1490 - 1530 Praha/Prague

Prague consisted of three independent royal cities: the old city and the new city (which were united in 1518), and Malá Strana. When Vladislav II transferred the royal residence to Buda in 1490 Prague lost much of its importance. After his election as King of Hungary, Vladislav visited Prague only three times – his successor and son Ludwig, only once.

Prague was the center of the Bohemian Utraquists, but there were a number conflicts between their radical and the conservative wings. The revolt of the radicals in the old city in 1483 led to the second defenestration of Prague. Two years later, it led to the Religious Treaty of Gutenberg. Until the 1520s the power struggles between the factions continued until the radicals took over the government of the combined cities of Prague. In Jan Pašeks coup d’état of of 1524 the radical wing was finally expelled from the city. Despite this instability, Prague remained the political, economic, and religious center of Bohemia, defending its prominent position until the uprising of 1547.

The royal castle on the right bank and the palace on the left bank of the Moldau/Vltava characterized the united cities of Prague. From the 1480s the palace, which had served as Vladislav’s residence until he left the city, was repeatedly renovated and rebuilt. The royal palace was the seat of the representatives of the Estates. Here, the land courts and of diets met, and here the census was kept. The city’s prominent position engendered a rise in artistic endeavours, especially in building activities on city houses around the castle, as well as in the royal palace and the Cathedral of St. Vitus-. Prague remained a university city, although it lost its international importance. And it was the administrative center of the Utraquists. Thanks to the university, and the blossoming book printing industry, which saw a dramatic development in the sixteenth century; Olomouc/Olmütz and Prague were the centers of humanism in Bohemia. Prague only lost its importance at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Antonín Kalous

Prague St Vitus’ Cathedral, Royal Oratory

© KHM-Museumsverband, Wissenschaftliche Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts.
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