700- 000 before Christ:We have the first records about the settlement of Prague, thanks to discoveries in former brick-kilns.
1800-700 before Christ:Bronze Age – first products made of bronze appeared, the settlement is relatively dense, it covers the major part of the current centre and wide surroundings of so called Big Prague. Other discoveries include ceramic household dishes, decorations and of course weapons.
700- 0 before Christ:IronAge – bronze tools and weapons were replaced by iron ones. Iron rules the life of people. First Celts appeared, archaeologists found hundreds of their graves at different parts of Prague. The country is named after the tribe called Boias. The area of the Czech valley is called Bohemia in written documents. First coins appeared.
0-600 after Christ:German tribes arrived, migration of nations, arrival of Slavs. At the end of the period the so called Samo’s Empire was established.
600- 900 after Christ:Sites of ancient settlements rose at the city’s territory, mostly around the river. Archaeologists proved that settlement extended from Libeňto Butovice.
900-1306:Prague became the royal seat of Přemyslids. Coins started to be minted at the Castle as early as 995. Ibrahim ibn Jakub described Prague in his book as a town made of stone. In 993 the first Czech male monastery was founded in Břevnov. In 1070 Vyšehrad Chapter House was founded and it was excluded from the jurisdiction of the Prague bishop. Vratislav II chose Vyšehrad to be his seat. Around 1158 started the building of the Judith Bridge (Judith was a wife of Vladislav II), it was replaced by the Charles Bridge in the 14 th century. Regular markets started to be held in Prague. Around the Castle and Týn grew settlements and since the time of 1340 the Old Town became fortified. In 1257 Přemysl Otakar II founded the Lesser Town.
1306-1437 The Luxembourg dynasty at the Czech throne and in Prague:After years of struggle Jan Luxembourg became a king of the Czech kingdom. Although he was elected, in December 1310 he still had to take Prague by force. Jan’s son Charles became Moravian Margrave in 1333. The Old Town received from Jan permission to build a town hall. In 1344 Jan and Charles laid the foundation stone of the St Vitus Church. The ruling of Charles IV was highly beneficial for the city development. He founded Charles Bridge(1357), the New Town (8. 3 1348) and Prague University (1348). He also brought grapevines from France. His son, Wenceslaus wasn’t as famous. After he died his brother Sigismund was supposed to be his successor but he wasn’t able to assume the reins because of the Hussites’ resistance. He came to the Castle only after the Battle of Lipany in1437, shortly before his death.
1437 – 1618 – The time of the Hussite king, Jagiellon dynasty and Habsburg dynasty:In 1448, Prague was conquered by George of Podiebrad who was entrusted with the administration of Bohemia in 1452 and in 1458 he became a Czech king. Even though the Hussite and post –Hussite period is considered as a time of decline, some significant buildings were founded at this time such as the New Town Hall at Charles Square, the Powder Gate and others. Praguers had a certain advantage and for long time they participated in the administration of the Czech kingdom. Vladislaus II moved to the city in 1485. He wanted revenge for the resistance and therefore a vice-chamberlain at his court wasn’t chosen from Old Town citizens as it was before, but a knight. In 1502 Prague was leading 29 royal cities that were trying to fight against a growing pressure from nobility. The struggle resulted in decline of cities. In 1562 Ferdinand of Habsburg was elected to be a Czech king. Prague became a provincial town, their resistance against Ferdinand ended in defeat and it fell into king’s disfavour. The city recovered its former magnificence by the coronation of Rudolph II that took place on 22 nd September 1575 in the St Vitus Cathedral. The emperor took a liking to Prague and in 1583 the city became his royal seat. At the time of his ruling the Rudolph Tunnel and Maisel Synagogue were built as was the Capuchin Monastery at Lesser Town. After the Emperor’s death in 1612 Prague ceased to be a royal seat. On 23.5 1618 an event that entered history by marking the beginning of the Thirty Years War took place, it was the Defenestration of the Emperors’ officials.
1618 -1648 wartime hardship and the time of development:The war took many lives all around the Europe and it took its toll on Prague as well. The Battle of White Mountain meant the end of hope for the emancipation of religion. Catholicism was growing stronger and therefore buildings that rose at this time were mostly religious. In 1634 the building of the Loreta atHradčany (Castle quarter) started. It was finished in 1660. The rear wing of the Michna Palace was built during the war and the Castle was also rebuilt.
