Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and also the largest city in the country. It is home to the vast majority of state institutions.
Prague covers an area of 496 square kilometres and has 1 249 026 inhabitants (Czech Statistical Office data as at 31.12.2009). Prague has developed over many centuries to reach its current appearance. As the historic capital of Bohemia it was the royal seat of Czech princes, kings, and Holy Roman Emperors, and later the capital city of Czechoslovakia. It is a cultural crossroads and a textbook of architecture admired across the world.
Prague is considered one of the most beautiful and also most visited cities in Europe. Each year it is visited by several million tourists from all over the world. Since 1992 the historic city centre has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. This listing covers the unique group of historic districts in Prague: Staré Město, Josefov, Nové Město, Vyšehrad, Malá Strana and Hradčany, together with Prague Castle, the largest castle complex in the world, and Charles Bridge.
Among the oldest monuments in the city are the Early Gothic Convent of Saint Agnes and Břevnov Monastery. The most significant historic site of Prague’s Jewish ghetto is the Old-New Synagogue, which is one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe, and the adjacent Old Jewish Cemetery is the most important preserved Jewish burial site in Europe.
The most important historic sites in Prague are connected by the Royal Way. This leads from the Municipal House up to Prague Castle. Along the route you can admire, for example, the Old Town Square with the Old Town Hall and the world-famous astronomical clock, or Charles Bridge, built in the middle of the 14th century. On the other bank of the Vltava River you can stop on Malostranské náměstí (Lesser Quarter Square) and marvel at the Baroque Church of Saint Nicholas. Prague Castle is dominated by Saint Vitus’s Cathedral where the Czech crown jewels are kept.
Prague is also a place that offers a wide variety of cultural activities. For its inhabitants and visitors there are almost 300 galleries and exhibition halls, many museums, numerous theatres and concert halls.