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Prague

Updated on May 29, 2013
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Prague (Praha) is  the capital of the CzechRepublic.  Its metropolitan area has a population of about 2 million. Prague is also called the “city of a hundred spires”, as the city has many towers. The VlatvaRiver flows through it.

Between 600 and 900 A.D., small settlements were established on the territory of the present day Prague. In 900 A.D. the city became the capital of the Přemyslid Dynasty (they reigned in present day CzechRepublic (called Bohemia) from the 9th  to the 13th century, and in Poland  int he 13th century).  From 1306 to 1437 the Luxembourg dynasty took over reign (with Jan Luxembourg being the first king in Bohemia from the dynasty). In 1448 Prague had a new conqueror and king in the person of a Hussite king, George of Podiebrad (he became king only ten years later, in 1958, until then he was the administrator of the city). In the 13th century two castles were built and settlements near them formed the first part of the city. In the 14th century the population expanded due to it's strategic location and trade routes crossing through it. Charles IV was responsible for the development of Prague. German and Italian merchants ruled it in the 15th century. Gradually, the German culture and language became dominate. In 1618, the thirty years war reached the city and, as its name implies, lasted until 1948. During the vast building projects in the city, which was actually still 4 separate cities, Prague, developed its baroque style architecture and look. In 1784, however, the 4 separate cities unified by a decree of the ruling Prussian Emperor, to create the city of Prague. Prague was fairly small until the 19th century. At the 1840's railroads and industrialization caused a great expansion. A long railroad tunnel was built to preserve the city's architecture. In the 1840's industrial expansion was by opening of coal mines and iron works. In 1918 Czech Rep. gained its independence and Prague became the capital. The Czech architects followed some of the most advanced ideas of Western European countries. In 1992, the downtown area of Prague was proclaimed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

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