Angličtina - Prague (2006)
Autor: Jana Strnadová
Prague is a capital of Czech Republic. It is a seat of the President, the Parliament, the government and the cultural and economic centre of the country. It lies in the heart of Europe on the river Vltava. It spreads on the both banks of the river Vltava. Prague is divided into 10 administrative districts and it has about 1, 2 million inhabitants.
A walk in Prague it is the same as a long journey thought different historical and architectures epochs. You can see it everywhere.
Legend – A legend connects the foundation of Prague with Princess Libuše of the Přemyslid dynasty, who prophesied (profisaided – předpovědět, prorokovat) the future glory of Prague “would touch the stars”.
History - In the 9th century prince Bořivoj founded a castle in the Vltava valley and it became the seat of the Přemyslid dynasty. In the 10th century was founded Vyšehrad castle. It is the oldest castle in Prague. Vyšehrad became the seat of Czech rulers and Prague became the centre of the economic life during the 11th century.
In the 14 century lived in Prague the most famous emperor of Czech Monarchy Charles IV. Prague became the imperial residence of Charles IV and during his reign it flourished and grew. He established there an Archbishopric in 1344, founded Charles University (1348) and New Town cattle market (Charles square). He also promoted the construction of Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral.
In the 15th century Prague was the centre of the Hussite movement, which was one of the consequences of execution of John Huss.
In 16th century Prague regained its cosmopolitan character when it became the seat of Rudolph II., who invited artists and scientists there. On 8th November 1620 the Czechs rose up against the Hapsburgs and they were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain. A few month later 27 members of the movement were executed at the Old Town Square.
At the end of the 18th century Prague became the centre of Czech cultural life when Czech scholars and writers began the process of National Revival.
In 1918 Prague was the capital of the newly independent Czechoslovakia. In 1939 it was occupied by German troops and in 1942 strongly persecuted after the assassination of the nazy deputy protector Heydrich. After the Prague Uprising against the fascist (fašist) the town was liberated by the Russians on 9th May 1945. The August occupation of Prague in 1968 stopped the democratic reforms in the country and began the process of normalization. After 40 years of totalitarian depression on the 17th November 1989, the Velvet Revolution began democratic changes in our society. Huge demonstrations started on Národní Street. The whole process continued with the splitting of former federal Czechoslovakia into two independent states on 1st January 1993, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.
Places of interest – Royal Route
Prague castle is the dominant of the city and is a part of Hradčany. In the past it was the residence of the Czech kings and since 1918 it has become the residence of our presidents. The complex of the Prague castle includes three courtyards and over 700 rooms. The most famous are the gothic Vladislav Hall, the Spanish Hall and the Rudolf Gallery. In the Vladislav Hall the election of President takes place and the other Halls serve for ceremonial and cultural purposes.
The most impressive building in the complex is the St. Vitus Cathedral completed in 1929 and founded by Charles IV. on the occasion of establishment of the Archbishopric. The main constructors were Matthias of Arras and Peter Parléř. The most admired parts are St. Wenceslas Chapel decorated by semi-precious stones, coronation chamber with the coronation jewels and the Royal Crypt with sarcophaguses of Czech kings and queens.
Other interesting places at the Prague castle are the Basilica of St. George, which is built in Romanesque style, and Schwarzenberg, Sternberg and Černín Palaces.
Situated near the Prague castle, there is Golden lane. This street is made up of tiny houses with coloured facades. Old legends say that several centuries ago (during the reign of Rudolf II.) royal alchemists lived and worked there and they tried to make gold. Even though they never succeeded, it gave Golden Lane its name. It has an own magical atmosphere. Later, Franz Kafka lived there, in number 22. Today some of the houses were changed to shops.
When you go along the Neruda Street, where the famous Czech poet and writer live in the house “U Dvou Slunců”, you came to Lesser Town Square. It s one of the oldest parts of the city. The masterpiece of Baroque architecture is St. Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town Square.
The Bridge Street leads to Charles Bridge, the second oldest one in Czech Republic (Písek has the first oldest bridge). On the both ends of this bridge there are bridge-towers, each one is different. This bridge was built by Charles IV, when the Judita s bridge was torn down by the flood. This bridge is decorated with 30 statues in Baroque style made by Jan Brokof and Matyáš Brown. It is said that the statue of John Nepomuk make your dreams come true. There is a lot of artists and musicians, stalls with pictures of Prague and stalls with jewellery.
Then we go throw Charles Street to Old Town Square, the oldest square in Prague, where we can find the house At the Stone Bell. In this house the novel The tour of Mr. Brouček to 15th century took place and today s there is placed a part of National gallery. In the centre of Old Town square, there is also monument of John Huss. The dominant of the Square is the Týn church, where Tycho de Brahe is buried. Old Town Square is the place where 27 Czech noblemen were executed. The place, which is most in demand by tourists, is the astronomical clock, which strikes every 60 minutes. It s controlled by a very complicated mechanism built in the middle Ages. Thanks to it, twelve apostles going around beyond two little windows every hour. From the square leads Celetná Street. We are on the end of the Royal route, opposite of us, there is Powder gate and Municipal house.
The heart of the New Town is Wenceslas Square, which is the most important square in Prague, but it isn’t the biggest – it’s Charles Sqaure. At the top of the square there is a bronze equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas made by Czech sculptor J.V.Myslbek. The statue is popular meeting point. This is a one of favourite place for tourists and that’s why it is so expensive. There is a lot of small cafeterias, fastfoods and restaurants. The upper end closed the Neo-Rennaissance building of the National Museum. It’s the biggest and oldest Czech museum. There are zoological, archaeological and historical expositions.
Other monument which we shouldn t really forget to visit is The Vyšehrad Castle. It s the oldest castle in Prague and it was another seat of the kings. Nearby the Vyšehrad Castle, there is very famous Slavín Cemetery where Czech artists, writers and rich Prague citizens are buried.
You can recognise the National theatre standing on the Vltava embankment. It s the embodiment of the will of the Czech nation for its national identity and independence. Collections of money among the broad masses of the people facilitated its construction and so the ceremonious laying of the foundation stone on May 16, 1868 was tantamount to an all-state political demonstration. But the original theatre was destroyed by fire and people hade to start again (1883). The new today s National Theatre is connected with famous artists as Josef Zítek (architect), Vojtěch Hynais (curtain), Ženíšek (paintings), Mikoláš Aleš.
You can go down to the Jewish Town. The best known synagogues are the Old-New Synagogue (It was the centre of the Prague Ghetto), it is the oldest and it is used for Jewish worship services, and Pinkas Synagogue. On the walls in this Synagogue, there are names of victims of Nazi terror. Beside it there is a Jewish cemetery with a grave of Rabbi Löw, where you can give a small paper with your secret wish and it will come true. There is also a Jewish museum.
Excursion to Prague
In Prague you can travel by underground, it is quick and relatively cheap or by bus or tram. I thing that the public transport is very good, you can get everywhere, you don’t have to wait for so long, it takes you a lot to get from one to another part of the city sometimes. A lot of busses, trams, underground have three lanes. No trolley. On summer you can also hire a boat and have a trip on the river or you can hire a horse-cart or some of the sightseeing trams. The most expensive way of transport is going by taxi. It is quite big risk because the taxi drives cheat and charge more than they are allowed to. Taxis are not also very quick because streets are full of cars and buses. In Prague is one Airport - Ruzyně. It was rebuilt few years ago, it’s quite big but not as big as Frankfurt for example, it’s very modern.
§ What s aim of our visit in Prague?
§ Advantages and disadvantages of living in big cities, what do you prefer?