Prague's HistoryPosted on 09/06/2018
The oldest part of Prague is situated on the Castle hill, where the residence of the ruler of Bohemia was founded in the 9th century. Not only was the Castle located strategically in the heart of the country; the ford across the river Vltava under the Castle hill guaranteed income from lively trade activity. Prosperous neighborhoods grew very soon on both sides of the river. The Premyslid dynasty ruled the country until the 14th century. Famous descendant of this royal family, together with the Good King Wenceslas, was Charles IV, Czech king and Holy Roman emperor, who made Prague the third biggest European city in the 14th century.
In the 15th century, as a first county in Europe, Czech Kingdom became predominantly protestant under the influence of the local preacher Jan Hus. Prague was the center of this movement and witnessed many battles, as the authorities of the Catholic Church tried to suppress it.
The following 400 years under the Habsburg royal family brought many significant changes; Prague lost its status as a capital, since the Czech kingdom was in the huge Austrian empire with it's capital in Vienna. The preferred religion became Catholic instead of Protestant, and after 1620 the numerous wealthy and educated non-Catholic elite was forced to emigrate from the country.
The situation changed after the First World War, when Austria lost and as a result many nations declared independence. Among them the Czechs and Slovaks, who took advantage of the similar language and common values and created a state that existed for 74 years (1918-1992); Czechoslovakia.. WWII brought suffering and approximately 70% of the Czech Jews became victims of the Holocaust.
The architectonical heritage, however, was almost untouched. Despite the lack of care during the Communism regime, which ended in autumn 1989, today the historical buildings in Prague are restored, well-kept and open to the public. The admission to the European Union in 2004 had other positive effects for the city and it's in habitants as well as for the international visitor. Today, Prague is a safe and modern city that offers it's beauties and rich cultural life day and night.
Prague is a nice beginning or ending stop for many of the European River Cruises, who offer the city in conjunction with the River Cruise itineraries.