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Peace of Prague - History


In September 1634 Protestant forces under the command of Bernahard of Saxe-Weimer were defeated at the battle of Nordligen in Bavaria. The majority of the German princes then abandoned the Protestant coalition leading to the Peace of Prague. This agreement took place between the elector of Saxony and the Holy Roman Emperor. The agreement voided the Edict of Restitutions. That edict had stated that there was only one religion in a country, that of the ruler.
This did not bring about an end to a war, rather the opposite took place. Catholic France, now fearing the increased power of the Habsburgs, allied itself with the Protestants. It invaded Spanish controlled Netherlands and the Thiry Years War was transformed from a religious war to one about power and land.

The Peace of Prague (1635)

The Peace of Prague of 30 May 1635 was a treaty between the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, and most of the Protestant states of the Empire.

It effectively brought to an end the civil war aspect of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) however, the war still carried on due to the continued intervention on German soil of Spain, Sweden, and, from mid-1635, France.

Negotiations towards the agreement had been instigated by the Elector of Saxony, John George I, who whilst being a Lutheran prince had nonetheless been an ally of the Emperor until the Swedish intervention in 1630. Years of fighting, an inability to reimpose Roman Catholicism by force, and the need to put an end to the intervention of foreign powers in German affairs all combined to bring Ferdinand to the table with a degree of willingness to make concessions towards the Lutheran princes.

The main terms of the treaty were:

* The Edict of Restitution of 1629 was effectively revoked, with the terms of the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 being re-established as at 12 November 1627.
* Formal alliances between states of the Empire were prohibited.
* The armies of the various states were to be unified with those of the Emperor as an army for the Empire as a whole.
* Amnesty was granted to the enemies of the Emperor (with the exception of the former Elector Palatine, Frederick V).

As well as bringing to an end the fighting between the various states, the treaty also brought to an end religion as a source of national conflict the principle of cuius regio, eius religio was established for good within the Empire. In return for making concessions in this area, Ferdinand gained the alliance of the Lutheran princes both in the struggle against the Swedish intervention, and against the expected intervention of France.

Ferdinand was also forced to make individual concessions to some of the major states to get them to sign the treaty: Saxony was granted the Margraviates of Lower and Upper Lusatia by Ferdinand in his capacity as King of Bohemia, Brandenburg had its claim to Pomerania confirmed, and even Bavaria, which had supported the Emperor throughout the war, extracted some minor concessions.

Johann-Georg of Saxony had never been a willing opponent of the Emperor. At the instance of his brother-in-law, Georg of Hesse-Darmstadt, he had opened negotiations with the Emperor at Leitmaritz. He had continued to negotiate even while his armies had invaded Bohemia in the summer of 1634. The invasion had required the negotiations be moved to Pirna when the Swedes took Leitmaritz, but still the talks went on.

These negotiations finally bore fruit in a tentative agreement, the “Preliminaries of Pirna,” agreed on 24 November, 1634. An armistice between the Saxon and Imperial forces was reached at Laun the same day.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Sayer, Derek. The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History. Princeton, 1998.

Teich, Mikulas, ed. Bohemia in History. Cambridge, U.K., 1998.

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The Second Defenestration of Prague

In 1617, as his health deteriorated, Emperor Matthias sought to assure an orderly transition during his lifetime by naming his cousin, the fiercely Catholic Ferdinand of Styria, as his successor. A staunch proponent of the Counter-Reformation, the Jesuit-educated Ferdinand saw Protestantism as harmful to the Empire and aimed to impose absolutist rule on Bohemia while encouraging conversion to the Catholic faith.

His election as Crown Prince led to deep consternation among many Bohemian Protestants, who feared not only the loss of their swindled properties, but also of their traditional semi-autonomy, which had ensured religious freedom throughout Bohemia.

In May 1618, the King-elect sent two Catholic councillors to Prague Castle to meet with disgruntled Bohemian nobles who wanted to air their grievances. But the two imperial representatives and their secretary were seized and thrown out of the castle windows.

Known as the Second Defenestration of Prague, the event triggered what came to be known as the Bohemian Revolt, which quickly spread through the lands of the Bohemian Crown, before expanding into Silesia and the Habsburg heartlands of Lower and Upper Austria.


The Infant of Prague statue is one of the most popular Christian statues in the world and yet relatively few people know the origins of it. The statue’s history is fascinating, associated with various legends and miracles.

Most historians believe that the original statue was carved in Spain around the year 1340 in a Cistercian monastery. Some traditions claim that a monk had a vision of the child Jesus and fashioned the statue after what he saw.

The statue remained in Spain for several centuries and a pious tradition claims that St. Teresa of Avila possessed the statue in the 16th century.

Whatever the case may be, the statue found its way to Prague during the reign of the House of Habsburg in 1556. At this point it was given by Dona Isabella Manrique as a wedding gift to her daughter Marie Manrique, who married Vratislav of Pernstyn. Some traditions claim that Dona received the statue from St. Teresa of Avila.

The statue was passed down through the family and by 1628 was given to a local Carmelite monastery by Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz. She reportedly said to the monastery, “I am giving you what I most esteem of my possessions. Keep the sculpture in reverence and you will be well off.”

Soon after this gift, Prague was invaded and the statue was almost lost forever. A priest discovered it in the rubble of a church and enshrined it in a new oratory. While cleaning the statue the priest heard the Infant Jesus say to him, “Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.” When the priest needed more funds to repair the statue the Infant Jesus said to the priest, “Place Me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid.” What was needed was miraculously provided and the statue was restored.

Since then pilgrimages to the statue have been the source of countless miracles. The statue was copied and disseminated throughout the world and remains to this day an extremely popular statue of Jesus in places such as Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Philippines and South America.



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The Thirty Years’ War Began 400 Years Ago – And We’re All Living In The World It Created

Cardinal Richelieu at the Siege of La Rochelle

This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, but that’s not the only major commemoration on our current calendars. In fact, the year 2018 also marks the anniversary of two interconnected events that changed European and world history forever. These are the 400th anniversary of the start of the Thirty Years’ War, and the 370th anniversary of the Treaties that ended it – the famous Peace of Westphalia. The conflict counts among the bloodiest in history, and its astounding death toll haunted Europe for generations. The Peace created the international system as we know it.

The Road To War

Banner of the Holy Roman Empire

The Thirty Years’ War began when three representatives of the Holy Roman Empire were thrown out the window of the royal castle in Prague in 1618, sparking a continent-wide religious conflict. The following thirty years tore the heart out of Europe, killing nearly a quarter of the entire German population and devastating Central Europe to such an extent that many towns and regions never recovered. All the major European powers apart from Russia were heavily involved and, while each country started out with rational war aims, the battles rapidly spiralled out of control, with armies giving way to marauding bands of starving soldiers, spreading plague and murder.

The Thirty Years’ War can be roughly divided into four parts: the outbreak of hostilities with the Bohemian War, the Danish intervention, the Swedish intervention, and the French intervention. To begin, some of the issues that lay behind it must first be understood. The road to war began with a local conflict, internal to the Holy Roman Empire, which then exploded into a massive war that would lead to millions of deaths and the destruction of hundreds of villages and cities. By the war’s end, mostly Swedish and French forces could move around the Germanies almost at will, taking and burning what they wanted. The tides of war led to the quick decentralization of the Holy Roman Empire, and to a peace of great historical significance.

Christianity Divided

An elderly Carl V

The roots of the war are grounded in the Peace of Augsburg, established in 1555. Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor/Charles I of Spain) made abortive efforts during 1540-1541 to enforce a compromise agreement between the Protestants and the Catholics within the Holy Roman Empire, which threatened to tear the realm apart. When these and other conciliar efforts failed, he turned to military solutions. In 1547, imperial armies crushed the Protestant Schmalkaldic League. The emperor established puppet rulers in Saxony and Hesse and issued an imperial law, the Augsburg Interim, which commanded Protestants everywhere to readopt Catholic beliefs and practices. The effort came to naught: the Reformation was too entrenched by 1547 to be ended even by brute force. Charles, already weary from three decades of war, relented when he was confronted by fierce Protestant resistance.

In September 1555, the treaty made the division of Christendom permanent. This agreement recognised in law what had already been established in practice: “cuius regio, eius religio,” meaning that the ruler of a land would determine the religion of the land. Lutherans were permitted to retain all church lands that had been forcibly seized before 1552. Those who were discontented with the religion of their region were permitted to migrate to another.

Flag of the Catholic League

It is worth noting that Calvinism was not recognised as a legal form of Christian belief and practice by the Peace of Augsburg. However, Calvinists remained determined not only to secure their right to worship publicly as they pleased but also to shape society according to their own religious convictions. They reacted by orchestrating national revolutions throughout northern Europe.

In 1609, Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria (1573-1651), organised a Catholic League to counter a new Protestant alliance that had been formed by the Calvinist Elector Palatine, Frederick IV (r. 1583-1610). When the League fielded a great army under the command of Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly (1559-1651), the stage was set, internally and internationally, for the Thirty Years’ War, the worst European catastrophe since the Black Death.

