Great Cities Collection: Prague (Black Box)

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As legend has it, a Dark Ages prophetess named Libuše—the daughter of Krok, first duke of the Czech people—had a vision while walking on a rocky cliff high above the river Vltava: ”I see a great city, whose glory will touch the stars!“ She gave the future city a name: Praha, or Prague. The city became the seat of the kings of Bohemia, and an archbishopric in 1344. Two years later, Charles IV became Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, and transformed Prague into a proper imperial capital. In the Middle Ages, it was the third largest city in Europe; only Rome and Constantinople were bigger. The Charles Bridge, which bears his name, was built by Charles IV.–These thin silver coins, known as Prager groschen, were issued for centuries, beginning in 1300. Crudely struck, they feature the Czech lion.

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