Berkshire Choral International

A Singing Week in the Czech Republic!

Choristers traveling to Prague will also be traveling back in time to a city whose roots go back several millennia.

The region of the Czech Republic in which Prague is centered has been inhabited since at least the 4th century BC. In fact, a Celtic tribe called Boii that settled there gave the region the name Bohemia. Prague itself was established in the 9th century after a prince of one of the many dynasties that ruled the Czech lands built Prague Castle. The first Czech king was crowned in 1085 but was also subordinate to the Holy Roman Empire and the German king.

Because of its ideal location at the crossroads of several trading routes, Prague became an important city. It reached its first golden age under Charles IV in the 14th century, becoming one of the most prosperous cities in Europe and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire when Charles was crowned the Emperor.

Fast-forward through varying regimes and empires to the Velvet Revolution in 1989 when Czechoslovakia became free of the USSR, followed by the splitting of the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with Prague as the capital of the Republic.


Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock
The Town Hall was established in 1338 as the seat of the Old Town Self-Government. The oldest Gothic part of the complex is made up of a beautiful tower with a bay window and a unique astronomical clock where 12 apostles appear every hour from 9 am to 3 pm.

Prague Castle and Palace Gardens
Prague Castle has been an important symbol of the Czech state for more than a thousand years. One of the largest complexes in the world, it is made up of historical palaces, offices, churches and fortification buildings covering an area of more than 110 acres.

On the southern slopes below the castle is a complex of interconnected historical gardens (Ledeburská, Malá a Velká Pálffyovská, Kolovratská and Little Fürstenberská zahrada). All of these palace terraces have rich architectural decorations, decorative staircases, balustrades, lookout terraces, glories and pavilions combined with vegetation into picturesque units. Concerts and various social events take place there.

Kampa Park
The park is an island between the Vltava River and its side branch, Čertovka, where you can see the huge mill wheel of the former Grand Priory Mill. The park is one of the most romantic and picturesque places in the city and grassy areas of the island are widely used for picnics and relaxation.

Jewish Museum and Old Jewish Cemetery
The Old Jewish Cemetery was founded in the first half of the 15th century. The most important person buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery is undoubtedly the great religious scholar and teacher, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, known as Rabbi Löw (d. 1609). He is associated the legend of the golem, a creature made of clay and animated by kabbalistic rituals.


More About Prague

Travel: Václav Havel Airport (formerly Ruzyně), is about 7.4 miles from the city. All major airlines serve the airport. For anyone in Europe already, Prague is a major train hub and maps of the routes to the station, Praha hlavní nádraží, are easily accessed on the Internet.

Weather:  Average weather in August ranges from 60 degrees at night to 80 degrees during the day. August is considered Prague's warmest month of the year.

Currency: The official currency is the Czech crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč. One crown consists of 100 hellers (haléř), abbreviated as hal. Heller coins have not been in use as of September 1, 2008, but hellers are still incorporated into merchandise prices. The final price is always rounded off to the nearest crown value. Euros are not widely accepted in Prague.

Electricity: The Czech Republic has 220-volt electricity. Adapters can be found online.

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