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Prague >> PRAGUE >> Description

The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague is situated in the very heart of Europe, on a place that has been an intersection of continental merchant routes since time immemorial. It was the seat of Czech princes and kings from the tenth century A.D. In the mid-14th century, Prague was the centre of the Holy Roman Empire and Europe’s third largest city in terms of population.

As part of the Hapsburg monarchy, Prague remained the capital of Czech lands, which became the strongest part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in terms of economy during the 19th century. Prague was developing as an important centre where Czech, German and Jewish cultures met and mingled. Following the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, Prague became the metropolis of the new country.

It experienced a growth of its territory and a great building boom. Currently, Prague is a large city of more than one million people, spreading over almost 500 square kilometres. Following the social and economic changes in 1989, Prague enhanced its historically strong ties with other cities in Central Europe, and has gradually been gaining a continuously improving position within the continental structure of big cities. Prague therefore deserves its recognition as being a high quality city.

Centuries of construction gave rise to an exceptional integrated architectural complex, unique in the world as regards its size and concentration of cultural heritage. Different architectural styles mingle and intertwine here, and their symbiosis creates the city’s unique atmosphere. The most valuable part of the city’s centre was declared the Prague Heritage Reserve in 1981, which was included in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage list in 1992.

Prague is the seat of the top-level legislative, administrative and political bodies of the country - the parliament, government, and president; and the most important social, cultural and educational institutions reside here. The city is the entrance gate to the Czech Republic.

The position of Prague as the capital of the Czech Republic is defined in the Constitution of the Czech Republic and the Act No. 131/2000 on the Capital City of Prague.

Prague is divided into 57 municipal districts whose administrative powers are laid down in the Charter of the City of Prague; together with the Prague City Hall, the municipal districts provide for both self-government and statutory functions of state administration.

Effective from 1 July 2001, Prague has been newly divided into 22 administrative units in order to control and plan the city’s development.

The elected Mayor is the head of the capital. The city’s principal administrative bodies are the Prague Assembly of seventy members, eleven of whom form the Prague Council.They are elected for a four-year term of office; thelatest election took place in November 2002.

The executive body is the Prague City Hall with its specialised departments and sections.

To provide for the city’soperation and to render services to its inhabitants and visitors, Prague has established some 90 organisations and businesses. The municipal districts manage more than 400 other organisations.

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