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Paris, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona are among the top-visited destinations in Europe. Beyond the Old World, New York City, Toronto and Whistler await shopping, dining and skiing enthusiasts, as well as businessmen and students. Quality accommodation is always in demand, and nowadays travellers have the freedom to choose not only hotels, but also apartment rentals.
Conveniently located and fully furnished, apartments of Sweet Home Abroad are excellently suited for short-term rentals and could be your next great vacation! All apartments are meant for travellers looking for comfort and independence regardless of their activities of interest. Beach lovers could opt for an apartment rental in Israel or rent a villa in Spain. Lovers of outdoor winter activities like skiing and snowboarding will find Whistler, located in Canada, a great destination: the co-host of Winter Olympic Games in 2010, Whistler is perfectly equipped to provide you with great skiing and riding trails, impeccable customer service and top-notch long-term accommodation. History and culture buffs will enjoy a great selection of accommodation we offer in Paris, Prague, Madrid, and, of course, Barcelona.
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History of Prague

Roman times

In the 9th century a West Slavic state Great Moravia was formed. Bohemia (Czechia) seceded from the Great Moravia as a separate kingdom in 895, and Prague became the capital of the kingdom. Prague (or, more precisely, Prague Castle) was founded on the west bank of the Vltava river in the 80s of the 9th century by the leader of a Slavic-Czech peoples, prince Premys. Construction of the fortress of Vysehrad began in 1085 on the east (right) bank of Vltava by the decree of prince Vratislaus II. Starting from 1086, the Holy Roman Empire recognized the kingdom of Bohemia.

Princely castles did not last, but their location for many years defined the boundaries of the city. At the foot of the castles settlements sprang, and stone buildings of Roman churches were built, some of which stand there still.

On the right bank of Vltava the remnants of the Roman church of St Martin can be seen, whose rotunda was built at the end of the 11th century by the prince Vratislaus II. It was repaired and restored in 1719 and 1848. On the left bank, a rotunda of St Longinus has been erected in the first tierce of the 12th century, but vacated in 1782 and subsequently transformed into a warehouse. Its restoration began in 1844, and the rotunda got its modern look in the period of 1929-1934.

The most ancient Roman basements and foundations by this day support the more modern castles and churches of Prague.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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Gothic architecture

During the reign of VГЎclav I, the chaotic street development that dominated the Roman Prague had gradually shifted toward Gothic architecture at the first half of the 13th century. Within the boundaries of the Old Town (Stare Mesto), the early Gothic period was exemplified by St Agnes of Bohemia convent and the so-called Old New synagogue.

After the death of king Premysl II (Ottokar) in 1278, Bohemia became the liege of the Holy Roman Empire, whose emperor since 1273 had been Rudolph I Hapsburg. Son of Premysl II, VГЎclav II, was only seven years old at the time, but after marrying the daughter of Rudolph I he became one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Czechia. He was the one to introduce the Czech grosz, that was bound to become the European currency for the next several centuries. During his reign, Prague had gained in population thanks to the relocation of German people to the city.

By the mid-14th century, the Gothic architecture was joined by projects of the High Gothic period: Mala Strana, Hradcany and Nove Mesto. The last of the Premysl dynasty, king Václav III, who was crowned after his father's death in 1305, did not rule for long – his reign was over in less than a year, ending with his assassination. Václav II's daughter, Elisabeth, agreed to marry John, the son of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Henry VII, House of Luxembourg. John has been crowned the King of Bohemia in 1310 in Prague.

Only in the time of John's son, Charles IV (1316-1378), Prague has reached the pique of its blossoming and turned into the most spectacular city in Europe. During Charles's reign, Prague became the model of the medieval architectural beauty. In the time of Charles the Fourth, Prague had been bigger than Paris and London. A one of a kind urban landscape of the Middle Ages has been preserved to this day: Prague is the only place where the whole architectural ensemble of High Gothic period can be seen as if no time has passed since the 14th century. The magnificent examples include Saint Vitus Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the Stare Mesto city hall with the Astronomical Clock, the Karolinum and the Charles Bridge.

