Prague is situated on the Vltava river, in the centre of the Bohemian Basin. Prague is approximately at the same latitude as Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; and Vancouver, Canada.
The Czech name Praha is derived from an old Slavic word, prah, which means "ford" or "rapid", referring to the city's origin at a crossing point of the Vltava river. The same etymology is associated with the Praga district of Warsaw.
Another view to the origin of name is also related to the Czech word prah (in the mean of a threshold) and a legendary etymology connects the name of the city with princess Libuse, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Premyslid dynasty. She is said to have ordered the city "to be built where a man hews a threshold of his house". The Czech prah might thus be understood to refer to rapids or fords in the river, the edge of which could have acted as a means of fording the river - thus providing a "threshold" to the castle.
Another derivation of the name Praha is suggested from na praze, the original term for the shale hillside rock upon which the original castle was built. At that time, the castle was surrounded by forests, covering the nine hills of the future city - the Old Town on the opposite side of the river, as well as the Lesser Town beneath the existing castle, appeared only later.
The English spelling of the city's name is borrowed from French. Prague is also called the "City of a Hundred Spires", based on a count by 19th century mathematician Bernard Bolzano, today's count is estimated by Prague Information Service at 500. Nicknames for Prague have also included: the Golden City, the Mother of Cities and the Heart of Europe.