The University of Prague, known today as Charles University, was founded by Charles IV and Pope Clement VI and was modeled on the University of Paris. Charles University is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in Europe (the oldest is the University of Bologna).
George of Poděbrady captured Prague in 1448 from the Roman Catholic pro-Habsburg party (whose prospective king Ladislav was a minor), obtaining the capital with little resistance. Shortly after he was recognized as King of Bohemia. A competent King, he was known as the "King of two popes" and a "Friend of peace."
The first defenestration occurred in 1419, the second in 1483, and the third in 1618 (although the term often refers to the third). The first one triggered the Hussite Wars, and the third triggered the Thirty Years' War. The second defenestration helped establish religious peace in the country for 31 years.
The famous Fidlovačka spring festival, organized by the shoemakers guild, took place annually in Nuselské Valley. Josef Kajetán Tyl immortalized the celebration in the Czech-German opera with the same name. In the following years, a song from the play, “Kde domov můj” ("Where is my home?"), became the national anthem.
The fortifications of Prague were built separately around both castles, the Old Town, and the New Town. The fortifications developed into a system later in the middle of the 14th century. Passage to the city was provided by several gates. In 1875 and in the following years, the fortifications were demolished. Only a few sections and towers remain.
Having a theater where operas and plays were performed in the native Czech language was essential for the nation. Completely funded by public donations from all walks of life, the National Theatre opened in June of 1881 just before completion. Bedřich Smetana's opera "Libuše," the story of the legendary prophetess, opened the theatre with its world premiere. After several performances, the theatre closed again, and construction continued. During these works, a massive fire broke out and a large part of the theater burned down. Citizens immediately organized another collection for the restoration of the building and two years later, it reopened.
The first electric tramway ride in Prague lasted four and a half minutes with a maximum speed of 10 km/h. It led from Letná to Stromovka and measured only 800 meters. Its creator was František Křižík, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur. The line fulfilled the task of promoting the idea of using electricity in public transport.
Operation Anthropoid, which resulted in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich was carried out by Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, soldiers of the Czechoslovak Army. In the streets of Prague 2 where the paratroopers were cornered in the crypt of The Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, are several memorials to ordinary people who helped the paratroopers and paid for it with their lives. Heydrich's death led to a wave of reprisals by the SS including the Lidice and Ležáky massacres, and mass killings of civilians.
Prague was bombed several times by the Allies during World War II, but the US Air Force raid on the 14th of February was the most tragic in terms of human casualties. The bombing was part of the extensive bombing of Dresden, but due to a navigational error, Prague was hit too. Over 700 people were killed, while over 1,000 people were injured. All were civilians.