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PRAGUE Presentation 3F

Prague Castle is a big

Prague Castle is a big and complex castle in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, dating from the 9th century and it is an important symbol for this city. The castle is the official office of the president of the Czech Republic and, in a hidden room inside it, there are the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The castle is among the most visited tourist attraction in Prague, attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually. The history of the castle began in 870 when its first walled building, the Church of the Virgin Mary, Bohemia was founded in the castle, next to the church of St. George. A Romanesque palace was erected here during the 12th century. King Ottocaro II of Bohemia improved the fortifications and rebuilt the royal palace for the purposes of representation and lodging. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV, the royal palace was rebuilt in Gothic style and the castle fortifications were strengthened. During the Hussite Wars and in the following decades, the castle was not inhabited. In 1485, King Ladislaus II Jagello began to rebuild the castle. The massive Vladislav Hall was added to the Royal Palace during the reconstruction. New defense towers were also built on the north side of the castle. A great fire in 1541 destroyed large parts of the castle. The last major rebuilding of the castle was carried out by Empress Maria Theresa in the second half of the 18th century. Following his abdication in 1848, and the succession of his nephew, Franz Joseph, to the throne, the former emperor, Ferdinand I, made Prague Castle his home. During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II, Prague Castle became the headquarters of Reinhard Heydrich, the Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. According to a popular rumor, he is said to have placed the Bohemian crown on his head; old legends say a usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year.Less than a year after assuming power, on May 27, 1942, Heydrich was attacked during Operation Anthropoid, by Britishtrained Slovak and Czech soldiers while on his way to the Castle, and died of his 14

wounds - which became infected - a week later. Klaus, his firstborn son, died the next year in a traffic accident, also in line with the legend. After the liberation of Czechoslovakia and the coup in 1948, the Castle housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government. After Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the castle became the seat of the Head of State of the new Czech Republic. Giada Bacchi 15

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