Protestants Take Up Arms Against The Empire

The defenestration of Prague became the signal for a general rebellion in predominantly Protestant Bohemia. It started in Prague but soon spread to the other territories encompassing the Crown of Bohemia, stretching into Austrian territory. In the summer of 1618, the revolt had already gained footholds in Silesia, Lusatia and Upper Austria. The first actual battles in the Thirty Years’ War took place near the city of Pilsen (modern Plzeň, Czechia) where many Catholics had taken refuge. To stop the Catholics from receiving reinforcements, the Bohemian rebels under Ernst von Mansfeld marched towards Pilsen, and the siege thus began in September. Like the first battle, the first siege also ended with an overwhelming victory for the Protestants.

The Winter King on the Retreat

Painting celebrating the Catholic victory, by Antonín Stevens

The victory gave the Bohemians an upper hand, but they had to strike while the iron was hot. To do this, they had to gather as many allies as possible and strike into the heartland of the Habsburgs in Austria. However, few neighbours were willing to risk a European war to aid the Bohemians. Only one Western European State, little Savoy, supplied the Bohemians with economic assistance – but it was not enough. After constant fighting that stretched for years, the Bohemians were eventually handed a crushing defeat at the Battle of White Mountain.

For the Bohemians, this battle was a disaster. Their lands were returned to the Catholics, and the Jesuits took control of the University of Prague. Countless people were executed as traitors and rebels, hundreds of thousands of people fled. Bohemia would then remain a stable part of the Habsburg Empire for three centuries.

While the Habsburgs were under assault from several directions, the Transylvanians under Gábor Bethlen took the opportunity to invade Hungary from the East. The crisis continued to escalate: the Swiss lent aid to rebels in Northern Italy, and the Palatine and the Bohemians also pushed hard from several directions.
By 1621, however, the Habsburgs were victorious everywhere. Order had been restored in Bohemia, Hungary, and Valtellina in Italy. In the Palatine, Frederick V (dubbed the “Winter King”) lost fortification after fortification. To outside eyes, the conflict looked all but over. But nothing could be further from the truth.

A General European War: Danish Intervention

Emperor Ferdinand II and his advisors bear the brunt of responsibility for the continuation of the war. A compromise could have been reached if they had been satisfied with depriving Frederick V of the Bohemian Crown, but seeing the prospect of a complete and total victory, the Habsburgs fought on, persuading Frederick V to carry on.

Meanwhile, seeing the triumphs of the Catholics, Spain saw an opportunity to settle its score with the Dutch. With Northern Italy and the Palatine firmly under Catholic Habsburg control, the road to the Netherlands lay open. The instigators of this war were the Count-Duke of Olivares, Ferdinand II Cardinal Richelieu of France, and Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. They were responsible for prolonging the conflict.

Christian IV of Denmark on the ship Trefoldigheden in the battle of Kolberger-Heide 1644

When Christian IV of Denmark intervened in the Thirty Years’ War, he was at the peak of his power. Income from the ransom of Älvsborgs Castle and the Sound Dues made it easy for him to cough up money for military expeditions. He also had personal reasons for intervening. He had hoped that a quick and decisive strike into Germany would land him the territories of Bremen, Verden, and Schwerin for his two sons.

Emperor Ferdinand II secured the assistance of Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583-1634), who raised an independent army of 50,000. The combined forces of Wallenstein and Tilly defeated Christian IV in 1626, and then proceeded to occupy the duchy of Holstein. The Treaty of Lubeck, signed in 1629, restored Holstein to Denmark, but the Danish king pledged not to intervene further in German affairs. The Danish period of the war, like the Bohemian period, thus ended with a Habsburg and Catholic victory. Protestants everywhere were alarmed by the Catholic victories. The Emperor’s triumphs endangered the independence of the German princes, while the French Bourbons were concerned about the growth of Habsburg power.

Turning Point: Swedish Intervention

Bust of King Gustav Adolph on campus at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota

King Gustav II Adolf (r. 1611 – 1632) of Sweden became the new leader of the Protestant cause. In the summer of 1630, the Swedes made landfall in Germany. This marked one of the turning points of the Thirty Years’ War, but it must be emphasized that Swedish intervention was not a foregone conclusion. By 1630, the war had raged for twelve years. Denmark had been swiftly defeated upon intervening.
It would have been easy for Gustav II Adolf and his Lord High Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, to stay neutral and focus on the campaign they really burned for: fighting against Sigismund III Wasa of Poland.

As the name implies, Sigismund was of Swedish origin. He was the son of the Swedish king Johan III, and of the Polish princess Catherine Jagiellon, but he lost the crown. However, he still planned to reclaim Sweden. Gustav II Adolf could have focused on ending this threat, but chose instead to steer Sweden towards the Protestant cause, and against Germany.

Sweden’s intervention also presented a useful convergence of interests with France, which remained embroiled in its own goal of limiting Habsburg power and agreed to provide Gustav II Adolf with an annual subsidy of 400,000 talers to maintain an army in the conflict. After consolidating his position across the Baltic, the Swedish king led a stunningly successful campaign, culminating in the battle at Breitenfeld in 1631. This battle destroyed an Imperial army under the command of General Tilly and gave Gustav II Adolf a dominant position in northern Germany, inflicting the first massive defeat to the Imperial forces. He then consolidated his position and conducted a lightning campaign to wrest much of present-day Germany from Imperial control. His success, however, met an abrupt end with his death at Lützen in 1632, having fought Wallenstein’s army to a draw in the process.

Thirty Years And No Sign of Peace

Panoramic view of Prague Castle

Three years later, in 1635, the Thirty Years’ War could well have ended, thanks to the Peace of Prague. This treaty was signed by Ferdinand II and the Elector of Saxony, Johann Georg I. The Peace was important because Saxony was one of the largest and most powerful of the German Protestant states, and their support for Sweden had been instrumental in the efforts of the Swedish to build a network of alliances across Germany.

In 1631 and 1632, Sweden saw great victories and gains, and to a degree this continued in 1633 and 1634 even after the Battle of Lützen. All of this was swept away inthe Battle of Nördlingen, a true disaster for Swedish forces. Without active support from Richelieu, king Louis XIII’s chief minister, the Swedish could have been smacked back across the Baltic Sea, and the officials of the Holy Roman Empire hoped that 1635 would be the year that resulted in peace and German unity. Instead, the exact opposite happened: 1635 became the watershed that expanded the Thirty Years’ War to its final phase, when France actively got involved in the fighting.

The many theaters of the Thirty Years’ War – the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany – were intertwined, causing the war to spread with no peace in sight. Ferdinand II had viewed the Peace of Prague as a compromise: the fortunes of war could change rapidly as evident from the Battle of Breitingen and then from the Battle of Nördlingen. However, Ferdinand II now had an excellent opportunity to restore much of the positions lost to Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. This required the sacrifice of certain principles – the alternative was to go through a new round of war against all the Protestant states and Sweden, after all. Thus, Ferdinand abandoned many of the religious edicts that had propelled German anger into a full-blown conflict. He reinstated “cuius regio, eius religio,” paving the way for Protestant rulers to practice their faith in the open. This in turn meant that in 1635, the Thirty Years’ War lost the final claim it had to being a war of religion.

Spiralling Out of Control: French Intervention

Cardinal Richelieu by Robert Nanteuil

France’s official entry in the war followed a long history of rivalry against the Habsburgs. Richelieu and Louis XIII had chosen a side long before 1635, in line with the traditional anti-Habsburg politics of France. They had supported the Netherlands and Sweden financially, and they had intervened against the Habsburgs directly on several occasions as evident from the Mantuan Succession War. Furthermore, Richelieu had strengthened France’s political situation by creating allied buffer States the most obvious example was the Duchy of Savoy. The Savoyan rulers, however, had continually shown that they would rather make deals with the Habsburgs than bow down to Paris. By the mid-1630’s, though, the Duchy of Savoy was essentially a French satellite State whose interests aligned with Richelieu’s.

Another example is the German Archbishopric of Trier which accepted protection from France, granting Paris access to three strategically important fortresses– Koblenz, Ehrenbreitstein, and Phillipsburg. A final example is Lothringen (modern-day Lorraine), then part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Duke of Lothringen, Charles IV, had a habit of cutting deals with the Habsburgs and broke promises made to France thus allowing the Habsburgs to occupy strategic sites along the border to France. Finally, in 1633, this caused the French to invade the duchy and occupy it. By achieving all of this pre-1635, Richelieu had prepared for the French intervention, which aimed to break the Habsburg encirclement of France.

Despite many failures and disappointments during the first few years, especially when Spanish and Austrian troops came dangerously close to Paris after beating back the French in the Netherlands and from the Rhine, French intervention kept the war going. However, neither the Habsburgs nor the French alliance were able to strike a decisive blow until 1640, where the situation favoured the Swedish, the French, and their allies. While they were still unable defeat the Habsburgs, they kept up the advantage until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

The New Power Balance

The treaties that comprised the Peace of Westphalia had important ramifications for Europe. The end of the war cemented France as the premier land power on the continent, a position it would keep until the defeat in the Napoleonic wars and it consecrated Sweden as a European Great Power, a status that Stockholm would keep until the end of the Great Northern War.

