Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and its political, cultural and economy center. In 1992 the historical center (866 hectares) was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritrage Register!
Czechs are West Slavs, as are Poles and Slovaks. The capital Prague is often called The Heart of Europe. There are about 10 million people in the Czech Republic and about 1.3 million people in Prague. Western part of the Czech Republic is called Bohemia, eastern Moravia.
Before the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century this area was inhabited by Germanic and Celtic tribes. A lot of rulers and kings ruled the people in Bohemia from the 7th to 19th centuries. Let us notice two of them: emperor Charles IV and emperor Rudolf II. During the reign of Charles IV. (1346-78), as king of Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor, Prague grew into one of the largest cities in Europe. It acquired its fine Gothic face and landmarks including Charles University, Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral. In the second half of the 16th century the city experienced great prosperity under emperor Rudolf II. and was made the seat of the Habsburg Empire. Rudolf II established great collections of art and renowned artists and scholars were invited to his court.
At the beginning of the 20th century Bohemia was a part of Austrian Empire. After World War I in 1918 Czechoslovakia declared its independence. The new republic had three parts: Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. The popular Tomáš Garrique Masaryk became the first president.
In October 1938 the Nazis occupied the Sudetenland, with the acquiescence of Britain and France, after the infamous Munich Agreement. In March 1939 Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia proclaimed independence as a Nazi puppet state.
After World War II in 1945 Czechoslovakia was reestablished as an independent state.
In the 1946 elections, the Communists became the largest party with 36% of the popular vote and formed coalition government. In 1948 the Communist staged coup d'etat and Czechoslovakia became a communist country. In the 1960s Czechoslovakia enjoyed a gradual liberalization under the reformist general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek. But this short period was crushed by a Soviet invasion in August 1968. In 1969 the reformist Dubcek was replaced by the orthodox Gustav Husak and Czechoslovakia stayed a communist country under the Soviet influence.
The communist government resignated in November 1989 after a week of demonstrations known as the Velvet Revolution. The popular Václav Havel was elected president of the republic. At the end of 1992 Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and Slovak Republic (Slovakia). This peaceful splitting is called the Velvet Divorce.
Twelve years later, on May 1, 2004 Czech Republic became a part of the European Union.
9th century The arrival of the Slavs to the territory of present day Prague. Last quarter Foundation of a prince´s hill-fort, the future Prague Of 9th century Castle
1070 Foundation of the Vysehrad Chapter.
1234 Fortification of the Old Town of Prague, town status granted.
1257 Foundation of second Prague town, the present Lesser Town.
1320 Foundation of third Town Hradcany.
1344 The Prague bishop is raised to archbishop.
1346-1378 Prague is the residential town of the Court of Emperor Charles IV and one of the largest cities in Europe.
1348 Foundation of the first university in Central Europe and of the New Town of Prague.
1419 Defenestration of the Counselors from the windows of the New Town of Prague.
1583-1612 The Imperial Court of Rudolph II resides in Prague, accumulation of extensive art collections.
1618 Defenestration of the Governors of Bohemia at Prague Castle. Battle of the White Mountain, victory of the Habsburk dynasty.
1621 Execution of 27 leaders of the Hussite uprising of the estates on the Old Town Square.
1648 Swedish siege to Prague.
1680 Major outbreak of the plague.
1741 Invasion of Prague by French, Saxon and Bavarian troops.
1848 Meeting of the Slavonic Congress, June uprising, battles on the barricades.
1866 Decision to demolish the town fortification - decree issued by Emperor Franz Joseph I - formation of Greater Prague.
1867 Foundation stone of the National Theatre laid.
1918 Proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic, election of T.G. Masaryk as first President.
1939 Occupation by the German armies, establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemian and Moravia.
1942 Assassination of the Reich Protector R. Heydrich.
1945 Prague uprising and liberation by the Red Army.
1968 "Prague Spring" forcible brought to an end when the armies of five Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia
1974 Prague Metro starts operation.
1989 The "Velvet Revolution", end of the dominance of the communist Party, Vaclav Havel elected for Czech president
1990 First free parlament elections after 52 years
1993 Czechoslovakia split into two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.