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History of Prague – Czech Republic – through the Centuries


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

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
  • 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.