Monday, July 30, 2012

Pretty Prague

Pretty Prague ... what a spectacular city! Gorgeous architecture that amazingly survived the ravages of World Wars unscathed, a wonderful cultural heritage, a rich and interesting history, and an old town that delights at every turn.

It was once the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It flourished under the 14th century reign (1346-1378) of Charles IV, with the legacies of the Charles bridge, the Charles University and the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral remaining to this dayIt was also important in the Habsburg monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and after WW1 became the capital of Czechoslovakia. In 1989 after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration against the one party government of communist lead Czechoslovakia, the Velvet Revolution saw the collapse of the party's control and a subsequent conversion from Czech Stalinism to a parliamentary republic. Czechoslovakia was dissolved in 1993, returning to Czech Republic and Slovakia. 

My previous visit here was spent organising events for the conference we are running, but this time we have more time to wander around and soak up the mood. These summer months allow the 'old town' area to take on a party like atmosphere as tourists and locals alike enjoy a beer and Czech music in the warmth of the summer sun. Since 1992 the historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and there is an extensive list of museums, monuments and architectural landmarks to visit, so bring your walking shoes!