The "City of a Hundred Spires" is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Prague was established around 880 when Prince Borivoj built Prague Castle.
The city is the chief cultural, commercial, industrial and educational hub of the Czech Republic, and served as the capital of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1993. Since the fall of Communism in 1989, Prague has become a major tourist attraction, revealing its beautiful sights to visitors from all over the world and regaining its spot among Europe's most important capitals.
Unlike many central European cities, Prague escaped serious damage during World War II and therefore remained one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. The historic heart of the city is situated on the banks of the Vltava River, with several architectural treasures around the famous Staromestske Namesti (Old Town Square). Many bridges connect the two parts of the city, the most famous being the early-15th century Karluv Most (Charles Bridge) which was the only river crossing in the old center for roughly 400 years.
The Old Town also encompasses Josephov, the city’s former Jewish Quarter, which contains the Old Jewish Cemetery, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Central Europe's first university was also founded in Prague.
Greater Prague, which includes the residential and industrial areas around the historic quarter, was formed in 1920 by the incorporation of 37 nearby towns and villages.
The neighborhoods closest to the center were built mostly during the 19th and early 20th centuries. To the east and south, industrial zones grew dramatically during the Communist regime, which is also responsible for the numerous developments of high-rise apartment blocks built on the outskirts of the greater metropolitan area.