Crest of Prague

PRAGUE is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and fourteenth largest city in European Union. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of nearly 2.0 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters.

Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100 year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in modern history generally as the principal conurbation in Bohemia and Moravia whose second city is Brno.

Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. Main attractions include the following: Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Prague boasts more than ten major museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, Prague is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including the famous Charles University. Prague is classified as a Beta+ global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Berlin, Rome, or Houston. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.1 million international visitors annually, as of 2009. In 2011, Prague was the sixth most visited city in Europe.

The city of Prague has borderline oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). The winters are relatively cold with very little sunshine. Snow cover is common between mid-November to late March but is usually not too heavy. Summers usually bring fine sunny days with highs being around 25 degrees. Nights can be quite cool even in summer, though. Precipitation in Prague is rather low (it is less rainy than Rome and Paris) as the shadow of the Ore Mountains and the Czech Central Highlands takes effect. The driest season is usually winter while the summers can bring quite heavy rain especially in form of violent storms and showers. Temperature inversions are relatively common between mid-October and mid-March bringing often cloudy, cold days in comparison with mountains or highlands and can be often connected with air pollution.

Prague's economy accounts for 25% of the Czech Republic's GDP making it the highest performing regional economy of the country. According to the Eurostat, as of 2007, its GDP per capita in purchasing power standard is 42,800 €. Prague ranked the 5th best-performing European NUTS 2 level region at 172 % of the EU-27 average.

The city is the site of the European headquarters of many international companies.

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Last update: 2012-06-17 00:00:00

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