The Ratification of the Treaty of Westphalia, 15 May 1648 (1648)

For Austria, two important things came from the Peace of Westphalia. Firstly, Cardinal Jules Mazarin (Chief Minister of the French King) was adamant in his demands that the Habsburgs of Austria be forced to cut ties with the Spanish Habsburgs, leaving Spain out of the peace treaty. France wanted Philip IV of Spain to lose all Austrian support. Ferdinand III of Austria was therefore forced to solemnly swear to withhold any and all aid to his Pyrenean relatives.

The Austrian ruler was reluctant, and for good reason. The alliance between Madrid and Vienna was old and connected the Habsburg house. However, during the Autumn of 1648, Ferdinand was forced to agree to the terms. The Spanish defeat at the Battle of Lens, and the Swedish conquest of half of Prague made continued warfare look extremely grim for Austria. Another year of war could lead to even greater demands from the Swedish-French alliance, and so, Ferdinand grudgingly accepted.

Secondly, the peace established that the German rulers of the various duchies, kingdoms, counties, and cities throughout Germany were given a large degree of autonomy from the Holy Roman Emperor. However, no longer anchored to the warlike preferences of the Spaniards, and with fewer means to directly interfere in German politics, Austria was now able to pursue her true destiny: the East, where the dangerous behemoth known as the Ottoman Empire stood not far away from Vienna itself. In this way, Westphalia turned out to be a surprising blessing in disguise for Austria, allowing the Empire to increase its territory and consolidate its status as a Great Power over the next two centuries.

The Treaties that Changed the World

Holy Roman Empire in 1648.

The legacy of Westphalia, however, goes well beyond the peace itself and the new order it brought to Europe. The Treaties established new legal principles that had major ramifications for the international order. The key novelty is the rejection of the universalistic ideas of the Middle Ages: the Church and the Empire, and their respective claims to ecumenism.

By effectively outlawing crusades between European nations, and establishing each country’s right to pick a religion without outside interference, Westphalia defined sovereignty and put the nation-State at the center of the political system for the very first time. In the post-Westphalian world, there is no authority that ranks above sovereign States, save for those that States themselves recognize as superior through a treaty. This is known as Westphalian Sovereignty, and is the basic framework that defines the entirety of international relations, and remains a core mechanic of international law to this day.

The norm-based European order that arose from the Thirty Years’ War would eventually grow in complexity and normativity, and would spread to the rest of the world in the wake of European imperialism and global preeminence during the two following centuries. With religious tolerance codified on a legal level, and States recognized as the primary agents of the international system, European diplomacy began to move towards the so-called peace conference system: the creation of fora for States to interact and resolve disputes. This system would peak during the European Concert, and the current United Nations are built on the strengths and weaknesses displayed by the conference system over the centuries.

The Thirty Years’ War began as the largest religious war in European history, but the Peace that ended it became the turning point of international relations. At Westphalia, European countries first plotted their course towards the international system as we know it today.


McCollum Photography

John Lennon is in Prague - well, to be precise, his wall is in Prague although John Lennon himself never visited Prague in his short life.

In Mala Strana, near the French Embassy, you'll see the John Lennon Wall. The wall that was formerly an ordinary wall in Prague has been called Lennon's since the 1980's, when people filled it with John Lennon-inspired grafitti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs. Why?

John Lennon and the Communist Regime

Lennon was a hero to the pacifist yout h of Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian era. Prior to 1989 when Communism ruled, western pop songs were banned by Communist authorities, and especially John Lennon's songs, because they were praising freedom that didn't exist there. Some musicians were actually jailed for playing them!

When John Lennon was murdered in 1980 he became a sort of hero to some of the young and his picture was painted on this wall, for whatever reason right there, along with graffiti defying the authorities. Don't forget that back then the Czech people had few opportunities to express their feelings with their lack of freedom. By doing this, those young activists risked prison for what authorities called "subversive activities against the state".

But the threat of prison couldn't keep the people from slipping there at night to scrawl graffiti first in the form of Beatles lyrics and odes to Lennon, then, they came to paint their own feelings and dreams on the wall.

The Communist police tried repeatedly to whitewash over the portrait and messages of peace but they could never manage to keep the wall clean. On the second day it was again full of poems and flowers with paintings of Lennon. Even the installation of surveillance cameras and the posting of an ovenight guard couldn't stop the opinions from being expressed.

John Lennon Peace Wall

The Lennon Wall represented not only a memorial to John Lennon and his ideas for peace, but also a monument to free speech and the non-violent rebellion of Czech youth against the regime. It was a small war of Czech people against the Communist police who cleaned the wall.

At first glance, the Lennon Wall is like any graffiti-covered wall you see around the world. But this wall is special thanks to its history. People have said it is Prague's equivalent of the Berlin Wall. They are not far from the truth. Some people also believe that the "John Lennon Peace Wall" helped inspire the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia in 1989.


Contents

During the thousand years of its existence, Prague grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vyšehrad in the south, to become the capital of a modern European country.

Early history Edit

The region was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. [18] Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the city was founded as Boihaem in c. 1306 BC by an ancient king, Boyya. [19]

Around the fifth and fourth century BC, a Celtic tribe appeared in the area, later establishing settlements including an oppidum in Závist, a present-day suburb of Prague, and naming the region of Bohemia, which means "home of the Boii people". [18] [20] In the last century BC, the Celts were slowly driven away by Germanic tribes (Marcomanni, Quadi, Lombards and possibly the Suebi), leading some to place the seat of the Marcomanni king, Maroboduus, in southern Prague in the suburb now called Závist. [21] [19] Around the area where present-day Prague stands, the 2nd century map drawn by Ptolemaios mentioned a Germanic city called Casurgis. [22]

In the late 5th century AD, during the great Migration Period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes living in Bohemia moved westwards and, probably in the 6th century, the Slavic tribes (Venedi) settled the Central Bohemian Region. In the following three centuries, the Czech tribes built several fortified settlements in the area, most notably in the Šárka valley, Butovice and Levý Hradec. [18]

The construction of what came to be known as Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, expanding a fortified settlement that had existed on the site since the year 800. [23] The first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885 at the latest. [24] The other prominent Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad, was founded in the 10th century, some 70 years later than Prague Castle. [25] Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which began construction in 1344, but wasn't completed until the 20th century. [26]

The legendary origins of Prague attribute its foundation to the 8th-century Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." She ordered a castle and a town called Praha to be built on the site. [18]

The region became the seat of the dukes, and later kings of Bohemia. Under Holy Roman Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973. [27] Until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz. [28]

Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from across Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Abraham ben Jacob. [29] The Old New Synagogue of 1270 still stands in the city. Prague was also once home to an important slave market. [30]

At the site of the ford in the Vltava river, King Vladislaus I had the first bridge built in 1170, the Judith Bridge (Juditin most), named in honour of his wife Judith of Thuringia. [31] This bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1342, but some of the original foundation stones of that bridge remain in the river. It was rebuilt and named the Charles Bridge. [31]

In 1257, under King Ottokar II, Malá Strana ("Lesser Quarter") was founded in Prague on the site of an older village in what would become the Hradčany (Prague Castle) area. [32] This was the district of the German people, who had the right to administer the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights. [33] The new district was on the bank opposite of the Staré Město ("Old Town"), which had borough status and was bordered by a line of walls and fortifications.

The era of Charles IV Edit

Prague flourished during the 14th-century reign (1346–1378) of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Bohemia of the new Luxembourg dynasty. As King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, he transformed Prague into an imperial capital and it was at that time by the area the third-largest city in Europe (after Rome and Constantinople).

Charles IV ordered the building of the New Town (Nové Město) adjacent to the Old Town and laid out the design himself. The Charles Bridge, replacing the Judith Bridge destroyed in the flood just prior to his reign, was erected to connect the east bank districts to the Malá Strana and castle area. On 9 July 1357 at 5:31 am, Charles IV personally laid the first foundation stone for the Charles Bridge. The exact time of laying the first foundation stone is known because the palindromic number 135797531 was carved into the Old Town bridge tower having been chosen by the royal astrologists and numerologists as the best time for starting the bridge construction. [34] In 1347, he founded Charles University, which remains the oldest university in Central Europe.

He began construction of the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, within the largest of the Prague Castle courtyards, on the site of the Romanesque rotunda there. Prague was elevated to an archbishopric in 1344, [35] the year the cathedral was begun.

The city had a mint and was a centre of trade for German and Italian bankers and merchants. The social order, however, became more turbulent due to the rising power of the craftsmen's guilds (themselves often torn by internal fights), and the increasing number of poor.

The Hunger Wall, a substantial fortification wall south of Malá Strana and the Castle area, was built during a famine in the 1360s. The work is reputed to have been ordered by Charles IV as a means of providing employment and food to the workers and their families.

