Prague Minos Guide

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14. století

Charles the Fourth golden era

An era of great development and prosperity in Prague
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During Charles the Fourth reign, Prague underwent tremendous development and became a truly European city.
Already in the beginnings of his reign, Charles the Fourth clearly declared his wish to transform Prague into a leading city and started to do so in 1348 when he founded the New Town and the Charles University. Charles the Fourth created two market squares in the centre of the New Town, the "Dobytčí Market" (Cattle Market – today's Charles Square) and more particularly the "Koňský Market" (Horse Market – today's Wenceslas Square). In addition, he announced that if anyone could manage to build a stone building within 18 month, then such will receive various privileges for the next 12 years. That was very motivating and many people moved to Prague which caused the city to grow much faster. Soon, Prague was even three times larger than Paris was at the time.
Charles the Fourth strongly supported trade and granted a monopoly to Prague traders. Therefore,

foreign traders could sell only through the traders of Prague and only at the Týnský Court (Ungelt). Regular anniversary market fairs were held, the main ones were the St. Wenceslas Market Fair and the St. Vitus Market Fair. There were many smaller market fairs as well.
Because of the plague epidemic in 1380, the city council prohibited the contamination of the streets by the malt houses and the throwing of waste out of windows. As a result, Prague became a very clean town, which was unprecedented in medieval times. Prague allowed all kinds of establishments, so public baths were created, as well as pharmacies and various other kinds of shops.
Thanks to the construction work and the fantastic support from Emperor Charles the Fourth, Prague achieved remarkable significance in the 14th century which it never managed to reach again. St. Vitus Cathedral, the Charles Bridge and the establishment of Charles University are truly admirable achievements.


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