Prague

Short history

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, has a history dating back over a thousand years. The city was founded in the late 9th century and quickly became an important political, cultural, and economic center in Central Europe. Prague was the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors, and later the capital of Czechoslovakia.

The city’s architecture reflects its varied past, with Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau buildings standing side by side.

One of the most significant events in Prague’s history was the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which peacefully ended decades of communist rule in Czechoslovakia. This event marked the beginning of a new era of democracy and freedom for the city and its people. 

Geography – location, size, climate

Situated on the banks of the Vltava River, Prague covers an area of approximately 192 square miles. 

Prague experiences a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters. The average summer temperature hovers around 75°F, while winter temperatures can drop to around 32°F. Spring and fall are mild, making them popular times to visit the city.

Due to its location in a valley, Prague is prone to foggy conditions, especially in the cooler months. The city also experiences a fair amount of precipitation throughout the year, with snowfall common in the winter months.

Population – ethnicity, language, religion

The majority of the population in Prague is of Czech ethnicity, making up around 90% of the total population. However, there are also significant minority groups such as Slovaks, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, and others.

The official language spoken in Prague is Czech, which is also the official language of the Czech Republic. In addition to Czech, many residents in Prague also speak English, especially in tourist areas and among the younger population. German is also commonly spoken due to historical ties with German-speaking countries.

In terms of religion, the majority of the population in Prague identifies as non-religious or atheist. However, there is a significant minority of the population that adheres to Christianity, with Roman Catholicism being the most prevalent denomination. Other religious minorities in Prague include Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam.

Main sights and landmarks

One of the most iconic landmarks in Prague is the Prague Castle, a sprawling complex that includes the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace. Another popular sight is the Charles Bridge, a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and is lined with Baroque statues. The Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square is also an attraction, known for its design and hourly show. There is also the Jewish Quarter, home to several synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery. For a panoramic view of the city, tourists can climb to the top of Petřín Hill or visit the Prague National Museum. 

Food

Prague is known for its delicious and hearty cuisine, with a mix of traditional Czech dishes and international influences. Must-try dish is goulash, a rich and flavorful stew made with beef, onions, and paprika. Another popular dish is svíčková, which consists of marinated beef sirloin served with a creamy vegetable sauce and bread dumplings.

Trdelník is a sweet pastry made from rolled dough that is grilled and topped with sugar and nuts. Other popular desserts include koláče, fruit-filled pastries, and palacinky, thin pancakes filled with jam or Nutella.

Visitors to Prague should also make time to visit the city’s food markets, such as Naplavka Farmers Market, where they can sample local produce, cheeses, and pastries. Additionally, they should try the famous Czech beer, such as Pilsner Urquell or Budweiser Budvar, which are best enjoyed in one of Prague’s many beer gardens.

Souvenirs

Popular item is Bohemian crystal, known for its high quality and craftsmanship. You can find beautiful crystal glassware, vases, and jewelry in many shops throughout the city.

Another iconic souvenir from Prague is the traditional Czech marionette. These handcrafted puppets come in all shapes and sizes, from classic fairy tale characters to famous historical figures. They make for a fun and quirky keepsake.

Foodies will enjoy bringing back some local specialties such as Bohemian chocolates, Czech beer, or traditional herbal liqueurs like Becherovka. 

Fun facts

  1. Prague is home to one of the largest ancient castle in the world, the Prague Castle. This impressive complex dates back to the 9th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  2. The iconic Charles Bridge, a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River, is adorned with 30 statues of saints. Legend has it that the bridge is protected by hidden treasure.
  3. The Astronomical Clock in Prague’s Old Town Square is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Every hour, crowds gather to watch the clock’s intricate moving parts.
  4. Prague is often referred to as the “City of a Hundred Spires” due to its abundance of stunning Gothic and Baroque architecture.