviktská 8, Praha 1, (Old Town), tel. +42 0222 521 279, info@bluemail.cz [99]. Open M-F 10AM-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-11PM. The first five minutes is free and an hour of access will set you back 81Kč.

Stay safe

Prague is a safe city by European or American standards. The risk of assault, murder, and other crimes is very low. The most common crime in Prague by far is car theft: the prevalence of car theft/vandalism pushes up the crime statistics of Prague. Statistics therefore paint Prague to be much more dangerous than it really is. If you observe basic travel safety rules (e.g. don't provoke drunken people; don't carry a wallet or purse in the back pocket of your pants; always keep an eye on your items; don't put all your money in one place; don't show your money or valuable things to anybody; don't walk alone into deserted areas if you are a woman), you should be safe in Prague.

Use of hard drugs is a criminal offense while the use of softer drugs such as marijuana or "magic" mushrooms (if fresh) is not punishable, but in fact widely tolerated. Most bars will expect you to go outside if you intend to smoke a joint. But you can be prosecuted for possessing more than the "usual amount" of soft drugs (ie. more than one joint); definition of "usual amount" depends entirely on each particular policeman, which means you want to be polite to them.

Be aware of teams of pickpockets [100] that lurk outside metro stations, overcrowded tram wagons, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. They usually work in teams of 3-5 and are looking for lost or distracted tourists. Backpacks are especially interesting to them. Many of those groups use underage children as pickpockets, because they can't be prosecuted by Czech laws.

Due to the low incidence of violent crime, the threat of pickpockets has been played up as a great problem. However, common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets. If you have a camera, try not to wear it openly. Always close and secure your backpack and try to keep an eye on it. Be especially careful not to fall asleep in tram or metro. Wear your wallet in a safe place (e.g. inner pocket of your coat), never put it into your rear pocket or any other place where it can be easily stolen.

Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you, maintain common sense.

If you enter the metro (usually at night), you may find a team of con artists at the stations, saying they are metro clerks and after examining your ticket for some time that it's invalid so you'll have to pay a fine of 500 CZK (1000 CZK if you argue with them). So if you happen to see them, and you're sure that your ticket is valid, tell them to call the police, or call them yourself.

Be careful with taxi drivers, particularly from the train station. Taxis that are legally registered may still be mafia-run affairs that do their best to overcharge. It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt in Prague, so agree a price before putting yourself, or your luggage, in the taxi. The risk of over-charging is greatly overplayed, just take the usual sensible precautions of only using taxi firms affiliated with the station or your hotel, or call a reputable company and wait. Finally, if presented with a wrong bill from a taxi driver, call the police on your mobile phone. Your driver will quickly change his tune!

If you can't afford to haggle with cab drivers, you can always use public mass transit. The network is extensive and can take you almost anywhere in Prague.

Be careful with money exchanges. Exchange your money in banks or official tourist informations and rather avoid exchange offices. Never deal with a street money-dealer: they offer better rates but frequently try to swindle you by giving you money from another country, such as Russian roubles or old Bulgarian leva. Most of the exchange offices are fair, but some, especially at the busiest tourist sites, may try to cheat customers with various tricks. One of the them is offering favourable exchange rates, but with fine print below, e.g. "if you exchange more than 1000 EUR". Another trick is putting a huge board with "we sell" exchange rates to the shop window, which makes an impression of good rates, whereas the actual rate for buying CZK is much more unfavourable. When the customer finds this out at the counter and wants to cancel the transaction, the money-dealer refuses with an excuse "I have already printed the bill", implying it is too late. The police won't help you, typically referring you to the Czech National Bank, which supervises exchange offices, to file a complaint (which does not help you either). Czech law is weak and only orders exchange offices to display the actual rates, which you might find somewhere in the office in small print. Therefore if you decide to use an exchange office always ask for the actual rate you will pay before making the transaction and before releasing any money out of your hand.

If you find yourself in emergency, dial 158 for police, 155 for ambulance or 150 for firefighters. You can also dial 112 for a general emergency call.

If you need medication at weekends or evenings, you can go to Lékárna Palackého, (Tel +420 224 946 982) the 24-hour pharmacy on Palackého 5 in the new town.

Get out

Buses and trains are frequent and quite inexpensive and can get you to even the smallest village.

Practically every major European city can be reached by bus or train from Prague.

