The city on the Vltava, also known as the city of 100 towers or the Golden City, is considered one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe. Since 1992 the entire historical old town has been declared a World Heritage Site. The region has been densely populated since prehistoric times. In the 6th century the Slavs settled there first. German and Jewish merchants made the city one of the main trading centers of Central Europe in the 10th century. The real heyday of Prague began in the 14th century with Charles IV. who became King of Bohemia in 1346. The Charles Bridge and Charles University, which is the oldest university north of the Alps, bear his name. Until World War II the city was inhabited by Czechs, Germans and Jews. Especially for the German culture the city has contributed substantially, as evidenced in names such as Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka or Rainer Maria Rilke.
Germany, Czech Republic & Austria: Gems of Central Europe
From the spiritual power of the Romanesque
At Jiřské náměstí, the George Square, stands one of the most important Romanesque buildings in the world: the second oldest church in Prague, founded around the year 920. Two white towers, reaching a height of 41 metres, dominate the basilica. The wider tower on the south side is called Adam, the narrower, northern tower Eve. It's crooked and tilts 40 centimeters. Inside, the Romanesque choir is impressive. On the gallery of the basilica you can see remains of the painted ceiling “Heavenly Jerusalem” from around 1200. The neighboring Benedictine monastery was founded in 973.
Magical violin play in the prison tower
The tower was part of a late Gothic fortification from the 15th century and served as a prison until the 18th century. It is named after the first prisoner, the knight Dalibor of Kozojedy. Because he is said to have led a peasant revolt, he was imprisoned here until his execution in 1498. Apparently he was allowed to keep his violin because he played so beautifully that he enchanted listeners every day who brought him food. Four centuries later, the most famous Czech romantic composer, Bedřich Smetana, has set a musical monument to him with his opera Dalibor.
The city as a literary work of art
Franz Kafka was born on 3 July 1883 in Prague and died on 3 June 1924 in the Hoffmann Sanatorium in Kierling, Austria. Opened in 2005, the museum explores the question of how Prague appears in its work and is transformed into a Kafkaesque city. The exhibition follows this metamorphosis in two parts: the existential space and the imaginary topography.
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Artists, Bohemians and Students in the "New World
The artists' quarter near the Loreto Sanctuary dates from the 16th century and was originally the quarter for the castle servants. Over the centuries the “New World” crumbled more and more and became the poor quarter of Prague. In the 1920s, the district even had to be evacuated once because of the danger of epidemics. But then Bohemians and students started to settle there. After the fall of communism, most houses were sold and renovated. Simple cottages and magnificent town houses stand side by side and are by far not as crowded as the Golden Lane.
Knight tournaments and a momentous fall from a window.
At 62 metres long, 16 metres wide and 13 metres high, the Hall of Homage of the Bohemian Kings in Prague Castle is one of the largest rooms ever created during the Renaissance. Originally, banquets and tournaments were held here, with the knights riding in on horseback over the equestrian stairs. In 1618 the hall was once the focus of world history, or more precisely: the large window. The governor of Emperor Ferdinand II was thrown out of it. The Defenestration of Prague marks the beginning of the Protestant revolt against the Habsburgs, which marks the beginning of the Thirty Years' War.