Everything about Prague, Czech Republic is interesting. In all of Europe, this century-old city is known as Zlatá Praha or Golden Prague. Rulers and artists of this part of the continent have lived to contribute to its beauty and wonder so it’s no surprise that visitors frequent this city. Musicians and writers with the likes of Mozart, Dvořák, Kafka, and Klíma have also been inspired by the city of Prague.
Communism reigned in the city for four decades. After communism fell, capitalism crept in. It has made the city one of the places in Europe to be flocked by outsiders. Damages from the Second World War were only minimal and most of the city’s dazzling architecture, Gothic spires, and baroque-inspired domes are still standing. Art Nouveau maidens and Cubist facades also still grace the cityscape.
Shopping malls, restaurants, and cocktail bars are part of the glamorous sights in the lovely city of Prague. Film and music festivals, as well as opera, ballet, and drama, are part of the city’s entertainment scene. Partying is like no other with Prague’s jazz cellars and rock basements that contend with dance clubs. After your night out, try to pass by Charles Bridge on your way home at dawn to witness the mist over the bridge.
Prague is also famous for its brewed commodity—the Bohemian beer. Since the 9th century, the Czechs have brewed for themselves this type of beer and other drinks like the Pilsner which is considered the world’s first clear, golden lager. The Czechs are known to make some of the finest beers in the world.
Visitors are most welcome to explore the beauty of Prague either by strolling along medieval lanes and covert channels of the Old Town, or walking through wooded parks or cruising along the Vltava. In all corners of the city, you’ll find a rich history that includes traces of being once a capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Empire. It has also been the seat of the central administration of the first Czechoslovak Republic, the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Communist Republic of Czechoslovakia. Now, the city prides to be the seat of the government of the democratic Czech Republic.
Adventure awaits those who want to explore and discover the city’s maze of alleyways and courtyards that are distinctive of Prague. If you want to learn more about Prague, just browse our site.
Anyone who knows the basic facts about Prague, say aye. Well, most may not be confident to speak up. But here’s some information on Prague that you might find useful in familiarizing yourself with the city.
Prague is located near the Vltava river. Like any other city that flourished beside a river, Prague is considered home to about 1.2 million inhabitants where 95 percent is composed of Czechs. A vast majority preferred to live in tall, Communist-era apartments, away from the historic portions of the city.
The land area covered by the city is 497 sq km (192 sq ml) which is about two-thirds the size of New York City. The city has been called by various names like “city of a hundred spires”, “the golden city”, “the Paris of the Twenties in the Nineties”, the “mother of all cities”, and “the heart of Europe”.
Right in the middle of Europe, you’ll find the beautiful Czech Republic with hills and mountains around it. Germany is located westward, Poland in the north, Slovakia in the east and Austria in the south.
The Czech Republic is situated in central Europe, surrounded by hills and mountain ranges. It borders Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east and Austria to the south. Prague, the country’s capital has a land area of 496 sq km.
The Czech Republic is predominantly Christian where 40 percent are Roman Catholics. About 3 percent account for Protestants and 5 percent are atheists. Before World War II, Jews were a significant portion of the Czech population. Now, there are only about 15,000 to 18,000 Jews living in the entire country.
Tourists usually come from Germany, the USA, Britain, Italy, Russia, and Japan. 5 percent of the Czech Republic’s gross national product is accounted for tourism.
Prague Location:50°05’N and 14°27’E (center of the Czech Republic).
Prague Elevation:180-399 m above sea level.
Climate: mild, continental climate: hot summers, cold winters (average temperature -0.9°C; summer average 19.0°C [July])
Currency: Czech crown or koruna, symbol Kč or international symbol CZK
Time zone: Central European Time: GMT+1; in summer GMT+2.
Electrical voltage: 230 V-50/60 Hz
System of measurement: metric system (use of commas as separators, and points for thousands)
Banks and other offices usually start transactions from 8:30 am and closes at 6 pm. Both are open from Mondays to Fridays.
For pubs, the operation is from eleven in the morning until midnight. You can have lunch in restaurants from noon to three in the afternoon, dinner from 6 to 11 pm. A few are still open at a later time.
Stores are also open on Mondays to Fridays from 9 am to 6 pm, and on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. In tourist centers, stores have a longer business operation and some are open during Sundays. For your information, there are some shops that charge you 20% more on your purchases to cover for their longer business hours.
Prague is one of Europe’s historic cities. Its settlers easily defended it as its elevation and natural conditions made it favorable for defense. The soil was fertile and water was plentiful. It was during the Stone Age that it was started to be inhabited by hunting parties. Prague’s richness in prehistoric Central European cultures had been recorded by archaeologists. Much more Prague information can be read below.
Prague in its birth
Slavs and Germans used to hold residence in the prehistoric Prague until the Slavs outnumbered the Germans and established colonies. The Slavs later on settled in a hilltop where the Prague Castle now stands. It is here Prague’s history was unveiled.
In 880 and 890, settlers of Prague declared the city the permanent seat of the princes of Premyslid. New settlements were established at the foot of the castle hill and this is due to the convergence of trade routes from both sides of the Vltava river. Besides the Prague Castle, another seat of the principality was Vysehrad. Medieval Prague soon put up a large marketplace known today as the Old Town Square or Staromestske Namesti.
The towns of Prague
The Old Town continued to grow even when Premysl Otakar II established in 1257. Prague’s Smaller Town or Mensi Mesto which was later renamed Lesser Town or Mala Strana. This primarily settled on by colonists from northern Germany. Hradcany, Prague’s third town was set up in the 1330s for subjects of Prague Castle’s bur-grave.