Charles IV died in 1378. During the reign of his son, King Wenceslaus IV (1378–1419), a period of intense turmoil ensued. During Easter 1389, members of the Prague clergy announced that Jews had desecrated the host (Eucharistic wafer) and the clergy encouraged mobs to pillage, ransack and burn the Jewish quarter. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague (3,000 people) was murdered. [36] [37]

Jan Hus, a theologian and rector at the Charles University, preached in Prague. In 1402, he began giving sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel. Inspired by John Wycliffe, these sermons focused on what were seen as radical reforms of a corrupt Church. Having become too dangerous for the political and religious establishment, Hus was summoned to the Council of Constance, put on trial for heresy, and burned at the stake in Constanz in 1415.

Four years later Prague experienced its first defenestration, when the people rebelled under the command of the Prague priest Jan Želivský. Hus' death, coupled with Czech proto-nationalism and proto-Protestantism, had spurred the Hussite Wars. Peasant rebels, led by the general Jan Žižka, along with Hussite troops from Prague, defeated Emperor Sigismund, in the Battle of Vítkov Hill in 1420.

During the Hussite Wars when the City of Prague was attacked by "Crusader" and mercenary forces, the city militia fought bravely under the Prague Banner. This swallow-tailed banner is approximately 4 by 6 feet (1.2 by 1.8 metres), with a red field sprinkled with small white fleurs-de-lis, and a silver old Town Coat-of-Arms in the centre. The words "PÁN BŮH POMOC NAŠE" (The Lord is our Relief) appeared above the coat-of-arms, with a Hussite chalice centred on the top. Near the swallow-tails is a crescent-shaped golden sun with rays protruding.

One of these banners was captured by Swedish troops in Battle of Prague (1648), when they captured the western bank of the Vltava river and were repulsed from the eastern bank, they placed it in the Royal Military Museum in Stockholm although this flag still exists, it is in very poor condition. They also took the Codex Gigas and the Codex Argenteus. The earliest evidence indicates that a gonfalon with a municipal charge painted on it was used for Old Town as early as 1419. Since this city militia flag was in use before 1477 and during the Hussite Wars, it is the oldest still preserved municipal flag of Bohemia.

In the following two centuries, Prague strengthened its role as a merchant city. Many noteworthy Gothic buildings [39] [40] were erected and Vladislav Hall of the Prague Castle was added.

Habsburg era Edit

In 1526, the Bohemian estates elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg. The fervent Catholicism of its members brought them into conflict in Bohemia, and then in Prague, where Protestant ideas were gaining popularity. [41] These problems were not pre-eminent under Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, elected King of Bohemia in 1576, who chose Prague as his home. He lived in the Prague Castle, where his court welcomed not only astrologers and magicians but also scientists, musicians, and artists. Rudolf was an art lover too, and Prague became the capital of European culture. This was a prosperous period for the city: famous people living there in that age include the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, the poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, and others.

In 1618, the famous second defenestration of Prague provoked the Thirty Years' War, a particularly harsh period for Prague and Bohemia. Ferdinand II of Habsburg was deposed, and his place as King of Bohemia taken by Frederick V, Elector Palatine however his army was crushed in the Battle of White Mountain (1620) not far from the city. Following this in 1621 was an execution of 27 Czech Protestant leaders (involved in the uprising) in Old Town Square and the exiling of many others. Prague was forcibly converted back to Roman Catholicism followed by the rest of Czech lands. The city suffered subsequently during the war under an attack by Electoral Saxony (1631) and during the Battle of Prague (1648). [42] Prague began a steady decline which reduced the population from the 60,000 it had had in the years before the war to 20,000. In the second half of the 17th century, Prague's population began to grow again. Jews had been in Prague since the end of the 10th century and, by 1708, they accounted for about a quarter of Prague's population. [43]

In 1689, a great fire devastated Prague, but this spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city. In 1713–14, a major outbreak of plague hit Prague one last time, killing 12,000 to 13,000 people. [44]

In 1744, Frederick the Great of Prussia invaded Bohemia. He took Prague after a severe and prolonged siege in the course of which a large part of the town was destroyed. [45] In 1757 the Prussian bombardment [45] destroyed more than one quarter of the city and heavily damaged St. Vitus Cathedral. However a month later, Frederick the Great was defeated and forced to retreat from Bohemia.

The economy of Prague continued to improve during the 18th century. The population increased to 80,000 inhabitants by 1771. Many rich merchants and nobles enhanced the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens full of art and music, creating a Baroque city renowned throughout the world to this day.

In 1784, under Joseph II, the four municipalities of Malá Strana, Nové Město, Staré Město, and Hradčany were merged into a single entity. The Jewish district, called Josefov, was included only in 1850. The Industrial Revolution had a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coal mines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karlín, was created in 1817, and twenty years later the population exceeded 100,000.

The revolutions in Europe in 1848 also touched Prague, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years, the Czech National Revival began its rise, until it gained the majority in the town council in 1861. Prague had a German-speaking majority in 1848, but by 1880 the number of German speakers had decreased to 14% (42,000), and by 1910 to 6.7% (37,000), due to a massive increase of the city's overall population caused by the influx of Czechs from the rest of Bohemia and Moravia and also due to return of social status importance of the Czech language.

20th century Edit

First Czechoslovak Republic Edit

World War I ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital and Prague Castle as the seat of president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. At this time Prague was a true European capital with highly developed industry. By 1930, the population had risen to 850,000.

Second World War Edit

Hitler ordered the German Army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939, and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. For most of its history, Prague had been a multi-ethnic city [46] with important Czech, German and (mostly native German-speaking) Jewish populations. [47] From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, Hitler took over the Prague Castle. During the Second World War, most Jews were deported and killed by the Germans. In 1942, Prague was witness to the assassination of one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany—Reinhard Heydrich—during Operation Anthropoid, accomplished by Czechoslovak national heroes Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Hitler ordered bloody reprisals. [48]

In February 1945, Prague suffered several bombing raids by the US Army Air Forces. 701 people were killed, more than 1,000 people were injured and some buildings, factories and historical landmarks (Emmaus Monastery, Faust House, Vinohrady Synagogue) were destroyed. [49] Many historic structures in Prague, however, escaped the destruction of the war and the damage was small compared to the total destruction of many other cities in that time. According to American pilots, it was the result of a navigational mistake. In March, a deliberate raid targeted military factories in Prague, killing about 370 people. [50]

On 5 May 1945, two days before Germany capitulated, an uprising against Germany occurred. Several thousand Czechs were killed in four days of bloody street fighting, with many atrocities committed by both sides. At daybreak on 9 May, the 3rd Shock Army of the Red Army took the city almost unopposed. The majority (about 50,000 people) of the German population of Prague either fled or were expelled by the Beneš decrees in the aftermath of the war.

Cold War Edit

Prague was a city in the territory of military and political control of the Soviet Union (see Iron Curtain). The largest Stalin Monument was unveiled on Letná hill in 1955 and destroyed in 1962. The 4th Czechoslovak Writers' Congress held in the city in June 1967 took a strong position against the regime. [51] On 31 October 1967 students demonstrated at Strahov. This spurred the new secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Alexander Dubček, to proclaim a new deal in his city's and country's life, starting the short-lived season of the "socialism with a human face". It was the Prague Spring, which aimed at the renovation of institutions in a democratic way. The other Warsaw Pact member countries, except Romania and Albania, reacted with the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the capital on 21 August 1968 by tanks, suppressing any attempt at reform. Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc committed suicide by self-immolation in January and February 1969 to protest against the "normalization" of the country.

After the Velvet Revolution Edit

In 1989, after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague, and the capital of Czechoslovakia benefited greatly from the new mood. In 1993, after the Velvet Divorce, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic. From 1995 high-rise buildings began to be built in Prague in large quantities. In the late 1990s, Prague again became an important cultural centre of Europe and was notably influenced by globalisation. [52] In 2000, IMF and World Bank summit took place in Prague and anti-globalization riots took place here. In 2002, Prague suffered from widespread floods that damaged buildings and its underground transport system.

Prague launched a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, [53] but failed to make the candidate city shortlist. In June 2009, as the result of financial pressures from the global recession, Prague's officials also chose to cancel the city's planned bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. [54]

The Czech name Praha is derived from an old Slavic word, práh, which means "ford" or "rapid", referring to the city's origin at a crossing point of the Vltava river. [55] The same etymology is associated with the Praga district of Warsaw. [56]

Another view to the origin of name is also related to the Czech word práh (in the mean of a threshold) and a legendary etymology connects the name of the city with princess Libuše, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. She is said to have ordered the city "to be built where a man hews a threshold of his house". The Czech práh might thus be understood to refer to rapids or fords in the river, the edge of which could have acted as a means of fording the river – thus providing a "threshold" to the castle.

Another derivation of the name Praha is suggested from na prazě, the original term for the shale hillside rock upon which the original castle was built. At that time, the castle was surrounded by forests, covering the nine hills of the future city – the Old Town on the opposite side of the river, as well as the Lesser Town beneath the existing castle, appeared only later. [ citation needed ]

The English spelling of the city's name is borrowed from French. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it was pronounced in English to rhyme with "vague": it was so pronounced by Lady Diana Cooper (born 1892) on Desert Island Discs in 1969, [57] and it is written to rhyme with "vague" in a verse of The Beleaguered City by Longfellow (1839) and also in the limerick There was an Old Lady of Prague by Edward Lear (1846).