Regular buses are available to the following Czech towns, travel times in brackets:

  • Brno (2:30)
  • České Budejovice (2:20)
  • Český Krumlov (2:55)
  • Frýdek Místek (5:05)
  • Hradec Králové (1:15)
  • Jihlava (1:35)
  • Karlovy Vary (2:10)
  • Kroměříž (3:45)
  • Liberec (1:05)
  • Nový Jičín (4:35)
  • Olomouc (3:45) — 275 km from Prague, but with a good train connection, former capital of Moravia, beautiful old city, famous medieval astronomical clock.
  • Ostrava (5:20)
  • Písek (1:20) — Beautiful South Bohemian town with the country's oldest bridge
  • Plzeň (0:50) — Home of the world-famous Pilsener brewery
  • Uherské Hradiště (4:00)
  • Zlín (4:30)

For just a small selection of further places off the beaten path:

  • Kutná Hora— A once prosperous silver mining town in the 14th and 15th centuries with the fantastic Saint Barbara church, and the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs, decorated with the remains of 40,000 human skeletons who were largely plague victims.
  • Novosedly— Take a horseback trip through the vineyards of Moravia
  • Vyšší Brod— Three day canoe trip from the Sumava mountains through Český Krumlov
  • Vysočina— Great mountain area for hiking, located halfway between Prague and Brno
  • Beroun— Small city located on the way to Plzeň, follow the Beroun river north to some beautiful villages
  • Karlštejn castle and the holy cave monastery— Hiking trip to the famous castle as well as an off the beaten track monastery
  • Konopiště— Archduke Franz Ferdinand's Castle located 40km south of Prague
  • Český Ráj— Hike through forests and valleys filled with giant sandstone columns and cliffs in this park near Jičín.
  • Orlik— Orlik castle about 70 km from Prague. Near the Orlik dam and Zvikov castle.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Etymology

Analogous to borough.

Proper noun

Singular
Prague

Plural
-

Prague

  1. The capital city of the Czech Republic.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

Anagrams


French

Proper noun

Prague f.

  1. Prague

Anagrams


Simple English

[[File:|250px|thumb|Prague]]

File:Prague crowd Malá
Packed with tourists on a busy summer day in Malá Strana. (Lesser Quarter), Prague

Prague (Praha in Czech) is the capital and the biggest city of the Czech Republic.

Prague has been one of the most beautiful European cities since the Middle Ages. Often called the "City of 100 towers", the "Rooftop of Europe" or the "Heart of Europe", Prague was a place where many merchants, artists and inventors met.

Prague is full of historical monuments and shows all major artistic styles. The historical centre of Prague is situated on both banks of the Vltava river. This historical centre consists of the 6 districts, which were once independent cities that were put together in 18th century. Those are Staré Město (Old Town), Josefov (Old Jewish Town), Nové Město (New Town), Malá Strana (Lesser Town), Hradčany (Prague Castle) and Vyšehrad. It was Prince Bořivoj who established Prague Castle. There are also lots of museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls, and other historical buildings.

Contents

History

File:Karlů
Charles Bridge.

The earliest inhabitants of the area that we know about lived in the valley of the Vltava river around 500 BC. Slavonic tribes came to Bohemia in about 500 AD. There is a legend about how the town of Prague started. Princess Libuše, the leader of a Slavonic tribe, chose a simple peasant Přemysl to be her husband. She told him to go and find a village on the banks of the Vltava and to start a town there. The town became Prague, ruled by the Přemyslid family.

In the second half of the 9th century the castle’s original fortifications were built. During the reign of Wenceslas I (Václav in Czech) in the 10th century the church of St Vitus was built at Prague castle. Wenceslas was murdered by his brother when he was going to church. He was later made a saint. In the early 11th century the Přemyslid family got power in Moravia, too. Vratislav II was the first monarch to be called King of Bohemia.

Another ruler, also called Wenceslas I, ruled as King of Bohemia from 1230. He encouraged the arts. A lot of Germans came to live in Prague. In 1257 King Otakar II founded the area of Prague called the Lesser Quarter for the Germans to live in. The last of the Přemyslid kings was King Wenceslas III. He was murdered in Moravia.

During the Middle Ages Prague became very important as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by Charles IV (1316-1378) who was the most powerful ruler in Europe at the time. Charles made Prague a great city, building St Vitus Cathedral, a university, and a famous bridge called Charles Bridge which still exists.

