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HISTORY OF PRAGUE

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History of Prague

Prague was one of the most beautiful European cities since the middle Ages and has had many nicknames as "City of 100 towers", "Heart of the Europe", "Golden Prague". It was a crossroad, where many merchant, artists and scientists met. First mentions about initial inhabitants of Vltava valley goes to very deep history, when Celtic tribes come in 500 BC. First Slavonic tribe had arrived to Bohemia in about 500 AD. Prince Borivoj established the Prague Castle; in 10thcentury fortress Vysehrad was built on the rock upon the Right Bank of the river Vltava. Both fortresses have become very important places of Czech rulers. Prince Wenceslas, which was one of them, was in 935 murdered, later was canonised and then become Bohemian saint patron.

Prague visited many prominent personalities for centuries. Some of them were W.A.Mozart, L. van Beethoven, P.I. ajkovskij, O.Kokoschka, the British Queen Elisabeth II, Pope John Paul II and many others. Writers Jan Neruda, Jaroslav Hasek Jaroslav, Seifert Franz Kafka got inspired by Prague, as their native town, mentioned it in their work.

Prague is a complex of historical monuments and shows all artistic styles. The historical centre of Prague is situated on both banks of the river Vltava. Historical centre consists from the 6 quarters, which once were independent cities and were put together in 18th century. Those are Old Town, Jewish Quarter - Josefov (there is a well preserved part of Old Jewish Town, today part of Old Town), New Town, Little Quarter, Hradcany and Vysehrad. There are cumulated many museums, galleries, and historical buildings. Prague, Main City of the Czech Republic is the most significant city historical reservation. Since 1992 is Prague historical centre put to the list of world culture and nature heritage register UNESCO.

Prague Castle

Prince Borivoj founded Slavonic Fortress Prague - predecessor of today Prague Castle, in 9th century. In the 12th century the Prague castle was re-built to stone Romanesque castle, which contained Church of Our Lady, Episcopal building with chapel of Saint Moritz, rotunda of Saint Vitus, Saint George's Basilica with monastery and Royal palace. In the 13th century prince Premysl Otakar II rebuilt castle in the style of early Gothic. During the reign of Charles IV and Wenceslas IV. Castle was reached by full bloom. There was built Saint Vitus Cathedral, Royal palace, and the Chapel of all Saints in the style of top form Gothic. In 1421 Hussite captured the Prague Castle and its condition got worst as it was not used. After 1500 was finished the structure of Vladislav Hall, Ludvik wing, oratorio of Saint Vitus Cathedral. After catastrophic fire in 1451 Saint Vitus cathedral was repaired again and broadens by Renaissance style as well as the Chapel of all Saints and Royal Palace. During epoch of Rudolph II Prague become a centre of science and artists as well as the place of known Rudolph collection. In 1620, after defeat of the Czech walk's rebellion and after start of the Thirty year war Habsburg moved their permanent seats to Wienna. As late as 1918, after emergence of the independent Czech-Slovak Republic Prague Castle has become the residence of the government again. Rebuilt and repairs of Prague Castle went continuously on. In 1929 was finished building of Saint Vitus Cathedral and in 1958 Prague Castle was listed as National cultural monument.

Charles IV and his Golden Age

During the epoch of the Czech king and emperor Charles IV (1346 - 1378) Prague had flourished. It is said, that Charles IV was very intelligent and educated, therefore lead the Czech land to the top of economic and cultural bloom. Prague was promoted to emperor residence, and political centre of Europe. In the start of his reign, in 1348, founded High school - The Charles university, where came youth of all Europe. He also founded first Student College - Carolinum (1366). Charles IV established the New Town. He appointed Matyas from Arras to conduct the built of cathedral of Saint Vitus in the style of top Gothic, which was finished by Petr Parler. Petr Parler conduct other magnifies buildings such as are Bridge Tower, Tyn church, church of All Saints. Charles was initiator of building of the Charles Bridge, which replaced Judith bridges (swept away by the flood) The Charles Bridge measures 520 meters, had no sculptures in the time of its building and is work of builder Petr Parler.
Charles IV founded castle Carlstejn, which is near Prague upon river Berounka and which preserved Crown Jewell and relics collection. Carlstejn castle is also often-visited place.

