The Metropolis by the Vltava

Prague's situation on the banks of Vltava in the heart of Europe, made the city a magnet for tradesmen early on, thus contributing significantly to the wealth, splendour and importance of a city, the control of which was the cause of many a battle.

The beauty of the city has also resulted in a great many pictorial representations of it. Two of these are shown here.

First is the view of the Bohemian metropolis of Prague from 1562. It depicts the different towns of Prague. Farthest away, on the left side of the river, lies Prague Castle and Hradcany, while nearer the foreground is Malá Strana (or Lesser Town). In the foreground on the right hand side of the River Vltava is Nové Mesto (or New Town), while Stare Mesto (Old Town) and Josefov (the Jewish Quarter) lie farther away.

The picture is from the Renaissance, at the beginning of the great period of prosperity when Prague had approximately 60,000 inhabitants.

The view, entitled "The Bohemian metropolis of Prague, accurately described" was created by J.Kozel and M. Peterle, and is known as the Vratislav xylograph.

The original of the work was a gift to the Habsburg Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. It was moved to the Royal Library in Stockholm in 1648.

VL/AS

View of the Bohemian metropolis of Prague by J. Kozel and M. Peterle from 1562, known as the Vratislav xylograph. The work’s original, a gift to the Habsburg Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, was relocated to the Royal Library in Stockholm in 1648. It depicts the Prague Castle and the four Prague towns (Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town and Hradcany) during the Renaissance, at the beginning of great prosperity when Prague had approximately 60,000 inhabitants (AMP, iconographic collection, sign. G 1-2. Photo: JL)
Secondly, there is the oldest known depiction of Prague, which dates back to 1493 and presents the view of the Prague Castle and the Lesser Town. The picture is an engraving by M. Wohlgemuth and W. Pleydenwurf , from the book by H. Schedel Liber Chronicarum, 1493 (AMP, iconographic collection, sign I-1. Photo: JL)