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Prague

Prague (Czech: Praha) is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries.

 

Understand

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. Týn Church in Old Town SquareAlmost 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 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.

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.

Climate

The weather conditions in Prague correspond to the overview mentioned in the previous paragraphs. But the fundamental is that it has temperate climate with variations throughout the year.

In the winter Prague has definitely its own magic. The snow may cover the surface but it sooner or later melts so it doesn't usually last till too long. However, the weather is of course pretty unpredictable so it may as well burst into snow storm but it is not very common.

Spring season - is maybe one of the best times to come for a visit, especially in the month of May. All the nature wakes up after months of hibernation. The cherish atmosphere when everything comes back to their lives is all around. Summer months - are a very popular touristic season and no wonder why. The weather is warm and sunny but sometimes the heat waves are overwhelming so the people with respiratory problems may have some trouble. The rain showers come up more often than any other time.

Colourful and chilly - these two characteristics define the fall/autumn season. Getting dressed warmer is a must because the wind and overcast sky may get in your way. Nevertheless there are also these beautiful sunshine days that literally call you out for a walk.

Chaty

Many Prague residents 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. The east bank of the Vltava riverThese cottages, called chata (plural form chaty, pronunciation ofch as in Bach), 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 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.

Use-It

Also has a physical location at Trojanova 3. Stop by and pick up a free map chock-full of great tourist information! The maps are made by young locals, they are non-conventional and non-commercial, they are made for young travellers and for people who want to step out of the crowd and see Prague from a different point of view. In the infocentre at Trojanova 3 you can also find coffee and tea, internet, good mood, maps of other cities.

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.

Buildings in big cities in Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red. The blue ones are the orientation numbers - it is the ordinal number of the building on its street. Historicaly these numbers always started from the end of the street which is closer to a river. As is normal in Europe, odd numbers belong on one side of the street and even numbers on the other. This allows you to find quickly the house you are looking for. The red numbers are related to the house register of the entire quarter (for example, Staré Město), and thus usually correspond to the order the buildings in that district were constructed. Most people do not remember them; if somebody says e.g. the house is in Dlouha str. number 8, they will usually mean the blue number. Red numbers usually have 3 or more digits.

 

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