Situated in the northwest of the country on the Vltava River, Prague is the capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic. This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church spires is also the fourteenth largest city in the European Union. Since the Middle Ages Prague has cherished the reputation of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and the Petřín Hil. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Prague is classified as a B eta+ global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Berlin, Rome, or Houston.