1648 – 1784 heading towards unification:Even though historians talk about Prague, in reality there were still four different towns-Malá Strana (Lesser Town), Hradčany (Castle quarter), Staré Město (Old Town) and Nové Město (New Town). After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 Swedes stayed in Lesser Town and left for good in September 1649. The war opened talks about the necessity of proper fortifications. General Montecucoli (we mean a real Emperor’s general, not that operetta character) suggested to fortify Hradčany and Vyšehrad. Luckily there wasn’t enough money to carry that through. In the end massive walls were built just at Vyšehrad, at the time when they almost lost any justification. In 1650 walls began to be built around Hradčany and Lesser Town that had the form of Bastille fortification. Some of them were also at the Old Town and the New Town. Architects were also busy designing churches and even now Prague is full of Baroque beauty. Karel Lurago, Francesco Caratti, J. D. Orsi, Jean B. Mathey, F. M. Kaňka, G. B. Alliprandi, Dienzenhofers, I. J. Palliardi and many others made their mark on the city’s appearance. In spite of the fortification, Prague was invaded by Prussians in 1774 and in 1757 after the Battle of Štěrboholy. Prague became a city of education and intellectuals were showing their support to the development of Czech language. The Nostic – Estates Theatre was opened. In 1784 Prague was unified into one city by the Emperor’s decree. This enabled its further development.
1784- 1849 National Revival:In the time of the National Revival, Prague’s citizens didn’t know hardly any Czech. Czech intellectuals, who also spoke German, started to turn their attention to the roots of the language and it was in villages where the language was best preserved. However, if it wasn’t for Prague and the intellectuals living here, the nation would hardly became conscious of its originality. This was the time when the Czech saying “what is Czech is good” was especially true. Apart from the awakening of the national identity the first industries also grew in Prague. In 1784 Prague’s town-council was established. In 1786 the first Czech play was performed in the Patriotic theatre called Bouda. The foundation of the first publishing house in 1790 byV. K. Kramerius (Česka expedice) boosted national pride. At this time the polytechnic school (predecessor of ČVUT – 1806) was also founded, as were new factories at Karlin, Liben nad Smichov and the first industrial school at Zbraslav (in 1835). In 1848 citizens presented their demands to the emperor. They included equal rights, abolition of bondage, and freedom of press. The student union Repeal started acted in support of these demands. On top of that, workers demanded to work less hours. All these demands should have culminated in a new constitution that would give real rights to citizens. In 1848 the so called “oktrojovana” constitution was proclaimed though it didn’t bring the promised rights. The June revolt in 1848 was brutally repressed and Prague gained nothing.
1849 -1918 Prague became a metropolitan city:Czech Austrian equalization that was a dream of Czech politicians, didn’t happen. It was only Hungarians that managed to gain their national rights and Czechs stayed in vassal position in spite of a momentous hope that followed the war between Austria and Prussia. Austria’s loss brought on a wave of disturbances and for a while the situation looked hopeful for Czechs. The Austria – Prussian war had a big influence on Prague. The emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria declared Prague in 1868 to be an opened city. The walls were pulled down. The fact that Prague was free of its walls in suburban areas was extremely convenient for entrepreneurs. In the 1868 the building of the national Theatre began. In spite of the unfavourable political situation, the city started to blossom once again. In 1871 the stock market was founded as was a first railway bridge leading to Smichov and many factories. Political life was diversifying; the first political parties weremladočeši (“Young Czechs”) and staročeši (“Old Czechs”) and from them other parties broke away. In 1875 the first horse carriageway started operating; it led from Poříčská brána (Poříčska gate) to Řetězový most (Řetězovy Bridge). In 1882 the Charles and Ferdinand University was divided into Czech and German parts. The first rector of the University was the historian W. W. Tomek, who is famous for his extensive History of Prague. In 1885 the water station in Podolí came into operation and public water pipes started working. The first Czech city power station was built in Žižkov in 1885 and the same year gave rise also to the football club called International Rowing Club. The first football pitch was located at Císařska louka (Emperors meadow). The year 1891 was significant because of the Bohemian Anniversary Exhibition that showed the power of Czech industry and culture also because of the first electrical tram that led from the Ovenecka Street to the Exhibition ground where the exhibition took place. At the end of the century (1892) the dock in Holešovice started to be built. With 4.500 gas lamps Prague became a city of lights. The Old Town market was build after the fashion of Paris (1896), Křižík’s tram started operating in 1896, as did the tube post in 1899 and in the same year the first taxi appeared. The city built the Municipal House (1906-1911) that became a jewel of Art Noveau architecture. At that time it was, however, received with contempt, it was called the Prague Entertainment House and press criticised especially the sum of money invested into it. When the First World War was declared, Prague was ready to become a capital city of a new born state.