Setting up the fourth town was aimed to promote Prague as a second Rome by Charles IV of the Luxembourg family. The family acquired the Czech throne at that time. Pope Clement VI promoted Prague’s status from diocese to archdiocese. Charles IV founded Prague’s New Town or Nove Mesto in 1348. In that same year, the oldest university in Central Europe was built.
Prague’s historical height
It was during the reign of Emperor that is considered the greatest historical period of Prague. The city was made the center of European politics, art, and science. Prague became the seat of Hapsburg until it was returned to Vienna by the successor of Rudolph II– Emperor Matthias. The empire had an international clique of artists that developed European Mannerism.
A growing city
Eventually, new towns were established in Prague. These include Karlin, Liben, Holesovice, Smichov, Kralovske Vinohrady, Zizkov, and others. The city began to be modernized until Prague has earned its reputation of being a point of modern European architecture. Prague’s growth of surface and population was attributed to the Law of Greater Prague of 1920 that allowed the expansion of the city and incorporation of other nearby towns and citizens.
This Prague introduction may not be exhaustive but it might give you some idea how the city has grown into what it is now. Nothing beats first-hand information so it would be well suggested to ask locals of Prague about their city when you get there.
The predominant inhabitants of the Czech Republic are the western Slavic people called Czechs. Their language also called Czech is a close relative of the Slovak and Upper Sorbian language. The Czech people descended from 6th-century Slavic tribes who lived in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.
Among the kings of Czechs, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV or Karel IV is probably the most notable for his success and influence. In the 1400s, Jan Hus has pushed religious reforms in the region. The man behind the continued existence of the modern Czech language is Josef Jungmann.
Way of life
The people of Prague are typically living a good life with most of the people having access to technology and essential services. Most of them live in cities that is why some have to settle for cramped apartments.
Czechs and Germans share a common taste for food. Eating pork, pickled cabbage and a lot of dumplings is typical for a Czech diet. A favorite among the Czechs is a kind of dumpling called knedlíky. Sauerkraut or sour cabbage is commonly used even in soups. Strudel and pancakes are also part of their food choices, as well as open sandwiches and frankfurters that is why it’s not surprising that snack bars in the city sell these.
Prague people are also famous worldwide for their beer.
Start early and shut early, this is how it is on a typical day for a Czech. Shops usually start doing business at around seven in the morning.
Movies and television are common pastimes among the Czech people. Watching football games is also popular among them. Ballets, operas, and music shows also keep them entertained.
Czech Republic’s folk tradition is very much incorporated in their lives as seen through popular forms of folk art like puppet shows, glass paintings, and modrotisk or a blue-and-white painted fabric. Czech is fond of hand-painting a boiled egg and making sweet bread shaped like a miniature lamb.
Peculiar as it may sound but the Czech people celebrate the day they were named. It is customary in the country to honor the day when their parents chose their name from over 400 first names. During this day, the celebrant may expect cards and gifts from people who know them.
The Czechs are interesting people and having a genuine interest in their life and language is most welcome.
If you plan to go to Prague, it pays off to have a little background of the language in Prague as well as a few basic phrases that you may find useful in simple conversations. If you aren’t confident enough to converse in Prague language, you might want to seek a translator’s help.
Czech: A Slavonic language
The Czech language is the official language in the Czech Republic. Czech is a member of the Slavonic group of languages. Called “Èeština” by its speakers, approximately 12 million people worldwide speak the language. It bears a close resemblance to Slovak, but not quite to Polish and Sorbian, and much less to Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian and Bulgarian
Speakers of Czech can understand each other with ease. But there is a relatively huge variation of the traditional standard written Czech with that of spoken Czech.
Getting familiar with Czech is a good start in understanding some of Prague’s literature. Two of the most popular authors of Czech literature are Milan Kundera and Franz Kafka. They are both great representatives of Czech culture.
Nobel Prize winners Èapek and Seifert may be considered better representatives of the Czech language.
Although the Czech people do not consider their language a major language for foreigners to learn, they are usually more than glad to teach those who take an interest in the Czech language. Czech people will be very patient of your mistakes and will not hesitate to teach you their, or switch to a language that both of you know for ease of communicating.
If you want to try communicating with the locals, here are a few phrases you might find useful in your endeavor:
Dobrý den – Good day, general salutation, widely used
Dobré ráno – Good morning (used only during the early morning)
Dobrý večer – Good evening
Dobrou noc – Good night
Na shledanou – Goodbye / See you later (formal)
Nashle – Bye / See you (informal)
Ahoj – Hello / Bye (informal; used amongst friends, colleagues or after clarification – improper when addressing people in the street, shop, etc.)
Čau / Nazdar – Hello / Bye (even more informal)
Děkuji – Thank you (formal)
Díky – Thanks (informal)
Prosím – Please / You’re welcome
Vítejte – Welcome (formal; plural)
Jak se máš? – How are you? (familiar singular)
Jak se máte? – How are you? (formal or familiar plural)
Mám se dobře. – I’m fine.
Jak se jmenuješ / jmenujete? – What’s your name? (informal singular / formal or familiar plural)
Jmenuji se… – My name is…
In speaking Czech, there is an emphasis on the first syllable of the word. There is that declining sentence intonation. For questions answerable by a “yes” or “no”, there is a rise of intonation at the end of the sentences.