Prague is also called the "City of a Hundred Spires", based on a count by 19th century mathematician Bernard Bolzano today's count is estimated by the Prague Information Service at 500. [58] Nicknames for Prague have also included: the Golden City, the Mother of Cities and the Heart of Europe. [59]

Climate Edit

Prague has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) [64] [65] with humid continental (Dfb) influences, defined as such by the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm. [66] The winters are relatively cold with average temperatures at about freezing point, and with very little sunshine. Snow cover can be common between mid-November and late March although snow accumulations of more than 20 cm (8 in) are infrequent. There are also a few periods of mild temperatures in winter. Summers usually bring plenty of sunshine and the average high temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Nights can be quite cool even in summer, though. Precipitation in Prague (and most of the Bohemian lowland) is rather low (just over 500 mm [20 in] per year) since it is located in the rain shadow of the Sudetes and other mountain ranges. The driest season is usually winter while late spring and summer can bring quite heavy rain, especially in form of thundershowers. Temperature inversions are relatively common between mid-October and mid-March bringing foggy, cold days and sometimes moderate air pollution. Prague is also a windy city with common sustained western winds and an average wind speed of 16 km/h (10 mph) that often help break temperature inversions and clear the air in cold months.

Climate data for Prague (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.4
(63.3)
19.2
(66.6)
22.5
(72.5)
28.8
(83.8)
32.5
(90.5)
37.9
(100.2)
37.8
(100.0)
37.4
(99.3)
33.1
(91.6)
27.0
(80.6)
19.5
(67.1)
17.4
(63.3)
37.8
(100.0)
Average high °C (°F) 2.6
(36.7)
4.4
(39.9)
9.1
(48.4)
15.1
(59.2)
20.3
(68.5)
22.8
(73.0)
25.3
(77.5)
25.1
(77.2)
19.9
(67.8)
14.2
(57.6)
7.2
(45.0)
3.4
(38.1)
14.1
(57.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.2
(29.8)
−0.2
(31.6)
3.7
(38.7)
8.6
(47.5)
13.7
(56.7)
16.5
(61.7)
18.5
(65.3)
18.0
(64.4)
13.5
(56.3)
8.7
(47.7)
3.4
(38.1)
−0.1
(31.8)
8.6
(47.5)
Average low °C (°F) −2.4
(27.7)
−1.8
(28.8)
1.5
(34.7)
5.1
(41.2)
9.7
(49.5)
12.7
(54.9)
14.5
(58.1)
14.2
(57.6)
10.5
(50.9)
6.4
(43.5)
2.1
(35.8)
−1.1
(30.0)
6.0
(42.7)
Record low °C (°F) −27.5
(−17.5)
−27.1
(−16.8)
−27.6
(−17.7)
−8
(18)
−2.3
(27.9)
1.9
(35.4)
6.7
(44.1)
6.4
(43.5)
0.7
(33.3)
−7.5
(18.5)
−16.9
(1.6)
−24.8
(−12.6)
−27.6
(−17.7)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 34
(1.3)
30
(1.2)
40
(1.6)
34
(1.3)
63
(2.5)
70
(2.8)
82
(3.2)
75
(3.0)
47
(1.9)
34
(1.3)
40
(1.6)
38
(1.5)
587
(23.1)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 17.9
(7.0)
15.9
(6.3)
10.3
(4.1)
2.9
(1.1)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.1
(0.0)
8.4
(3.3)
15.9
(6.3)
71.4
(28.1)
Average precipitation days 5.7 5.2 6.6 5.8 8.5 9.4 8.9 8.4 7.3 5.5 7.1 5.9 84.3
Average relative humidity (%) 86 83 77 69 70 71 70 71 76 81 87 88 77
Average dew point °C (°F) −4.6
(23.7)
−3.5
(25.7)
−1.1
(30.0)
2.0
(35.6)
7.0
(44.6)
10.3
(50.5)
11.6
(52.9)
11.5
(52.7)
9.1
(48.4)
5.1
(41.2)
.6
(33.1)
−2.9
(26.8)
3.8
(38.8)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 50.0 72.4 124.7 167.6 214.0 218.3 226.2 212.3 161.0 120.8 53.9 46.7 1,667.9
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 3 4 6 7 6 6 4 2 1 1 4
Source: World Meteorological Organization (temperature and rainfall 1981–2010) [67] NOAA [68] and Weather Atlas [69]

Administrative division Edit

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and as such is the regular seat of its central authorities. Since 24 November 1990, it is de facto again a statutory town, but has a specific status of the municipality and the region at the same time. Prague also houses the administrative institutions of the Central Bohemian Region.

Until 1949, all administrative districts of Prague were formed by the whole one or more cadastral unit, municipality or town. Since 1949, there has been a fundamental change in the administrative division. Since then, the boundaries of many urban districts, administrative districts and city districts are independent of the boundaries of cadastral territories and some cadastral territories are thus divided into administrative and self-governing parts of the city. Cadastral area (for example, Vinohrady, Smíchov) are still relevant especially for the registration of land and real estate and house numbering.

Prague is divided into 10 municipal districts (1–10), 22 administrative districts (1–22), 57 municipal parts, or 112 cadastral areas.

City government Edit

Prague is automously administered by the Prague City Assembly, which is elected through municipal elections and consists of 55 to 70 members. Executive body of Prague, elected by the Assembly is a Prague City Council. The municipal office of Prague is called Prague City Hall. It has 11 members including the mayor and it prepares proposals for the Assembly meetings and ensures that adopted resolutions are fulfilled. The Mayor of Prague is Czech Pirate Party member Zdeněk Hřib. [70]

According to the 2011 census, about 14% of the city inhabitants were born outside the Czech Republic. That is the highest proportion in the country. [71] However, in 2011, 64.8 per cent of the city's population self-identified themselves as Czechs, which is higher than the national average. Even though official population of Prague hovers around 1.3 million, the real number of people in the city is much higher due to only 65% of its residents being marked as permanently living in the city, [72] these data were taken from mobile phone movements around the city, and bring total population of Prague to about 1.9–2 million, and with additional 300,000 to 400,000 people coming to the city for work, education or shopping, on weekdays there are more than 2 million people in the city. [73]

Development of the Prague population since 1378: [74] [75] [5]

Historic Centre of Prague
UNESCO World Heritage Site
IncludesHistoric Centre of Prague and Průhonice Park
CriteriaCultural: ii, iv, vi
Reference616
Inscription1992 (16th session)
Area1,106.36 ha
Buffer zone9,887.09 ha

The city is traditionally one of the cultural centres of Europe, hosting many cultural events. Some of the significant cultural institutions include the National Theatre (Národní Divadlo) and the Estates Theatre (Stavovské or Tylovo or Nosticovo divadlo), where the premières of Mozart's Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito were held. Other major cultural institutions are the Rudolfinum which is home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Municipal House which is home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra. The Prague State Opera (Státní opera) performs at the Smetana Theatre.

The city has many world-class museums, including the National Museum (Národní muzeum), the Museum of the Capital City of Prague, the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Alfons Mucha Museum, the African-Prague Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Náprstek Museum (Náprstkovo Muzeum), the Josef Sudek Gallery and The Josef Sudek Studio, the National Library and the National Gallery, which manages the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic.

There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city. It hosts music festivals including the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Prague Autumn International Music Festival, the Prague International Organ Festival, the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, [77] and the Prague International Jazz Festival. Film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World Film Festival and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The city also hosts the Prague Writers' Festival, the Prague Folklore Days, Prague Advent Choral Meeting the Summer Shakespeare Festival, [78] the Prague Fringe Festival, the World Roma Festival, as well as the hundreds of Vernissages and fashion shows.

Many films have been made at Barrandov Studios and at Prague Studios. Hollywood films set in Prague include Mission Impossible, xXx, Blade II, Children of Dune, Alien vs. Predator, Doom, Chronicles of Narnia, Hellboy, EuroTrip, Van Helsing, Red Tails, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. [79] Other Czech films shot in Prague include Empties, Amadeus and The Fifth Horseman is Fear. Also, the romantic music video "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS, "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" by Kanye West was shot in the city, and features shots of the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock, among other landmarks. Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" video was filmed at Prague's Radost FX Club. The city was also the setting for the film Dungeons and Dragons in 2000. The music video "Silver and Cold" by AFI, an American rock band, was also filmed in Prague. Many Indian films have also been filmed in the city including Yuvraaj, Drona and Rockstar. Early 2000s europop hit "Something" by "Lasgo" was filmed at the central train station in Prague.

With the growth of low-cost airlines in Europe, Prague has become a weekend city destination allowing tourists to visit its museums and cultural sites as well as try its Czech beers and cuisine.

The city has many buildings by renowned architects, including Adolf Loos (Villa Müller), Frank O. Gehry (Dancing House) and Jean Nouvel (Golden Angel).

