Founded in the later 9th century and home to over 1.2 million people, Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. Regarded by many as one of Europe’s most charming and beautiful cities, it is a popular travel destination in Central Europe and draws millions of tourists every year.
Visitors will find this magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes a very walkable city. One can easily stroll from Wenceslas Square to Old Town Square, or from Old Town to Charles Bridge to the Castle District. However keep in mind that almost all of the streets are cobblestoned and may prove difficult to negotiate for the disabled or elderly travelers.
The city is situated by the Vltava River, which at 270 miles long is the longest river in the Czech Republic. Almost undamaged by the bombings of WWII, its medieval center, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in1992, remains pretty much intact with its walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires which stand in the shadow of Prague’s 9th century Hradcani Castle.
The historic center was constructed mostly between the 11th and 18th centuries and speak of the great architectural and cultural influence enjoyed by Prague since the Middle Ages. It is comprised of many magnificent monuments, such as Hradcani Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and numerous churches and palaces.
Hradcani Castle is said to be the biggest castle in the world at about 1870 ft. in length and an average of about 426 ft. wide. Its history stretches back to the 9th century. St Vitus Cathedral is located within the castle complex.
St Vitus Cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country. It contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors and is currently under the ownership of the Czech government.
The Charles Bridge was completed in the beginning of the 15th century. It was the only means of crossing the Vltava River until 1841 and the most important connection between Hradcani Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
Aside from its historic beauty, Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, and fine dining opportunities. It not only attracts tourists from around the world but it has been the host city for many trade fairs.
Photo Credits. A. Hijikata