Prague

capital city of the Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, and the historical capital of Bohemia. On the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, with relatively warm summers and chilly winters. Prague is a political, cultural, and economic hub of central Europe, with a rich history and Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectures. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably Charles IV (r. 1346–1378). The Thirty Years' War started in the city after Protestant nobles threw several Catholic Hapsburg officials out a window in 1618. It later served as the capital and largest city of Czechoslovakia between its foundation at the end of World War I in 1918 and its partition into the Czech Republic and Slovakia after the end of the Cold War in 1992. During that time the city was also occupied by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

View from the tower of Old Town Hall in Prague

Quotes edit

  • The people from Prague and other Czechs should be whipped who speak half Czech and half German (...) And who could enumerate how the Czech language has already been corrupted, so that the true Czech hears they speak, but he does not understand them. And from that arises envy, anger, conflict, strife and Czech humiliation.
  • While many of the world's richest people live in London, four of its boroughs rank among the twenty poorest in England, and 27 percent of the city's population live in poverty. London's polarized economic landscape is typical of "superstar" cities. Other leading cities of EuropeOslo, Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, Madrid, Prague, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vienna, Vilnius—also suffer widening gaps between the top and the bottom of the social hierarchy.
    • Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class (2020), p. 133
  • In Prague classical architecture becomes romantic, and romantic architecture absorbs the classical characters to endow the earth with a particular kind of surreal humanity. Both become cosmic, not in the sense of abstract order, but as spiritual aspiration. Evidently Prague is one of the great meeting-places where a multitude of meanings are gathered.
  • To my mind, imperialism is something very simple and clear and it exists as a fact when one country, a large country, seizes a certain strip of territory and subjects to its laws a certain number of men and women against their will. Soviet policy after the beginning of the second world war was precisely this. There is no difficulty in pointing this out, but the difficulty lies in the fact that when one quotes from memory one will forget one or other argument. Because the Russians, thanks to the second world war, have quite simply annexed the three Baltic States, taken a piece of Finland, a piece of Rumania, a piece of Poland, a piece of Germany and, thanks to a well thought-out policy composed of internal subversion and external pressure, have established Governments justifiably styled as Satellites, in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, Tirana and East Berlin - I except Belgrade where the regime is unique thanks to the energy and courage of Marshal Tito. If all this does not constitute manifestations of imperialism, if all this is not the result of a policy consciously willed and consciously pursued, an imperialist aim, then indeed we shall have to start to go back to a new discussion and a new definition of words.
  • The determining factor in international politics after the second world war-was the coup d'etat at Prague, the disappearance of a democratic progressive policy and its replacement by a totalitarian government with a Communist minority. It will have a singularly important place devoted to it when the time comes to write the post-war history of international politics. The coup d'etat at Prague, the disappearance of Czechoslovakia as a free democratic State, was the last straw on the camel's back, or, if you prefer, the flash of lightning which opened the most stubborn eyes. Everyone understood in Western Europe, and fortunately also in the New World, that if we wanted to prevent the continuing unbounded development of Soviet imperialism, if we wanted to prevent its repetition in other capitals or in other more or less similar ways, yet following the same pattern, the same political procedure, that if we wanted to avoid the repetition of the events of Prague, then the Western countries had got to unite, to draw together and give Soviet Russia clearly to under- stand that Prague represented the last manifestation of this imperialism which we could permit without far more important and serious results.
  • The French writer, Albert Camus, once lamented that "man eventually becomes accustomed to everything". I have always believed that this is an unjustly pessimistic view of our human condition; and in recent weeks I have seen enough to convince me that Camus, on this point at least, was wrong: 30,000 East Germans abandoning home, friends, jobs, everything, to escape to a new life of opportunity but also uncertainty in the West; thousands of Soviet miners striking not for more pay, but for better supplies; the joy of Poles as they greet their first non-Communist Prime Minister in 40 years; over a million inhabitants of the Baltic states forming a human chain to protest against the forced annexation of their nations; demonstrators in Prague braving the security forces to mark the 21st anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion; or in Leipzig calling for freedom of speech. Clearly the peoples of the East have not become accustomed to their lot. Totalitarian rule has not made people less attracted by freedom, democracy and self-determination. The opposite is true. Nor has it made them incapable of exercising these values through political organization and self-expression: look at the debates in the new Congress of the People's Deputies, the activities of the popular fronts, Solidarity in Poland or the opposition parties in Hungary. The demand for pluralism and reform can now be heard in every Eastern nation.

External links edit

  Encyclopedic article on Prague on Wikipedia