Recent major events held in Prague:

    and World Bank Summit 2000 Summit 2002 Session 2004 General Assembly 2006 (Definition of planet)
  • EU & USA Summit 2009 Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2009
  • USA & Russia Summit 2010 (signing of the New START treaty)

Cuisine Edit

In 2008 the Allegro restaurant received the first Michelin star in the whole of the post-Communist part of Central Europe. It retained its star until 2011. As of 2018 [update] there are two Michelin-starred restaurants in Prague: La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise and Field. Another six have been awarded Michelin's Bib Gourmand: Bistrøt 104, Divinis, Eska, Maso a Kobliha, Na Kopci and Sansho.

In Malá Strana, Staré Město, Žižkov and Nusle there are hundreds of restaurants, bars and pubs, especially with Czech beer. Prague also hosts the Czech Beer Festival (Český pivní festival), which is the largest beer festival in the Czech Republic held for 17 days every year in May. At the festival, more than 70 brands of Czech beer can be tasted. There are several microbrewery festivals throughout the year as well.

Czech beer has a long history, with brewing taking place in Břevnov Monastery in 993. Prague is home to historical breweries Staropramen (Praha 5), U Fleků, U Medvídků, U Tří růží, Strahov Monastery Brewery (Praha 1) and Břevnov Monastery Brewery (Praha 6). Among many microbreweries are: Novoměstský, Pražský most u Valšů, Národní, Boršov, Loď pivovar, U Dobřenských, U Dvou koček, U Supa (Praha 1), Pivovarský dům (Praha 2), Sousedský pivovar Bašta (Praha 4), Suchdolský Jeník, Libocký pivovar (Praha 6), Marina (Praha 7), U Bulovky (Praha 8), Beznoska, Kolčavka (Praha 9), Vinohradský pivovar, Zubatý pes, Malešický mikropivovar (Praha 10), Jihoměstský pivovar (Praha 11), Lužiny (Praha 13), Počernický pivovar (Praha 14) and Hostivar (Praha 15).

Prague's economy accounts for 25% of the Czech GDP [80] making it the highest performing regional economy of the country. As of 2019, its GDP per capita in purchasing power standard is €63,900, making it the third best performing region in the EU at 205 per cent of the EU-27 average in 2019. [81]

Prague employs almost a fifth of the entire Czech workforce, and its wages are significantly above average (≈+20%). In 4Q/2020, during the pandemic, average salaries available in Prague reached CZK 45.944 (≈€1,800) per month, an annual increase of 4%, which was nevertheless lower than national increase of 6.5% both in nominal and real terms. (Inflation in the Czech Republic was 3.2% in 4Q/2020.) [82] [83] Since 1990, the city's economic structure has shifted from industrial to service-oriented. Industry is present in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, printing, food processing, manufacture of transport equipment, computer technology and electrical engineering. In the service sector, financial and commercial services, trade, restaurants, hospitality and public administration are the most significant. Services account for around 80 per cent of employment. There are 800,000 employees in Prague, including 120,000 commuters. [80] The number of (legally registered) foreign residents in Prague has been increasing in spite of the country's economic downturn. As of March 2010, 148,035 foreign workers were reported to be living in the city making up about 18 per cent of the workforce, up from 131,132 in 2008. [84] Approximately one-fifth of all investment in the Czech Republic takes place in the city.

Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses.

From the late 1990s to late 2000s, the city was a common filming location for international productions such as Hollywood and Bollywood motion pictures. A combination of architecture, low costs and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proven attractive to international film production companies.

The modern economy of Prague is largely service and export-based and, in a 2010 survey, the city was named the best city in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for business. [85]

In 2005, Prague was deemed among the three best cities in Central and Eastern Europe according to The Economist's livability rankings. [86] The city was named as a top-tier nexus city for innovation across multiple sectors of the global innovation economy, placing 29th globally out of 289 cities, ahead of Brussels and Helsinki for innovation in 2010 in 2thinknow annual analysts Innovation Cities Index. [87]

Na příkopě is the most expensive street among all the states of the V4. [88] In 2017, with the amount of rent €2,640 (CZK 67,480) per square meter per year, ranked on 22nd place among the most expensive streets in the world. [89] The second most expensive is Pařížská street.

In the Eurostat research, Prague ranked fifth among Europe's 271 regions in terms of gross domestic product per inhabitant, achieving 172 per cent of the EU average. It ranked just above Paris and well above the country as a whole, which achieved 80 per cent of the EU average. [90] [91]

Companies with highest turnover in the region in 2014: [92]

Name Turnover, mld. Kč
ČEZ 200.8
Agrofert 166.8
RWE Supply & Trading CZ 146.1

Prague is also the site of some of the most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Romanesque, to Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.

Prague is classified as an "Alpha-" global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Vienna, Manila and Washington, D.C. [93] Prague ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016. [14] Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 8.4 million international visitors annually, as of 2017 [update] .

Main attractions Edit

Hradčany and Lesser Town (Malá Strana) Edit

    with the St. Vitus Cathedral which stores the Czech Crown Jewels
  • The picturesque Charles Bridge (Karlův most)
  • The Baroque Saint Nicholas Church and Infant Jesus of Prague , one of the last preserved city gate of Baroque fortification
  • Petřín Hill with Petřín Lookout Tower, Mirror Maze and Petřín funicular
  • The Franz Kafka Museum , an island with a view of the Charles Bridge [94]
  • The Baroque Wallenstein Palace with its garden

Old Town (Staré Město) and Josefov Edit

  • The Astronomical Clock (Orloj) on Old Town City Hall
  • The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem) from the 14th century with 80 m high towers
  • The vaulted Gothic Old New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga) of 1270 (Prašná brána), a Gothic tower of the old city gates with its elaborate interior decoration (Staroměstské náměstí) with gothic and baroque architectural styles
  • The art nouveau Municipal House, a major civic landmark and concert hall known for its Art Nouveau architectural style and political history in the Czech Republic. , with an extensive collections including glass, furniture, textile, toys, Art Nouveau, Cubism and Art Deco , a baroque palace from 1713
  • Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, with elements of High Baroque and the later Rococo and Second-Rococo adaptations. Known today for its well-preserved dance hall [95][96]

New Town (Nové Město) Edit

  • Busy and historic Wenceslas Square at the head of Wenceslas Square. It is the largest museum in the Czech Republic, covering disciplines from the natural sciences to specialized areas of the social sciences. The staircase of the building offers a nice view of the New Town.
  • The neo-renaissance National Museum with large scientific and historical collections
  • The National Theatre, a neo-Renaissance building with golden roof, alongside the banks of the Vltava river
  • The deconstructivistDancing House (Fred and Ginger Building) , the largest medieval square in Europe (now turned into a park)
  • The Emmaus monastery and WW Memorial "Prague to Its Victorious Sons" at Palacky Square (Palackého náměstí)
  • The museum of the Heydrich assassination in the crypt of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius 's Jubilee Synagogue is the largest in Prague
  • The Mucha Museum, showcasing the Art Nouveau works of Alphonse Mucha

Vinohrady and Žižkov Edit

  • The neo-Gothic Church of St. Ludmila at Míru Square in Vinohrady in Olšany, location of Franz Kafka's grave – Prague 3
  • The Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church at Jiřího z Poděbrad Square
  • The Vinohrady grand Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Pseudo Baroque, and Neo-Gothic buildings in the area between Míru Square, Jiřího z Poděbrad Square and Havlíčkovy sady park [97]

Other places Edit

    with Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, Vyšehrad cemetery and Prague oldest Rotunda of St. Martin
  • The Prague Metronome at Letná Park, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city in Troja, selected as the 7th best zoo in the world by Forbes magazine in 2007 [98] and the 4th best by TripAdvisor in 2015 [99] (Průmyslový palác), Křižík's Light fountain, funfair Lunapark and Sea World Aquarium in Výstaviště compound in Holešovice (Star Villa) in Liboc, a renaissance villa in the shape of a six-pointed star surrounded by a game reserve with large collection of Czech and international paintings and sculptures by artists such as Mucha, Kupka, Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh
  • Opera performances in National Theatre – unlike drama, all opera performances run with English subtitles. , a busy part of the city with modern architecture and a shopping mall
  • The large Nusle Bridge, spans the Nusle Valley, linking New Town to Pankrác, with the Metro running underneath the road , an old Czech premonstratensian abbey founded in 1149 and monastic library , a four-star hotel and Czech cultural monument

The Charles Bridge is a historic bridge from the 14th century

Prague Castle is the biggest ancient castle in the world

St. Nicholas Church in Malá Strana is the best example of the Baroque style in Prague

Vyšehrad fortress contains Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, the Vyšehrad Cemetery and the oldest Rotunda of St. Martin

Míru Square with Vinohrady Theatre and Church of St. Ludmila

National Theatre offers opera, drama, ballet and other performances

Výstaviště compound contains Průmyslový palác, Křižík's Light Fountain and host funfair Lunapark

Old New Synagogue is Europe's oldest active synagogue. Legend has Golem lying in the loft

National Monument on Vítkov Hill, the statue of Jan Žižka is the third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world