The bar of the architectural mastery in court of Charles IV and his son VГЎclav IV had been raised so high that it continued well beyond the 15th century. Even after, when Prague has been engulfed by the Renaissance mass reconstruction, the medieval Gothic layout of the city has not been touched at its core. The Hussite Wars (1419-1434) hindered the development of the city. Only during the reign of Vladislav Jagello the characteristically Gothic look of Prague had been complemented by the late Gothic architecture. The Late Gothic period in Prague is embodied by the Vladislav Hall in the Prague Castle and the Powder Tower.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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The Renaissance architecture had been brought to Prague from Italy by the first Habsburg king of Czechia, Ferdinand I. At that time, Czechia entered into the Habsburg empire. The most splendid examples of the Czech Renaissance are the Royal Summer Palace, the Ball Game Hall, the Schwarzenberg Palace. Ferdinand's grandson, Rudolph II, moved his emperor's court to Prague and made it the most magnificent and pompous European court of the 16th century.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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Baroque in Prague

Only the Baroque art proved capable of reincarnation that the medieval Prague underwent in the 17th century: a new panorama of castle ensembles and monasteries had been presented to the world then. The oldest Baroque structure in Prague is the Matthias Gate in the Prague Castle. The top artistic achievements belong to the architects Lurago, Santini, and father and son Dientzenhofer. Charming secular buildings and magnificent Baroque churches were to symbolize the triumph of the Habsburg dynasty and the Catholic Church. The vast Baroque complex of the Loreta church is a place of pilgrimage. The largest Baroque monument - the Saint Nicholas Cathedral - is an exquisite sight as well.

The Prague version of Baroque is full of sensuality and theatricality. From the very beginning of the 18th century, the slopes of Prague get an uplifting treatment of many garden terraces and picturesque parks, but the replanning of squares and streets had been carried out with the Gothic-Renaissance blend still in mind. A very special part of Prague's beauty is the river cutting through the whole city: many bridges hover above the river Vltava, as if crowning it.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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Prague Classicism

Classicism in Prague is forever intertwined with the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The most famous theatre in Prague is Estates Theatre (Stavovske Theatre), where in 1787 premiered the most famous version of “Don Juan”. The theatre was built in 1781-1783, financed by the František Antonín Count Nostitz. In 1798 the theatre was bought out by the Czech aristocracy and middle class. In 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart conducted the very first performance of his own opera “Don Giovanni” here. When visiting Prague, Mozart often stopped at the classical Bertramka estate owned by Mr and Mrs Dušek.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries the architectural development of Prague had been joined by infrastructural development: new embankments, iron bridges, new parks in place of filled in moats and taken down fortresses, new wide streets, respectable residences, grand squares. The beautification of Prague was conducted on schedule according to a precise plan. Streets of the city were being adorned by pretty and durable houses.

The most famous Czech artists contributed to the appearance of the Industrial Palace, and the citizens of Prague helped to finance the construction of the National Theatre and its pseudo-Renaissance decoration in 1868. The most famous place in Prague, the Wenceslas Square, appeared next. Apartments for rent in Prague near these new development became wildly popular, and it is true even today.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

Apartment rentals in Prague close to the major sights of Prague.

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Modern and Rondocubism

On the verge of the 20th century Prague architects started using diverse materials, such as cast iron, steel, glass – an innovation at the time. The Modern (Art Nouveau) reached Prague at last; here it was referred to as "Secese", following the name of the Vienna Secession, one of whose members was Alphonse Mucha. The works of this bright and memorable modernist artist are exhibited at the Prague Municipal House. Prague is home to many unique examples of the modernist architecture, including magnificent mosaics, delicate ornaments, opulent sculptures, and even bridges, like the Svatopluk Čech Bridge.

At the beginning of the 20th century the fashionable Cubism style reached Prague. Cubist-style houses with amazing geometry and proportions flawlessly blended in next to Baroque edifices (see, for example, House of the Black Madonna. Only in Prague you can find a Cubist lamppost! After the declaration of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Cubism developed into the Czech National style - Rondocubism, one of the most famous example of which is the Audrey Palace. The whimsicality of lines, the contrast of colours, the abstract forms of this masterpiece by Pavel Janak (1882-1956) combine the elements of Cubism and traditional Slavic art.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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Prague today

Prague is one of the greatest and most unique places for carefree vacations and safe and happy dwelling. Only here you can see the wholesome landscape of a medieval town, surprisingly beautiful and exquisitely decorated. Only here ages and centuries layer and mingle, where the Gothic style and the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism, Modernism and Cubism co-exist.

Few European cities were blessed with such a beautiful location as Prague. Plastic, ever changing landscape and heights hovering above the Vltava both served as reliable foundations of the city. A thousand years of growth culminated in the grand architectural ensemble, whole and inseparable, complete with a one-of-a-kind outline and charming details. Here, nature and art are an organic part of history: from the 9th century to the 21st, all trends and tendencies of European urban planning found a reflection in architecture of Prague.

The architectural problems modern Prague faces today are difficult to compare to the legacy of the centuries long past. Shiny new skyscrapers from glass and concrete literally reflect the ancient monuments like mirrors, and the task for modern architects is a no small task: to create and build new districts and structures that would match the old neighbourhoods in their originality and wholesome harmony.

The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad

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