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Diverse Prague

As for inhabitants of the city, Prague has always been a diverse capital. It is a city, which has seen centuries of coexistence of Czech speaking and German speaking Prague citizens. Their rather fragile identities were not only defined by space but also by their language, the era, political context, prejudices and stereotypes. Prague was also greatly influenced by the Jewish population. If you go for a walk through the Jewish Quarter, you can see that memories of cohabitation with the Jewish community can still be felt here. From the Middle Ages, Prague was a city of busy trade, which was not only an important opportunity to exchange goods but also a source of cultural enrichment. Thanks to a lot of European builders and architects we can still admire important Prague monuments of various historical styles.

The Second World War and the period following it significantly changed the original multi-ethnic composition of Prague. People of German origin were expelled from the country and as a result of the Holocaust only a fragment of the Jewish population remained. Prague as the capital of Czechoslovakia, which represented a part of the Communist Eastern Bloc for many years of the 20th century, was basically isolated from the democratic world. Despite that, the city did not become completely static and homogenous: new inhabitants kept coming to Prague, mainly on the basis of government-led programmes. In the communist era, these were usually students and workers from the partner countries who came thanks to what was known as exchange programmes. From the 1950s, Czechs came into contact with Greeks, Vietnamese, Cubans, newcomers from African and other developing countries, and, of course, citizens of the Soviet Union.

An important turning point in the national composition of the Prague population came in 1989 which saw the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Prague opened up to the whole world again and migrants from all around the world started settling here. People from the countries which were partnered with Czechoslovakia during the Communist era kept coming as well – most migrant workers came from Ukraine and Vietnam. After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, more and more Slovaks came to the independent Czech state. Citizens of western countries and the European Union, which was joined by the Czech Republic in 2004, started coming immediately after the borders were opened in 1989.

Currently, based on the statistics of the Czech Ministry of the Interior, altogether there are 192,007 foreign nationals living in the Prague capital. The largest groups are formed by the citizens of Ukraine (48,407), Russia (22,795), and Vietnam (12,600), followed by the citizens of the US (5,547), and the People’s Republic of China (4,651).

As we can see, even today Prague retains its multicultural character which was typical for the city for many centuries. It was in particular in the 1920s when the population of Prague underwent a lot of wild transformations. However, the diversity of today’s Prague inhabitants represents a cultural, economic, as well as social enrichment of the Czech capital.

/statistics of the MOI of the CR as of 30 September 2017/