Prague Zoo, selected in 2015 as the fourth best zoo in the world by TripAdvisor

Tourism statistics Edit

[100]
Country Number Country Number
1st Germany 2,087,048 6th Spain 641,011
2nd Russia 1,395,958 7th France 590,835
3rd United States 1,185,298 8th China 568,049
4th United Kingdom 1,091,314 9th Slovakia 551,864
5th Italy 926,576 10th South Korea 488,078

Nine public universities and thirty six private universities are located in the city, including: [101]

Public universities Edit

    (UK) founded in 1348, the oldest university in Central Europe (ČVUT) founded in 1707 (VŠCHT) founded in 1920 (VŠE) founded in 1953 (ČZU) founded in 1906/1952 (PA ČR) founded in 1993

Public arts academies Edit

Private universities Edit

Largest private colleges Edit

    (VŠO) founded in 2000 [cs] (VŠEM) founded in 2001 [cs] (VŠPP) founded in 2000 [cs] (VŠH) founded in 1999 (VŠMVV) founded in 2001 (CEVRO) founded in 2005 (AMBIS) founded in 1994 [ Wikidata ] (VŠZú founded in 2005 (AAVŠ) founded in 2000 (UNYP) founded in 1998

International institutions Edit

The region city of Prague is an important centre of research. It is the seat of 39 out of 54 institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, including the largest ones, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Microbiology and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. It is also a seat of 10 public research institutes, four business incubators and large hospitals performing research and development activities such as the Motol University Hospital or Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, which was the largest transplant center in Europe as of 2019. [102] Universities seated in Prague (see section Colleges and Universities) also represent important centres of science and research activities.

As of 2008 [update] , there were 13,000 researchers (out of 30,000 in the country, counted in full-time equivalents), representing a 3% share of Prague' s="" economically="" active="" population.="" gross="" expenditure="" on="" research="" and="" development="" accounted="" for="" €901.3="" million="" (41.5%="" of="" country's="" total).="" [103]="">

Some well-known multinational companies have established research and development facilities in Prague, among them Siemens, Honeywell, Oracle, Microsoft and Broadcom.

Prague was selected to host administration of the EU satellite navigation system Galileo. It started to provide its first services in December 2016 and full completion is expected by 2020.

As of 2017, Prague had transport modal share: 52% of all trips are done in public transport, 24,5% in car, 22,4% on foot, 0,4% on bike and 0,5% by airplane. [104]

Public transportation Edit

The public transport infrastructure consists of a heavily used Prague Integrated Transport (PID, Pražská integrovaná doprava) of Prague Metro (lines A, B, and C – its length is 65 km (40 mi) with 61 stations in total), Prague tram system, Prague buses, commuter S-trains, funiculars, and six ferries. Prague has one of the highest rates of public transport usage in the world, [105] with 1.2 billion passenger journeys per year. Prague has about 300 bus lines (numbers 100–960) and 34 tram lines (numbers 1–26 without 19 and 91–99 ). There are also three funiculars, one on Petřín Hill, one on Mrázovka Hill and a third at the Zoo in Troja.

The Prague tram system now operates various types of trams, including the Tatra T3, newer Tatra KT8D5, T6A5, Škoda 14 T (designed by Porsche), newer modern Škoda 15 T and nostalgic tram lines 23 and 41. Around 400 vehicles are the modernized T3 class, which are typically operated coupled together in pairs.

The Prague tram system is the twelfth longest in the world (142 km) and its rolling stock consists of 857 individual cars, [106] which is the third largest in the world behind Moscow and Budapest. The system carries more than 360 million passengers annually, the highest tram patronage in the world after Budapest, on a per capita basis, Prague has the second highest tram patronage after Zürich.

All services (metro, tramways, city buses, funiculars and ferries) have a common ticketing system that operates on a proof-of-payment system. Basic transfer ticket can be bought for a 30/90-minute ride, short-term tourist passes are available for periods of 24 hours or 3 days, longer-term tickets can be bought on the smart ticketing system Lítačka card, for periods of one month, three months or one year. [107]

Services are run by the Prague Public Transport Company (Dopravní podnik hl. m. Prahy, a. s.) and several other companies. Since 2005 the Regional Organiser of Prague Integrated Transport (ROPID) has franchised operation of ferries on the Vltava river, which are also a part of the public transport system with common fares. Taxi services make pick-ups on the streets or operate from regulated taxi stands.

Prague Metro Edit

The Metro has three major lines extending throughout the city: A (green), B (yellow) and C (red). A fourth Metro line D is planned, which would connect the city centre to southern parts of the city (as of 2021, the completion is expected in 2028). [108] [109] The Prague Metro system served 589.2 million passengers in 2012, [110] making it the fifth busiest metro system in Europe and the most-patronised in the world on a per capita basis. The first section of the Prague metro was put into operation in 1974. It was the stretch between stations Kačerov and Florenc on the current line C. The first part of Line A was opened in 1978 (Dejvická – Náměstí Míru), the first part of line B in 1985 (Anděl – Florenc).

In April 2015, construction finished to extend the green line A further into the northwest corner of Prague closer to the airport. [111] A new interchange station for the bus in the direction of the airport is the station Nádraží Veleslavín. The final station of the green line is Nemocnice Motol (Motol Hospital), giving people direct public transportation access to the largest medical facility in the Czech Republic and one of the largest in Europe. A railway connection to the airport is planned.

In operation there are two kinds of units: "81-71M" which is modernized variant of the Soviet Metrovagonmash 81-71 (completely modernized between 1995 and 2003) and new "Metro M1" trains (since 2000), manufactured by consortium consisting of Siemens, ČKD Praha and ADtranz. The minimum interval between two trains is 90 seconds.

The original Soviet vehicles "Ečs" were excluded in 1997, but one vehicle is placed in public transport museum in depot Střešovice. [112] The Náměstí Míru metro station is the deepest station and is equipped with the longest escalator in European Union. The Prague metro is generally considered very safe.

Roads Edit

The main flow of traffic leads through the centre of the city and through inner and outer ring roads (partially in operation).

  • Inner Ring Road (The City Ring "MO"): Once completed it will surround the wider central part of the city. The longest city tunnel in Europe with a length of 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) and five interchanges has been completed to relieve congestion in the north-western part of Prague. Called Blanka tunnel complex and part of the City Ring Road, it was estimated to eventually cost – after several increases – CZK 43 billion. Construction started in 2007 and, after repeated delays, the tunnel was officially opened in September 2015. This tunnel complex completes a major part of the inner ring road.
  • Outer Ring Road (The Prague Ring "D0"): This ring road will connect all major motorways and speedways that meet each other in Prague region and provide faster transit without a necessity to drive through the city. So far 39 km (24 mi), out of a total planned 83 km (52 mi), is in operation. Most recently, the southern part of this road (with a length of more than 20 km (12 mi)) was opened on 22 September 2010. [113] As of 2021, the next 12 km (7 mi) section between Modletice and Běchovice is planned to be completed in 2025. [114]

Rail Edit

The city forms the hub of the Czech railway system, with services to all parts of the country and abroad. The railway system links Prague with major European cities (which can be reached without transfers), including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Nurenberg and Dresden (Germany) Vienna, Graz and Linz (Austria) Warsaw, Wrocław and Cracow (Poland) Bratislava and Košice (Slovakia) Budapest (Hungary) Zürich (Switzerland) Split and Rijeka (Croatia, seasonal) Belgrade (Serbia, seasonal) and Moscow (Russia). Travel times range between 2 hours to Dresden and 28 hours to Moscow. [115]

Prague's main international railway station is Hlavní nádraží, [116] rail services are also available from other main stations: Masarykovo nádraží, Holešovice and Smíchov, in addition to suburban stations. Commuter rail services operate under the name Esko Praha, which is part of PID (Prague Integrated Transport).

Air Edit

Prague is served by Václav Havel Airport Prague, the largest airport in the Czech Republic and one of the largest and busiest airports in central and eastern Europe. The airport is the hub of carriers Smartwings and Czech Airlines operating throughout Europe. Other airports in Prague include the city's original airport in the north-eastern district of Kbely, which is serviced by the Czech Air Force, also internationally. It also houses the Prague Aviation Museum. The nearby Letňany Airport is mainly used for private aviation and aeroclub aviation. Another airport in the proximity is Aero Vodochody aircraft factory to the north, used for testing purposes, as well as for aeroclub aviation. There are a few aeroclubs around Prague, such as the Točná airfield.

Cycling Edit

In 2018, 1–2.5 % of people commute by bike in Prague, depending on season. Cycling is very common as a sport or recreation. [117] As of 2019, there were 194 km (121 mi) of protected cycle paths and routes. Also, there were 50 km (31 mi) of bike lanes and 26 km (16 mi) of specially marked bus lanes that are free to be used by cyclists. [118] As of 2021, there are four companies providing bicycle sharing in Prague, none of them is subsidized by the city: Rekola (1,000 bikes), Nextbike (1,000 bikes), Bolt and Lime.

Prague is the site of many sports events, national stadiums and teams.

