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Prague is a fairytale city filled with gorgeous architectural gems and thousands of spires. It’s so beautiful that it is often referred to as a museum of architecture under the open sky. Prague is simply enchanting.
It’s not just the views that are captivating, it’s the history as well! Prague sure knew how to have ups and downs with prophetesses, communists, and classical composers! Or maybe we should mention the beer?
Not only do the locals consume more beer than any other country in the world per capita, but the Pilsner brand was invented in Prague. And the monks liked to brew too. Brewing is recorded all the way back to 993 AD at the Břevnov Monastery. Apparently, the monks in Prague knew how to have a good time!
Let’s dive together into the history of this fairytale brew-tastic city!
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Yes, there were settlers way back in the Paleolithic age, but Prague really began in the 8th century when a Czech duchess who apparently was also a prophetess looked upon the land and said, “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars. The Duchess/prophetess then ordered a castle to be built there. Kind of easy to predict things correctly when you can pay for your own prophecy to happen…
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is it’s largest city stretching almost 500 square kilometers. It wasn’t until 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, that Prague became the capital city of the newly dubbed Czech Republic.
Prague is home to the largest coherent castle complex in the entire world. It is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. He also has four churches in the complex to rotate between. What a lucky president!
Due to various battles and fires through the ages, the castle has needed rebuilding and retouching over the many, many years. What is particularly fascinating is that the myriad of castle buildings in the complex represent almost every single architectural style and period of the last millennium!
The 17th century of Prague marks the “Golden Age of Jewish” Prague when about thirty percent of the entire population was Jewish! Unfortunately, in 1745, Maria Theresa of Austria kicked out all the Jews because of allegations that they were scheming with Prussians. She let them all back in three years later. That was a little extreme, Maria Theresa…
The Old New Synagogue (Altneuschul) is the oldest active synagogue in Europe and calls Prague it’s home. It was built in 1270 and is rumored to contain stones from Jerusalem’s Temple of Solomon.
Hitler left the Jewish Quarter relatively untouched during WWII because he was hoping to use it as a museum to an exterminated race. Not cool, Hitler… but we’re glad you didn’t destroy the synagogue and relics. So thanks for that.
If you are visiting Prague you HAVE to check out our article about Prague’s coolest neighborhoods to stay!
The Old Town Square of Prague is the heart of the city, where all winding lanes and cobblestone streets run towards. The Town Hall has the world famous astronomical clock, Týn Cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas, and gorgeous multicolored, charming houses.
The Christmas and Easter Markets held in the Old Town Square in Prague resemble medieval markets and draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year! Whatever is on your holiday shopping list, these markets have it!
The Prague Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj, was installed in 1410 and is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world. But it’s the oldest one that is still working and functioning! Prague for the win!
The Astronomical Clock was decorated by the absolute best artists of the 15th century. It was also further embellished and added on to as the years passed by. Notable additions such as: in the mid-1600s the wooden statues, in the late 1700s the Apostles, and in the mid-1800s the golden rooster.
Want to see the best of Czech Republic? These are the most amazing day trips from Prague!
Prague has been home to many top musical composers in history. If it wasn’t a composer’s home per say, some composers spent enough time in Prague to have their musical compositions influenced by the city’s magic!
Mozart premiered more than one of his operas in Prague. Beethoven gave two public piano concerts in Prague. Franz Liszt lived in Prague for six years and gave many concerts there. And unless you’re a classical music buff these famous Czech composers might not ring any bells, but trust us, they’re big deals too: Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, and Bohuslav Martinů to name just a few.
Prague has been called a “museum of architecture under the open sky.” The city contains wonderful architectural structures from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras because it wasn’t rebuilt during the 18th or 19th centuries and wasn’t demolished like other cities during WWII. Almost everything is still standing, folks!
Charles IV wanted to place the first stone down to commemorate the beginning of construction on the Charles Bridge. But he didn’t want to just chuck a rock any old day. Charles IV laid that stone down at 5:31 am on July 9, 1357, because of the number pattern between the year, day, month, time of 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1. Well, whatever floats your boat or builds your bridge, Charles!
Heading to Prague too? Save some money with our budget guide to Prague’s best hotels!
Although John Lennon never visited Prague, he was a huge symbol to the pacifist youth in Prague during the totalitarian era. When he was murdered in 1980, young activists painted his picture on the wall. Soon after, many young people risked being thrown in prison to graffiti the wall too.
Even though the Communist police painted the wall white over and over again, they could never keep the wall devoid of the hopes of and dreams of the activists. It was a monument of free speech and an act of non-violent rebellion. Spray paint and flowers, not war!
In 500 BC there was a Celtic tribe called the Boii that were the first settlers of the land where Prague was later built. The name Boii gave their name to the region of Bohemia. Boii to Bohemia seems like a little stretch to me.
In 9 AD the Germanic tribe called Marcomanni moved to Bohemia. The celts assimilated into their community just fine. Marcomanni or Macaroni? Those are two names that sound close enough to share some name heritage!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was reported to have said, “My Praguers understand me.” It was his affinity for Prague that encouraged him to stay there for six months. It seems Prague must have been Mozart’s little home away from home.
While in Prague, Mozart composed the operas Don Giovanni and La Clemenza di Tito. He also premiered the first performance of the “Prague” Symphony, which was allegedly composed during his first visit to Prague in 1787 with the intention to have it played in Prague. Mozart loved him some Prague.
There’s more to Prague than meets the eye. From famous astronomical clocks to musical composers, Prague is home to thousands of curiosities and wonders. My favorite is the president’s castle complex, because who wouldn’t want to live in a castle these days? Just give Beyoncé a few more years, more maybe Macklemore. Who is your money on?
Written By: Lily Allen-Duenas
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!