The history of Prague begins over a thousand years ago, with the foundation of the city in the 9th century. At that time, Prague was a small fortress on the banks of the Vltava River, which became an important commercial and cultural centre in the region.
During the Middle Ages, Prague became an important political and cultural centre in Central Europe. In 1344, Charles University was founded in Prague, one of the oldest universities in Europe.
In the 14th century, Prague became the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and underwent a period of great cultural and architectural development. The city was influenced by the artistic and religious movement known as the Protestant Reformation, which emphasised freedom of thought and religious equality. The city became a centre of free thought, with great personalities such as Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.
During the 17th century, the city was hit by the Thirty Years' War, a religious conflict that devastated much of Europe. Prague was occupied by Swedish forces in 1648 and suffered significant damage. However, the city recovered quickly and experienced a period of great prosperity during the 18th century.
During this period, the city underwent a major urban reform that modernised much of its infrastructure and architecture. Prague Castle was rebuilt and became one of the largest castle complexes in the world, covering more than 70,000 square metres.
During the Second World War, Prague was occupied by Nazi German forces in 1939. Many historic buildings were damaged or destroyed during the occupation, including the Old-New Synagogue, which was burned down by the Nazis in 1941. After World War II, Prague became part of the communist bloc led by the Soviet Union, which led to a period of restrictions and persecution of political and cultural dissidents.
In 1989, the so-called Velvet Revolution brought democracy to the Czech Republic and marked the end of Soviet rule. Since then, Prague has become a major tourist centre, attracting millions of visitors every year with its historic architecture, vibrant culture and rich history. The city is also known for its cultural events and for being an important financial and business centre in Central Europe.
10 Places to visit in Prague
1. Old Town Square
This square is one of the main sights of Prague and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Surrounded by historic buildings, including Prague City Hall with its famous astronomical clock, Old Town Square is a lively and vibrant place filled with tourists and locals. The square is also home to several churches, such as the Church of Our Lady of Týn and the Church of St. Nicholas, as well as numerous restaurants and cafes.
2. Charles Bridge (Karlův most)
The Charles Bridge is one of the oldest and most beautiful bridges in Prague, dating back to the 14th century. The bridge is known for its statues of saints and access to the watchtowers that offer panoramic views of the city. The bridge is also a popular place for street performers and musicians, as well as being a meeting place for couples in love.
3. Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)
Prague Castle is the largest old castle in the world, covering over 70,000 square metres, which houses many attractions, including St. Vitus Cathedral and the Royal Palace. The castle is a historical landmark of Prague and one of the city's main tourist attractions. The castle complex consists of several buildings, squares and gardens, offering panoramic views of the city.
4. Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
The Jewish Quarter of Prague dates back to the 13th century and was the former Jewish ghetto of Prague. The neighbourhood houses several synagogues, such as the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest in Europe, and the Jewish cemetery, where many Jews were buried in overlapping layers. The neighbourhood is also home to the Jewish Museum, which tells the story of Jews in the Czech Republic.
5. St. Vitus Cathedral
(Katedrála svatého Víta)
St. Vitus Cathedral is the most important Gothic cathedral in the Czech Republic and is part of the Prague Castle complex. The cathedral is known for its beautiful stained glass windows and the tomb of St. Wenceslas. The interior of the cathedral is richly decorated with paintings, statues and frescoes.
6. Gunpowder Tower (Prašná brána)
The Gunpowder Tower is Prague's best preserved medieval defence tower, dating back to the 15th century. The tower was one of the original thirteen entrances to the city and houses a museum that tells the story of the tower and other Prague fortifications.
7. National Theatre (Národní divadlo)
he National Theatre is one of the most important cultural symbols of the Czech Republic and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe. The building was opened in 1881 and is known for its beautiful neo-Renaissance facade and magnificent interior with frescoes and gold decorations.
8. Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is one of Prague's main squares and one of the city's main shopping and entertainment venues. The square is surrounded by historic buildings, such as the National Museum, and is a venue for many political demonstrations and cultural events.
9. Malá Strana Quarter
The Malá Strana Quarter is a historic district of Prague, located at the foot of Prague Castle. The neighborhood is known for its cobblestone streets, baroque buildings and churches, such as the Church of St. Nicholas. The neighbourhood is also home to the famous U Fleků Restaurant, which is Prague's oldest brewery.
10. Strahov Monastery
The Strahov Monastery is a Benedictine monastery located on top of a hill overlooking the city of Prague. The monastery is known for its baroque library, which houses over 200,000 books, including many rare and ancient manuscripts. The monastery also houses an art gallery and a brewery, where visitors can sample local beers.
How to get There?
Prague International Airport (PRG) is located about 17 km west of Prague city centre. Depending on the means of transport used, the travel time may vary.
Bus: Bus is one of the cheapest options to reach the centre of Prague. Lines 119, 100 and 191 depart from the airport to different parts of the city. Line 119 takes passengers to Nádraží Veleslavín metro station (line A), while lines 100 and 191 take passengers to Zličín metro station (line B). The ticket can be purchased from vending machines at the airport or directly with the bus driver.
Train: The train is another public transport option to reach the centre of Prague. The AE Airport Express line connects the airport with Prague train station (Praha Hlavní nádraží) and Náměstí Republiky metro station (line B). Tickets can be bought from automatic machines at the airport or online.
Metro: The metro is a quick and efficient way to reach the centre of Prague. The airport metro station is located on line A (green) and is called Nádraží Veleslavín. Line A takes passengers to the Můstek metro station, which is close to Wenceslas Square. The ticket can be bought from vending machines at the airport or metro stations.
Taxi: Taxis are available at Prague airport, but it is important to be careful not to fall for scams. It is recommended to use only official airport taxis, which have fixed and transparent fares. Official airport taxis are located in the arrivals area of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.