    (Czech First League) – football club (Czech First League) – football club (Czech First League) – football club (Czech 2nd Football League) – football club (Czech 2nd Football League) – football club (Czech Extraliga) – ice hockey club (Czech 2nd Hockey League) – ice hockey club (National Basketball League) – basketball club – the second largest ice hockey arena in Europe. It hosted 2004 and 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship, NHL 2008 and 2010 Opening Game and Euroleague Final Four – the largest stadium in the world – Tennis Tournament held by the I. Czech Lawn Tennis Club – Tennis Tournament held in Prague 7 – Athletics meeting
  • World Ultimate Club Championships 2010 concluded in Strahov and Eden Arena[119]
  • Mystic SK8 Cup – World Cup of Skateboarding venue takes place at the Štvanice skatepark – sport area with a large concrete skatepark, the highest outdoor climbing wall in Central Europe, four beach volleyball courts and children's playground, [120] Central European Beach Volleyball Championship 2018 took place here.

The city of Prague maintains its own EU delegation in Brussels called Prague House. [121]

Prague was the location of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech on 5 April 2009, which led to the New START treaty with Russia, signed in Prague on 8 April 2010. [122]

The annual conference Forum 2000, which was founded by former Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yōhei Sasakawa, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel in 1996, is held in Prague. Its main objective is "to identify the key issues facing civilization and to explore ways to prevent the escalation of conflicts that have religion, culture or ethnicity as their primary components", and also intends to promote democracy in non-democratic countries and to support civil society. Conferences have attracted a number of prominent thinkers, Nobel laureates, former and acting politicians, business leaders and other individuals like: Frederik Willem de Klerk, Bill Clinton, Nicholas Winton, Oscar Arias Sánchez, Dalai Lama, Hans Küng, Shimon Peres and Madeleine Albright.

Twin towns – sister cities Edit

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Chicago, United States
  • Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Miami-Dade County, United States
  • Nuremberg, Germany
  • Phoenix, United States
  • Taipei, Taiwan

Namesakes Edit

A number of other settlements are derived or similar to the name of Prague. In many of these cases, Czech emigration has left a number of namesake cities scattered over the globe, with a notable concentration in the New World.

Additionally, Kłodzko is sometimes referred to as "Little Prague" (German: Klein-Prag). Although now in Poland, it had been traditionally a part of Bohemia until 1763 when it became part of Silesia. [128]


Veneration of the Infant Jesus

Veneration of the Prague Infant Jesus is a spiritual extension of Christmas. We bow down to Christ embodied. We profess that God took onto Himself human form and recognise that childhood is part of it. “God made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness…” (Phil 2,7). Jesus Christ experiences complete human life, from beginning to end. In His conception, birth, and childhood we meet the real God, as well as in his adulthood, death, and resurrection. Adult Jesus, Master and teacher, later on invites his disciples: “In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18,3)

Veneration worldwide

Initially veneration was spread by the Carmelite order. A copy of the gracious statue has travelled to almost every monastery. From the middle 18 th century the veneration of the Prague Infant Jesus spread to all the countries of the former Austrian empire. A second wave of veneration occurred at the turn of 19 th and 20 th century when veneration miraculously spread all over the world. This spread of veneration also has its strongest roots in Spain, from where the Infant Jesus originates. Spanish and Portuguese travelled with pictures and statues of the Infant Jesus across the Atlantic Ocean to the colonial countries in South America. Thanks to missionaries and European immigrants, the Infant Jesus is known in India, China, the Philippines, and in North America. Today it is venerated most in Spanish-speaking countries. News of prayers being miraculously answered comes from all over the world.


The devotion to the Holy Child Jesus has long been a tradition of the Catholic Church for a very long time. This devotion is a veneration of our Lord's sacred Infancy. Many saints had a very strong devotion to the Divine Child, notably St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Teresa of Avila.

Prague is the capitol city of the Czech Republic, which is at the very central of Europe with Germany, Poland, Russia and Austria as its neighbours. The history of the Infant Jesus of Prague started in the 17th century when a statue of the Infant Jesus was brought into Bohemia (now Czech Republic) and eventually was given to the Discalced Carmelites in Prague. Since then, the statue has remained in Prague and has drawn many devotees worldwide to go and honor the Holy Child. Many graces, blessings, favors and miraculous healings have been received by many who petitioned before the Infant Jesus.

The exact origin of the Infant Jesus statue was not truly known, but historical sources point to a small 28cm high sculpture of the Holy Child with a bird in his right hand carved in around the year 1340. Many other Infant Jesus sculptures were also carved by famous masters throughout Europe in the Middle Ages.

The popularity of the Child Jesus grew in the Baroque period in Spain which may have been caused by the visions of St. Teresa of Avila. A number of sculptures made in Spain eventually found their way to Prague. These sculptures were made of wax, ivory, and bronze and were dressed in garments reflecting the aristocratic fashion of that period.

It is unknown to this date which of those early sculptures that got to Prague was the exact origin of the Infant Jesus of Prague. It was speculated that it came from a monastery in Bohemia and from there it was obtained by Dona Isabella Manrique who gave it as a wedding gift to her daughter Marie Manrique who married a noble of the Czech kingdom. Later, the Holy Infant statue was again given to Marie's daughter Polyxena as a wedding gift in 1587. In 1628, Lady Polyxena presented the statue to the Carmelites at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Mala Strana saying, "I am giving you what I most esteem of my possessions. Keep the sculpture in reference and you will be well off".1 This statue then became known as the Infant Jesus of Prague. It stands 47 cm high (includes a 2cm base) and has a long gown around the wax body.

Shortly after 1628, the Saxons and the Swedes took turns to invade Prague and the Carmelites had to flee and the veneration of the Holy Infant ceased. It was not until 1638 that a young priest named Fr. P. Cyril, a Matre Dei, returned to Prague and found the Holy Infant statue buried in the ruins of the Lady of Victory church. Fr. Cyril cleaned the statue and placed it in the oratory for worship. While he was praying before the Infant Jesus, he heard the Infant Jesus say, "Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you". 2

The repairing of the statue's hand was a miracle since Fr. Cyril and his peers did not have the financial resources nor the know-how to repair it. Through prayer, Fr. Cyril asked the Blessed Virgin Mary in several occassions to to provide the necessary funds for fixing the Infant statue. The Divine Infant spoke to him again, "Place Me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid".3 Fr. Cyril then did what he was told and in a few days time, the statue was fixed by a man who came to the sacristy to offer help.

Since the statue was fixed, a number of miracles had occurred and the word began to spread, resulting in a large increase of veneration to the Holy Child. This includes the Czech nobles as well. These early miracles were recorded in a book by P. Emerich a St Stephano, published in German in 1736 and in Czech in 1749.4

In 1641, an altar was built for the Infant Jesus in the church, and in 1644 a chapel was built, but was not completed until 1654. Many nobles of the time had greatly supported the Infant Jesus, among them were Lady Polyxena, King Ferdinard (Czech), King Charles Gustav(Sweden), and Bernard Ignatius of the Lords of Martinic. It is interesting to note that the crown over the Divine Infant's head came from Bernard Ignatius, who presented the Infant statue with a little gold crown set with precious stones and jewels on January 14, 1651 during a procession that carried the Infant Jesus statue from the Lady of Victory church to other Prague churches. The Infant Jesus was solemnly coronated on April 4, 1655 by the Archbishop Josef Corta acting for Cardinal Harrach III who was sick.

After that period, Prague went through more wars and unrest but the church and the Infant Jesus chapel was miraculously protected. In 1776 the altar was rebuilt using marble and two huge sculptures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were placed to the left and right sides of the altar. The Holy Infant was kept in a glass case standing on a pedestal engraved with crystals, and surrounding the Infant were twenty angels in gold.

Since then copies of the Infant Jesus were made and distributed throughout European churches. The Spanish colonial efforts later brought the Infant Jesus to the Philippines and to central America. And since then, the devotion has kept spreading to all parts of the world.

The Lady of Victory church was officially returned back to the Discalced Carmalites in 1993 since the takeover by the Maltese Knights in 1784. Today, thousands of pilgrims pay homage to the Infant of Prague each year. The tradition of the Infant Jesus procession and the coronation continues to this day. On May 27,1995, a solemn procession of the Infant Jesus took place in the streets of Prague with Cardinal Sin of Manila (Philippines) and Cardinal Vlk of Prague leading the procession. This ceremony was the closing highlight of the annual Feast of the Infant Jesus in Prague.

As the devotion to the Infant Jesus spreads throughout the world, many parishes now offer Holy Mass and novenas to honor the Holy Child of God and many prayer groups have been formed. Jesus has kept His promise that the more that He is honored, the more that He will bless them. This is truly evidenced by the many favors He has granted to those who ask Him.

1. Forbelsky, Royt, Horyna: Holy Infant of Prague, Arentinum, Prague, 1992

2. 'Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague', Tan Books, Rockford, 1975

1. Daughters of St. Paul : Infant of Prague Devotions, St. Paul Books & Media, Boston, 1992 2. Joan Cruz : Prayers and Heavenly Promises, Tan Books, Rockford, 1990 3. Lady of Victory Parish, Prague, Czech Republic 4. Sanctuary of the Infant Jesus, Arezano, Italy


Watch the video: Hans Zimmer - Time Inception - Live in Prague (January 2022).