Facts and Figures
The former state of Czechoslovakia, now dividend into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, was a land –locked country extending from west to east in eastern Central Europe, surrounded by Germany in the west, Poland along its whole northern frontier, the Ukraine in the east, Hungary to the south-east and Austria to the south.
The Czech Republic is bounded on the west by the German Länder of Bavaria and Saxony, on the north by the Polish voivodates of Jelenia Góra, Wałbrzych, Opole, Katowice and Bielsko-Biała, on the east by the Slovak Republic (central and western Slovakia) and on the south by the Austrian provinces of Lower Austria and Upper Austria.
The Czech Republic (the former Imperial Crown lands of Bohemia and Moravia together with small parts of Silesia) has an area of 78,864 sq.km/30,449 sq.miles, representing 61,66% of the area of former Czechoslovakia.
15 Wonders of Prague
- The Old-New Synagogue is one of the most memorable mediaeval synagogue in Europe. It was built at the end of the 13C shortly after the Old Town of Prague came into existence and is a treasured Early Gothic structure. Despite later alterations, the character of the building, dating from the second half of the 13C, has survived to this day. It is open to the public as a museum but on Jewish holy days it serves religious purposes.
- The Chapel of St. Wenceslas in St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle was built to a design by Matthias of Arras on the remains of a 10C rotunda where Prince Wenceslas the Saint was buried after 935. This confirmed the link between the chapel and ful artistic, Late Gothic restyling. The Czech crown jewels are stored in a chamber one floor above the chapel.
- Charles Bridge is a unique blend of Gothic and Baroque. The first stone bridge across the Vltava was built xa. 1170. It was the pride of Romanesque Prague and named after Queen Judith. However, in 1342 it was destroyed by a flood and in 1357 Petr Parler was commissioned by Charles IV. to construct a new bridge. The latter was completed at the start of the 15C and although damaged several times it serves the people of Prague to this day. In 1683 – 1714 a set of thirty statues was placed on its parapets forming a priceless galerry of Late Baroque sculpture. Since 1870 it is known as Charles Bridge.
- The Oldest memorable book of the Old Town of Prague (Liber ventustissimus) from year 1310 is in Archives of the City of Prague (call number 98 60). It is one of Prague’s most valuable literary works.
- The Reliquary cross of pope Urban V (ca. 1375) is from the Treasure of St. Vitus Cathedral in the Chapel of the Holy Rood situated in the Second Courty yard of Prague Castle. Among the liturgical and other objects of precious metals produced between the 8C and 19C the collection acquired during the reign of Charles IV. forms an important part. The Cathedral Treasure is open to Castle visitors.
- The Old Town horologe is probably the most popular Prague landmark. It is on the Tower of the Old Town Hall on the Old Town Square. It was made in 1410; in time underwent several major repairs. In 1945 it was destroyed when the Old Town Hall was set on fire and had to be restored completely. It is not so much the wonders of its machinery that are so important as the legends that have sprung up about its existence.
- The armillary sphere of Erasmus Habermehl is an instrument of gilded brass (ca. 1600) housed in the Decorative Arts Museum in Prague. Habermehl was employed to produce astronomical and mathematical instruments at the court of Rudolph II.
- The tombstone of banker Markus Mordechai Maisel (died in 1601) in the Old Jewish Cemetery. M.M. Maisel was the richest man in Prague when Rudolph II. reigned and also the most important protector and Maecenas of Prague’s Jewish comunity.
- Hans von Aachen, portrait of a girl, oil on canvas (1605-1610) in the Prague Castle Picture Gallery. Hans von Aachen was one of the most oustanding artists working for Rudolph II. at the Emperor’s court. Portrait of a Girl perhaps the artist´s daughter is probably one of few paintings which survived the disintegration of the imperial collection during the Thirty Years War.
- Adrian de Vries, Venus and Adonis, 1624. A modern copy of the original statuary created in Prague and removed to Sweden in 1648. It is now in the Wallenstein Palace Garden of the Lessel Town. De Vries was the height of his creative powers while employed at the court of Rudolph II. In 1620 he returned to Prague and lived out the remainder of his life in the service of Albrecht of Wallenstein, for whom he produced number of statues now standing in the garden of this Prague palace.
- The battle of Lepanto. An altar painting by Karel Škréta in the Church of St. Mary Below the Chain, ca. 1650.
- Theological hall of the premonstratensian abbey at Strahov is the most beautiful library in Prague. It came into existence as the result of a Baroque re-adaptation undertaken in 1671-1679, it also underwent later alterrations.
- The Diamond monstrance made in Vienna in 1698 by goldsmiths M. Stegner and J. Knunischbauer from a design by J. B. Fischer of Erlach os the most valuable item in the Loretto Treasure at Hradčany.
- The tomb of the Czech high chancellor Jan Václav of Mitrovice in the aisle of the Church of St. James in the Old Town was made to a design by J.B. Fischer of Erlach in 1714-1716 and decorated with statues by F.M. Brokoff. The church, restyled in Baroque, has many excellent statues but the tomb is extraordinary.
- The sculptural revelation of St. Hubert, of 1726 by F.M. Brokoff, is a house sign. At the Golden Stag in Tomášská St. of the Lesser Town; the house was built by K.I. Dientzenhofer in 1725-1726. Dozens of other house signs used from Gothic to Rococo times can still be seen today on old buildings. Some of the more valuable ones from part of a collection of the Museum of the City of Prague.