1918 – 1945 The Capital City:
After the war the City became a site of many political fights. Prague was joined by other municipalities, giving in 1923 rise to Big Prague that was divided into 13 districts.
On 24 th January 1925 the bridge toll for crossing the Vltava River was done away with. In the same year a regular bus service started to operate in Prague (the first pre war attempts came to grief). Buses weren’t labelled by numbers but by capital letters as in Paris. This was the time of the first metro plans. EngineersB. Belada and V. List, who have a memorial plaque at the Muzeum station, came in 1926 with the proposal to build an underground railway. In the same year the Troja (Barikádníků) bridge was build. It was, however, pulled down and replaced by another one. Between 1926 and 1930 the impressive Municipal library building rose in Prague. Up to now this building surprises not only by its architectural design but also by its well thought through functionality. Another building that supplemented Prague’s skyline was an administrative building that belonged to the Electronic Company in Holešovice. It was built in 1927. Between 1927 and 1932 a strikingly dominant National Revival Monument was built. In 1930 a series of council flats were built in Břevnov, Pankrác and Holešovice. Národní třída was enriched by the shopping centre that was called ARA at firs, later on Perla and currently is the seat of the Komerční banka (Commercial Bank). After the republic had been taken over by Hitler’s Germany the life in Prague came to standstill. Liberation in 1945 brought new hope.
1945 – 1989 Ups and downs:
Shortly after the country had been liberated, began the nationalisation of industry. Many Prague factories were brought under one management. Other parts were changed into independent companies. In 1950 the České loděnice (Czech dock) was founded. At Národní třída was opened Dětský dům (Children’s House) and on the National Revival Memorial was placed a sculpture of Jan Žižka of Trocnov. Prague grew bigger and therefore a new railway bridge (so called bridge of Intelligence) was built between 1950 and 1955. It connected Braník with Chuchle and its building took part mostly by members of the “defeated class”. Damages caused by war were set right. The Palacky Bridge that had been damaged by bombing in 1951was expanded. The first Czechoslovakian television Mánes appeared in the city. It started to be produced in 1952 in Tesla Strašnice. Two tunnels, Letna’s and Žižkov’s, both planned already before the war, were opened in 1953. In April 1955 the first issue of the Večerní Praha (Evening Prague) newspaper was issued. It kept company for Praguers right until 2007 when it ceased to exist. In May 1955 Prague’s skyline received a horrible feature, The Stalin’s Monument (nicknamed as the queue for meat). It was blown up four years later. At the end of nineteen fifties the first housing estates were built and their development carried on until 1989. This unified and ugly architecture bears no resemblance to council houses like those that were built in the nineteen thirties in Břevnov that had better utility value.
Nineteen sixties was the time of liberation. In 1960 Planetarium was build. The housing estate at Prosek grew between 1964 and 1986, and also the very much needed sewage works was built in 1965 in Troja. The sport centre in Vršovice was opened (1967-1977). Because of the lack of hotels in Prague, three new ones were built (Albatros, Racek and Admirál) between 1969 and1971. In 1970 the children’s part of the hospital in Motol was finished.
On 1.7 1974 Prague grew bigger again as 30 municipalities were joined to it, such as Radotín, Uhříněves, Zbraslav. A huge change came on 9 th May 1974 with the introduction of the first metro line (line C, Florenc – Kačerov). On 12 th 1978 the line A was opened and the structure of public transport underwent a significant change. In 1981 Prague’s skyline was alerted again with the building of the Palace of Culture (currently the Prague Congress Centre). It was opened on 2 nd April. Success of Czech tennis (Kodeš, Lendl, Suková) resulted in opening of the tennis centre at Štvanice in 1986.
1989-…:The city is still developing. The change of politics and economy influenced Prague’s appearance. These changes are dealt with in our portal, in the part called Prague’s metamorphoses.
Source: Prague’s history in dates, History of Prague I and II. , What is what in Prague