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While Charles IV is a household name in the Czech Republic, Rudolf II sometimes gets overlooked, despite being the king who moved the Habsburg residency from Vienna back to Prague in the 17th century. This made Prague the place to be at the time. As a child, Rudolf lived in Vienna until he was 11 years old, when his father Maximillian sent him off with his siblings to study with his uncle, Spanish King Filip II.  Rule of the King As Maximillian’s oldest son, Rudolf took the throne in 1576 after his death and moved the dynasty to Prague, making the city a cultural and political centre of Europe. It was during this era that you could peruse the streetsRead more.

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Following World War II, Czechoslovakia was attempting to regain composure in a latterly chaotic world. Edvard Beneš returned from his exile in London and became the new Czechoslovakian President. In order to hold the majority in the government, President Beneš created a coalition of multiple political parties, one of which was the Communist Party. The president himself was a member of the National Socialist Party, one of the other parties within his coalition. A government formed with positive intentions soon spiraled into a series of events that led to four decades of Communist rule for the people of Czechoslovakia. The skeptical post-war United States government grew concerned about the potential Soviet influence over the Czechoslovakian nation, and their decision toRead more.

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Today, the Czech Republic more or less has the same bustling consumer markets that everyone else has. But when the Czech Republic was Czechoslovakia, existing in the economic isolation of a communist regime, there wasn’t a whole lot of selection at the local stores. But there was Tuzex. Wanting to throw people a bone, the Czechoslovak government introduced the Tuzex shops; A state-run chain of shops where foreign products like booze, cigarettes, vinyls, jeans, and anything else you couldn’t find in the domestic markets. The communists kind of shot themselves in the foot on that one, because the shops’ products revealed how much better everything was outside of the castle walls, discrediting their narrative about equality and class; Czechs started seeingRead more.