After Charles IV there were many arguments and fights in Prague. A priest called Jan Hus said that the Catholic Church had become too powerful. He was arrested and burned at the stake in 1415. A lot of people agreed with what Hus had been saying. These people were called Hussites. They threw a lot of important Catholic people out of the window (called "defenestration"). A lot more fighting followed, and for many years Bohemia was ruled by kings who lived in other countries.

File:St Vitus Cathedral from
St. Vitus Cathedral.

From 1526 the Hapsburg family ruled Bohemia. They were Catholics and ruled the Holy Roman Empire. In 1576 the Emperor Rudolph II moved the capital from Vienna to Prague. Prague became a rich town again, and people were free to worship as Catholics or Protestants. After Rudolph II the were a lot of religious fighting and more people were thrown out of windows. Eventually the fighting became part of the Thirty Years’ War. When Ferdinand II won the fighting a lot of Protestants left the country. New buildings in Prague were built in the Baroque style. The German language, not Czech, was spoken at court. Maria Theresa was the only queen to reign over Prague. One of her 16 children was Marie Antoinette who became queen of France. When her son Joseph II ruled, people stopped fighting about religion. The people were free to speak what they thought, and there was no more serfdom. Prague now had three parts: the Old Town, the Lesser Quarter and the New Town. Famous people such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited the town often.

In the 19th century industry came to Prague. Factories were built, a railway was built between Prague and Vienna. The Czech nationalist movement became very strong after 1848. They wanted to use their own language instead of German. The composers Smetana and Dvořák wrote music about their country, often using Czech folksongs. The National Theatre was opened in 1881.

In June 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, was murdered. This led to World War I. After the war an independent republic called Czechoslovakia was formed with Prague as its capital. It consisted of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. In 1938 Hitler invaded the country. It was liberated by Soviet troops in May 1945. However, the communists soon seized power and the country was ruled by communists who had to obey the Soviet Union. The president Alexander Dubček, gradually tried to make reforms. This period of time is called the "Prague Spring". In 1968 the Soviet Union sent tanks into Prague to Wenceslas Square to restore their power.

Democracy gradually came to Prague in 1989 when the Velvet Revolution took place. In 1993 the Czech Republic and Slovakia split into two countries. Today both these countries are part of the European Union.

Cultural sights

File:Prag rathausturm
The Astronomical Clock

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1990 Prague has become one of Europe's most popular tourist places. It has buildings dating from the 13th century to the present day. The castle looks very important on the hillside. Charles Bridge is now closed to traffic so that pedestrians can walk across the bridge and buy souvenirs from the stalls. There are many museums, palaces and theatres. Tourists often go to the Old Town Square in the centre of Prague. There are lots of buildings there from different periods of history. The statue of Jan Hus stands high above the square. There is a famous Astronomical Clock on the wall of the Old Town Hall. There are museums dedicated to famous people including Smetana, Dvořák and Franz Kafka. The Estates Theatre is one of Europe’s oldest theaters. It was built in the 1780s and Mozart conducted the first performance of his opera Don Giovanni there.

Prague is on the list of World Heritage Sites.

File:Prag ginger u fred
Milunić and Gehry's Dancing House

Economics

Prague has been important in the economy of what is now the Czech Republic since the region developed industry in the 19th century. Textiles and machinery are made and exported to many countries. Food, electronics and chemicals are produced. Nearly half the people who work are women.

Prague is becoming a city where many international companies have their headquarters. Since the late 1990s, Prague has become a popular filming location for international productions and Hollywood motion pictures.

Colleges and universities

The city contains several universities and colleges including the oldest university in Central and Eastern Europe: the Charles University, founded in 1348.

Transport

[[File:|thumb|right|250px|The "nostalgic tram" no. 91 runs through the city center]] Prague has three metro lines, several tram lines, and buses that connect to the suburbs. There is also a funicular rail link to the top of the Petřín Hill and a chairlift at Prague Zoo. All these services have a common ticketing system.

Trains from Prague connect to major cities in neighbouring countries.

There is a modern airport, Ruzyně International Airport, used by many airlines including Czech Airlines.

Sport

Prague has many parks and gardens, including a park for culture, sports and entertainments which is named after Julius Fučík, a resistance leader of World War II. It has three stadiums, the largest of which, Spartakiádní stadion, holds 250,000 people.

Other websites

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