The capital of Czech Republic, Prague has always played an important role in the history of the country and Europe. Since the Middle Ages, Prague has been famous as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and has been attributed adjectives such as "golden", "hundred-spired" and "the crown of the world."
The unique character of the city is also partly a consequence of its natural environment: Prague, similar to Rome which was built on seven hills, was built on nine hills along the Vltava River, which flows through the city for a distance of 31km and forms a perfect unit with the city. The dominant features of the city architecture are reflected in the river: towers, church spires and cupolas, palaces and town houses, along with green gardens, parks and islands.
Prague was founded on the cross-roads of ancient trade routes at a site where the most varied spiritual and cultural currents merged. The history of the city begins with the founding of Prague Castle in the 9th century. Of the original stone buildings in pre-Romanesque style, a basilica remains from the second half of the 10th century, and forms the core of St George´s church. Among the preserved Romanesque structures in Prague, three renovated rotundas can be visited. At the time of the founding of the Old Town of Prague at the beginning of the 13th century, the Romanesque style began to be replaced with Gothic influences; whilst the oldest structure in this style is the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia or the Old-New Synagogue, while St Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and the Church of Our Lady before Týn are examples of the prime of this style. The greatest flourishing of the Czech state occurred at this time, which will eternally be connected with the monarch Charles IV, who founded the famous Charles University in 1348, the first university in Central Europe. The late Gothic style is connected with buildings such as Vladislav Hall, the Powder Tower and the Old Town Hall with the Horologe.
In the 16th century the Renaissance style started to be favoured by the court aristocratic circles. The first and truly representative structure is the Royal Summer Palace along with many aristocratic palaces in Prague. The Church did not favour the Renaissance art; on the other hand, it was completely taken over in the 17th century by the Baroque style. Especially the Lesser Town is characterised by the Baroque style and the Church of St Nicholas forms a predominant feature of this area.
A number of styles alternated in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The most important buildings include the Classicist Estate Theatre, Neo-Renaissance National Theatre and Rudolfinum and the Art Nouveau Municipal House and Main Railway Station.
The period of the first half of the 20th century was influenced by the Czech Modern style and Architectural Cubism which was an original style, with no counterpart in contemporary international art.
Nowadays, Prague is an important European city that attracts visitors not only by the abundance of architectural gems that generations of our ancestors left us. It is a place where cultural, social and political events of international importance are held as well as a popular destination for trade fairs and congresses.
|Jana Veselá learned the game of basketball in Prague|
Following the first official game of basketball played in Prague on 17th December, 1919, basketball has been an important part of the sporting tapestry of the city.
The city has played an important role in the development of Czech basketball with the Czech Championship eventually evolving out of what was the Prague Championship, starting in 1929.
USK Prague has been involved in Czech basketball almost from the outset, first playing as Slavie ITVS Prague, joining the national league in 1954.
Over the years the club has won 16 Czech titles and has 15 times been the runner-up, whilst also tasting success in Europe in 1976 when they won the Ronchetti Cup, led by legendary Czech women's player Milena Jindrova.
Jindrova was a two-time World Championship silver medallist, one-time European silver medallist, two-time World Championship bronze medallist and two-time European bronze-medallist, deservedly earning the title of "Czech Basketball Player of the 20th Century."
Their main rivals in the Czech League for most of that period, also happened to be cross-city rivals in Sparta Prague. Founded in 1939 as AC Sparta Praha, the club played 47 seasons in the Czech League, winning 23 titles, making them the most successful team in the history of the league. It was also the first club of current ZVVZ USK Prague player Jana Vesela.
However, despite their rich history, the club has fallen upon hard times in more recent history and currently plays in the Czech second league.
10-12 April 2015
Address: Nad Kralovskou oborou 51, 170 00 Praha 7, CZE