Hussite

Cleric Jan Hus was one of the first preachers, who show the contradiction, of the Church, who lived other way than they preached. That was the reason why arose Hussite wars. Jan Zizka led Hussite into the war for the Right and Faith and used all his skills and power. He never lost a battle and had become a symbol of indomitable of the Czech nation. Hussite used uncommon strategy - wagons laid as barriers. Their other guns were made of simply farming tools. Most of Hussites were people from the country - farmers and middle nobility. Only few of them could use real guns such as sword and pikes are. Therefore they adapted common tools, they knew, for war. Hussite used shotguns, but the main Hussite gun was their Faith. Contradiction between Hussite was the reasons of non-unity and in 1343 Hussites lost in battle at Lipany. After than George of Podebrady become next Czech king.

Rudolph II

Czech king and Emperor Rudolph II was the 45th ruler in the history of Czech land. He moved his emperor residence from Wienna to Prague in 1583 and Prague had become the centre of the imperial politics, and the centre of the culture and science life. Rudolph II himself was very educated and intelligent and he enjoyed science and arts. During his epoch, the Renaissance reached Prague so flourished especially art of painting, astronomy, astrology and alchemists. Names such as Tycho de Brahe, Kepler, Hjek, Hans von Aachen, Giuseppe Arcimbloldo were guests of the emperor court of Rudolph II. In that time Rudolph II founded his famous collection of Arts. There were created buildings and monuments: Belvedere (called The Royal Summer Palace of Queen Anne as well). There are famous Singing Fountain-drops of water make music, in the garden. The Royal Garden - the garden was built in 1534 and embellished during the time of Rudolf II and Ball Hall is its part.
Golden Lane - Little houses from the 16th century, behind the St. George's Basilica, where used to live emperor's alchemists. Rabbi Jehuda Lw ben Becael was said that invented an artificial man - called Golem, who is still hidden on the field on the Old - New Synagogue, by the legend. Rudolph was more interested in science and arts then in politics so it led to revolts and his brother Matthias took the reign. Rudolph II issued Majestat in 1609 - free faith of Czech non-Catholic walks. Rudolph II is buried in a tomb in the St. Vitus Cathedral.

The Baroque in Prague

Czech walks rebellion still went on so in 1619 Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II was deposed and his place took Czech King Fredrick. In 1620 rebels paid for their defiance and at the battle on the White Mountain. Started the Thirty year's war, the Czech Nation was Germanised and persecuted non-Catholics. The Jesuits restored lost Catholic faith back. They renovated some churches in nice Baroque style and arose other Baroque buildings: The Library in the Strahov Monastery contains an early Baroque Theological Hall, Valdstejn Palace, and Church of St. Nicolas. Cernin Palace - this early Baroque palace, now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Loretta - the tower contains 27 Loretta bells, which play the Song of Our Lady. 30 sculptures made by Matthias Braun and F.M.Brokof were added to the Charles Bridge.

The National Revival

The Austrian hegemony in the Czech was too long, with the result - general decline of the Czech culture and language. In the last quarter of 18th century, during the reign of Maria Teresa, Czech was allowed to re-discover history, culture and language. Maria Teresa started a period of reforms so Czech language become the official one and Czech revivals restored old traditions and culture. In 1784 independent town joined to one unit (The Hradcany, The Lesser Town, The Old Town, and The New Town). Buildings for public were founded such as The National theatre, the National Museum, Rudolpinum. Some famous revivals were J.K.Tyl, (whose song has become the Czech state hymn)F.Palacky (historian), J.Neruda(writer), B.Nemcova, K.Svetla. The National revival was reflected in all areas of life. In the beginning of 20th century the art Nouveau has arrived to Prague, which reflected not only in arts of painting but in architecture. Alfons Mucha is the main representative of the Art of Nouveau. The flourish of the Czech national pride continued till the Czech independence in 1918.

Prague 1918-1989

  • After the independence and foundation of the Czechoslovac Republic, Dr. Tomas Garrique Masaryk becomes the first Czech President.
  • 1920 The National Assembly carried the first Constitution
  • 1938 Mnichov agreement - Czech had to renounce Soudets
  • 1939 Started World War II, Prague - capital of Nazi Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia
  • 1945 liberation by the American and Soviet army, Dr. Edvard Benes - president
  • 1948 the February putsch seizure power of KSC
  • 1960 foundation of the Czechoslovak socialistic republic
  • 1968 Prague Spring - an attempt to reform socialism, intervention of 5 states of the Warsaw Pact
  • 1989 Velvet revolution, formation of the government of national tolerance, Vaclav Havel elected the president

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