Brief history of Prague summarized
A brief overview of the history of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, in a nutshell.
Prague in the Middle Ages
The Slavs came to the Czech Republic in the 6th century. Around the year 870 they built a castle in Prague. Over time, a town grew up next to the castle. At the end of the 10th century, Prague was a prosperous city. In 973 he was given a bishop. At the beginning of the 13th century, German craftsmen and merchants came to live in Prague.
In the 14th century Prague was a large and important city. In 1334 the bishop of Prague was appointed archbishop. The Roman Emperor Charles IV went to live in Prague and enlarged the city. In 1344 the works of the Cathedral of San Vito began.
In 1348 Charles founded the University of Prague. He also rebuilt the Prague Castle. Construction work on the Charles Bridge began in 1357. The Prague Town Hall was built in 1364.
In the Middle Ages there was a Jewish community in Prague. The Old-New Synagogue was built in 1270. However, Jews were often persecuted in Prague. In 1389, 3,000 Jews were murdered in the city.
In 1232 the friars arrived in Prague. The friars were like monks, but instead of withdrawing from the world, they went out to preach.
One of the great Christians of the Middle Ages was Jan Hus (c. 1371-1415). He studied at the University of Prague. Hus was martyred in 1415.
The great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe died in Prague in 1601. He was buried in the Tyn Church.
In 1621, 27 Protestant leaders were executed in Prague’s Old Town Square. However, despite the political and religious upheavals, the 17th century was a very important century for Prague. It was a great time of construction. Wallenstein Palace was built in 1630. Fire destroyed much of the Old Town in 1689, but it was rebuilt.
However, Prague suffered an outbreak of plague in 1713. In 1741-42 the French occupied Prague. In 1744 the Prussians occupied the city. They besieged it again in 1757. However, in the 18th century Prague remained a large and important city. The Estates Theater was built in 1783. Until 1784 Prague was legally divided into 4 cities. In that year they were united.
19th century Prague
The 19th century was another great era for Prague. The city grew rapidly and many new buildings were built. It was also a time of growing Czech nationalism. The National Museum was founded in 1818. The Museum of Decorative Arts was founded in 1885. The Petrin View Tower was built in 1891.
Meanwhile, in the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution came to Prague. The railway reached Prague in 1845.
20th century Prague
In 1915 a monument to Jan Hus, the great Christian reformer of the Middle Ages, was erected. In 1918 Prague became the capital of the nation of Czechoslovakia. During the 20th century Prague continued to grow steadily. In 1939 it had a population of 1 million inhabitants. However, on March 15, 1939, the Nazis captured Prague.
During World War II, Prague’s buildings suffered little damage. However, most of the Jewish residents were killed. On May 5, 1945, the people of Prague rose in revolt. The Germans withdrew on May 8. However, in 1948 the Communists of Czechoslovakia seized power and a long period of repression began.
In 1968 Alexander Dubcek began some reforms known as the Prague Spring, but in August Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia and ended the reforms. Fortunately, the communist tyranny collapsed in 1989.
21st century Prague
In 2002 Prague suffered severe flooding. However, today Prague is a flourishing city. Tourism in Prague is flourishing. Today the population of Prague is 1,259,000 inhabitants.
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