Prague, also known as the “Jewel in the Crown” is a site in Central Europe in which tourism plays a fundamental role (Travel Experience Ltd, 2012). It was Charles IV of the Kingdom of Bohemia’s ancient capital and has played a vital role in the development of central Europe. Today, Prague is the capital city of the Republic of Czech. From the Middle Ages, Prague has remained famous because it is one of the beautiful cities in the world. The best adjectives that describe the town include golden, the crown of the world, and hundred-spired (Prague Welcome, 2012).
The natural environment of the city makes Prague highly unique. Just like Rome, the city was built along river Vltava and on nine hills. The river flows through the city, and it makes a perfect unit with Prague. At the same time, the river reflects the dominant features of Prague’s architecture, ranging from the towers, palaces and town houses, church spires and cupolas along with the beautiful green garden, islands and parks (Prague Welcome, 2012).
The city of Prague has achieved its WHS due to a number of reasons. It remains among the cities in the world that have continued to maintain and preserve their structure of development up to the present times (World Heritage Site, n.d.). At the same time, the city of Prague continues to illustrate the process of urban growth from the old Middle Ages to the modern day. In addition, Prague has an urban architectural assembly that has an outstanding quality.
The city’s rise to the World Heritage Sites is due to its role in the medieval development of Christianity throughout Central Europe. This has come also as a result of the influence it had to the evolution of towns. Thus, its political weight in the Middle Ages, and the attraction of architects from Europe, coupled with the creation of the Charles University in the 14th century, Prague has put an indelible mark in history (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 1992-2012). This is critical to the achievement of the World Heritage Status.
Prague is Czech’s capital city and has five key areas that span across the banks of River Vltava in which the Charles Bridge forms the connection between the two sides of the river. At one side, there is the Old Town also called Stare Mesto in which the soul of the town being Old Town Squate. On the other side, there is the Lesser Town (also called Mala Strana) and the Castle District of Hradcany, where Prague Castle form the heart (Travel Experience Ltd, 2012).
Again, the origin of the city dates back to the cross-roads of ancient trade. The history of Prague started with the development of the Prague Castle in the 9th century (Prague Welcome, 2012). This shows evolution of various architectural styles from the Gothic designs to the Romanesque styles in the 13th century. For instance, there is the Convent of St Agnes that takes pride of the Gothic style.
Most importantly, Prague has several reasons as to why it is a famous tourism site in Europe. Prague has a role in the economic development of Czech, and it generates 20 percent of GDP. At the same time, this attracts one fifth of investments to the country. In addition, tourism is has a role in the economy of the Prague (Anonymous, n.d., p. 27). This shows that tourism plays a vital role for the development of the town. Thus, the most appealing features that continue to boost tourism in Prague include the city’s architecture, culture, atmosphere, and preservation of monuments, urban mass transportation, and the cost of service provision.
The city of Prague prides its self as being one of the most visited destinations in Europe. Over the past two decades, the number of visitors to the city has increased to over 4.5 million tourists in 2008 (Jechova, 2012). The people in the management of Prague as a tourist destination are mainly the Czechs and the government. In addition, the investors in the city have a stake in the conduct of the activities in the city. The inflow of tourist to the city has emanated from the increasing network of flights and the expansion of airline business. These have substantially boosted tourism in the city. The city has prospered to become the biggest tourist destination site across Europe (Wilson & Baker, 2010, p. 30). The developers of the city have laid focused on the protection and restoration of the buildings in the city. This is also in recognition of their potential as the key tourist’s attraction (Sharpley & Pender, 2004, p. 173).
However, Prague faces challenges in managing the needs of the visitors. Over the past two decades, the number of people visiting Prague has burgeoned, and this comes with challenges. There are instances of muggings at nights, and this reduces the activities of the tourists. For instance, Wenceslas Square and the main train station are dodgy at night and impose challenges to the people involved in tourism (WorldEscape, 2012). Again, pickpockets in Prague are highly professional, and this affects the movements of the tourists around the city. Car theft and break-ins are some of the common crimes that the city faces. Thus, this makes it hard for tourists to leave valuables in cars (myCzech Republic, 1998-2012). The efforts by the developers are slow in recognizing the role of tourism for the development of the city. This is a challenge to the future direction of tourism in Prague (Sharpley & Pender, 2004, p. 173).