Prague, Mid-14th–15th Centuries
Prague developed prior to the 9th century out of a cluster of villages perched on hills that overlooked a ford of the Vltava River (a tributary of the Elbe) used by overland merchants and traders. In the early 9th century the hills were fortified by the Přemsyls (Czech tribal leaders) and slowly grew into their administrative and cultural center. By the mid-10th century a small Jewish merchant community was established across the Vltava from the Czech fortifications on Hradčany Hill, and the town had acquired an international reputation as a thriving trading and manufacturing center. At that time, Hradčany sported two stone churches, St. George and St. Vitus, erected by the Přemsyl princes Vratislav (905–21) and St. Václav, respectively. The rest of the town was constructed of wood and mud.