Prague is the Czech Republic’s largest city. Founded almost 1200 years ago, Prague has served as the country’s political, cultural and economic centre for centuries. In its Golden Age, Prague was one of the wealthiest and most important cities in Europe and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
Spread out along the Vltava River, Prague is widely recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Its spectacular historic architecture encompasses various styles, and thankfully the city suffered relatively little damage during World War II. The city’s old quarter, Staré Město, is a delightful place to walk through, with its beautiful town square, its well-preserved Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque churches and mansions, and its elegant bridges. Overhead are gold-tipped towers and towering cathedral spires reflected in the clear, mirror-like surface of the Vltava River.
One of the most important sites in Prague is Prague Castle. It is the world’s largest ancient castle, and is a complex of palaces, churches, halls, museums and towers. Below the Castle are beautiful formal, terraced gardens and a gorgeous view of the red roofs of Prague’s houses.
Another famous site is 650-year-old Charles Bridge, the oldest of the city’s 15 bridges. Not far from the bridge is the Royal Way, the famous coronation route of the Czech Kings. It connects the Old Town with Prague Castle.
Other sites of interest include the small green islets in the Vltava River; Prague Orloj, the city’s astronomical clock in the town square of Staré Město; busy Wenceslas Square in Nové Město (New Town); Petřínská rozhledna, an observation tower on Petřín Hill that has been compared to the Eiffel Tower; and Josefov, the city’s old Jewish quarter with its vaulted, 13th century Old-New Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
But don’t let all this centuries-old beauty fool you; Prague is also a modern city, a bustling metropolis of gleaming skyscrapers, posh hotels, large shopping centres and trendy bars. The city is divided into 21 administrative districts.