History of Prague

History of Prague through the Centuries

9th century
– The Prague Castle is founded around 880 by prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid dynasty.
– Prague is established.
– Some members of the Premyslid dynasty embrace Christianity brought to the Czech lands by Cyril
– and Methodius, the “apostles of the Slavs”.

10th century
– Foundations are laid to St. Vitus Rotunda and the Vyšehrad Castle.
– The Prague bishopric is founded in 973.

11th century
– Vratislav II becomes the first Czech king in 1085 but remains subordinate to the Holy Roman Empire
– and the German king.

12th century
– The first stone bridge over the Vltava, Judith Bridge, is built in 1172.

13th century
– The Old Town (Staré město) is founded in 1231.
– The Lesser Town (Malá Strana) is founded in 1257.

14th century – Prague’s Golden Age
– John of Luxembourg rules the country (1310-1346).
– The Prague Castle Area (Hradčany) is founded around 1320.
– The Old Town Hall is founded in 1338.
– Judith Bridge collapses in a flood in 1342.
– Charles IV rules the country (1346-1378) and will be remembered as the most beloved Czech king.
– Prague becomes one of the most prosperous cities in Europe and the cultural capital of Central
– Europe.
– The Prague bishopric is upgraded to an archbishopric.
– Construction of St. Vitus cathedral begins.
– The New Town (Nové město) is founded in 1348.
– Charles University is established in 1348 and becomes the first university in Central Europe.
– Charles IV elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1355; Prague becomes the capital of the Holy Roman
– Empire.
– Construction of Charles Bridge begins in 1357.

15th century
– The Hussite wars are sweeping the country from 1419 to 1437 as a result of the religious conflicts
– between the Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church. Many historical artifacts are destroyed and
– the Prague Castle deteriorates.

16th century and Prague’s Second Golden Age
– The reign of the Habsburg dynasty begins in 1526 and the seat of power moves to Vienna.
– Prague Castle is reconstructed in the Renaissance style and a number of recreational sites are added
– (the Royal Garden, the Belvedere, the Ballgame Hall, etc.)
– Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, is crowned the Czech king in 1575 and moves his court back to
– Prague in 1583. Prague becomes the center of science and alchemy and earns the nickname “Magic
– Prague”. Many famous scientists are attracted to Prague, such as astronomers Tycho de Brahe and
– Johannes Kepler.

17th century
– The Protestant uprising begins in 1618.
– Protestants are severely defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain (bitva na Bílé hoře) in 1620.
– The Dark Age of the Czech history (doba temna) begins.
– Prague loses importance and the Prague Castle deteriorates.

18th century
– The four independent urban areas of Prague (Old Town, Malá Strana, Hradčany, New Town) are
– united by Joseph II in 1784.
– A Czech nationalist movement called the National Revival (národní obrození) begins in 1784.
– The Czech language, culture and national identity are being brought back to life.
– Joseph II issues the Edict of Tolerance in 1781, granting political and religious rights to religious
– minorities.

19th century
– The Industrial Revolution begins.
– A railway between Vienna and Prague opens in 1845.
– The growing industry results in an increase of Prague’s Czech population as people move to the city
– from the countryside.
– Josefov is added to Prague’s historical center in 1850.
– The National Revival continues. Czech institutions are established to celebrate the Czech history
– and culture: the National Theater opens in 1868, the National Museum opens in 1890.

20th century
– The Austro-Hungarian empire falls in 1918 and Prague becomes the capital of independent
– Czechoslovakia.
– Prague Castle becomes the seat of the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
– Prague becomes close with Paris between WWI and WWII.
– Prague and the rest of the country are occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II (1939-1945).
– The Prague Uprising and liberation by the Soviet Red Army end World War II in 1945.
– The Communist Party seizes power after the February 25, 1948 coup d’etat.
– Alexander Dubček, secretary of the Communist Party, attempts to create “socialism with a human
– face”, culminating in the spring of 1968 (“Prague Spring”).
– “Prague Spring” fails and five Warsaw Pact member countries invade Czechoslovakia on August 21,
– 1968.
– The Velvet Revolution starts in Prague on November 17, 1989 and brings an end to communism.
– Czechoslovakia becomes a democratic country.
– Václav Havel, former dissident, is elected president in the country’s first democratic elections
– in January 1990.
– Czechoslovakia splits into two independent countries, Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1,
– 1993. Prague becomes the capital of the Czech Republic.
– Václav Havel is elected first president of the Czech Republic in January 1993.
– The Czech Republic joins NATO in 1999.
– In 2002, the Czech Republic is approved to become a member of the European Union.
– The Czech Republic is accepted into the European Union on May 1, 2004.