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PRAGUE

"... I see a large city, whose fame touches the stars... There in the woods by the Vltava River you will find a person who is hewing the threshold (práh) of his home and in accordance with this, you will name the city Praha (Prague)..."

Vyšehrad, photo by: Libor Sváček, archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.

In a similar manner, the legends of the prophetic, passionate mythical princess Libuše depict how she founded and named our capital city. All Czechs know this tale thanks to Kosmas, who at the beginning of the 12th century wrote an account of it in his chronicle. But only the opera by Bedřich Smetana spread the tale into public awareness. Libuše was said to have made her prophecy from Vyšehrad, the oldest mythical seat of the then princedom. As the wife of the mythic Přemysl Oráč, she became the founder of the Premyslian dynasty, which then ruled the Czech lands for more than five hundred years. In spite of Kosmas and Bedřich Smetana, everything probably happened somewhat differently. However, the history of the Czech state and the history of Prague are indivisible from each other.


"PRAGA CAPUT REI PUBLICAE"

Autumn atmosphere with the Vltava and Prague bridges, photo by: Libor Sváček, archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, lies along the Vltava River, in the middle of the Czech basin. Today, around 1.2 million people live in Prague, which is about 12% of the population of our country. Its populousness and area (about 500 km2) make it the largest city in the Czech Republic. Due to the richness and beauty of its monuments, the historical heart of Prague was placed on UNESCO’s list of protected monuments in 1992. Deservedly, it is said that Prague is the most beautiful capital city in Europe. Apologies to Paris and Rome.


"PRAGA MATER URBIUM"

Cathedrals of St. František and Salvátor, photo by: Libor Sváček, archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.

Prague is an astonishing organism. It is not unusual to find that the Baroque façade of a building hides Gothic masonry and Romanesque basements. Old Prague is a medieval city with a Baroque overcoat, adorned with modern art like jewellery. Adjoining its historical heart (Prague Castle, Hradčany, Lesser Town, Old Town, and Vyšehrad) is the inner town, whose quarters grew from old outskirts, and from the 18th and particularly the 19th centuries they grew together with Prague towns (e.g. Karlín, Smíchov, Holešovice, Vinohrady, Vršovice, Žižkov). And now the outer town is connected to them today, full of housing developments, shopping centres, family villas, forests and gardens, but also industrial units (e.g. Jižní Město, Jihozápadní Město, Bohnice, Prosek).


Prague is neither an open-air tourist museum, nor a picturesque backdrop, but a beautiful place to live where history diffuses with the present and nature with the bustle of the city. Its majestic and captivating beauty is a treasure for mankind as a whole, not only on account of its superb individual works but also thanks to its integrity and harmony of contrast which link the traces of the past with the practical requirements of the present.