How Prague Got Its Name

As you know, Bohemia Apartments offers accommodation in Prague. It’s not only the capital, but also the largest city in the Czech Republic. It is the 15th biggest city in the European Union. It is said that Prague lies in the very heart of Europe. Its name sounds different in different languages: Prague, Prag, Praga, Praag… In Czech, our capital city is called “Praha” [praha]. Let’s talk about the name’s origins.

Prague Castle

It all began in the times of the old Czech foundation myths. Princess Libuše, one of the three daughters of the first Czech ruler, prince Krok, brought her husband Přemysl to a rocky precipice over the river Vltava. The princess was known for her prophesies and at the moment she looked over the beautiful Czech countryside, she said:

“I see a vast city, whose glory will touch the stars! I see a place in the middle of a forest, thirty miles away, where a steep cliff next to the Strahov forest rises above the Vltava River. When you come there, you will find a man in the middle of a forest, chiselling a threshold (in Czech “práh” [pra:h]) for his house. Let the castle that you build be called Praha. May it be honoured, favoured with great repute, and may praise be bestowed upon it by the entire world.”

And so the Prague castle was built. Gradually, it began to expand and became the most beautiful and famous Czech city. The name itself, Praha, still stirs up discussions that will probably never be resolved. It is generally derived from the world “práh” (threshold). According to one theory, Prague was named after the river’s thresholds which was once to be found Charles Bridge stands today. People crossed the Vltava river over this ford. You can see the rest of this ford from our apartments nearby Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge

The name has also been associated with roasting, or parching (in Czech “pražení” [pradzeni:] – be it corn, metals or forest, which the surroundings were filled with. The Prague castle was supposedly built on a parched hilltop (in Czech “vyprahlé” [vyprahle:]. As you can see, there is a number of theories. However, we still prefer the one with Libuše’s prophesy, because it perfectly captures the beauty and grandeur of today’s Prague. That Libuše got it right, didn’t she?

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