This map plots the settings and references in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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Prague, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic)

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Population of the city proper is 1.2 million, and an estimated 1.9 million live in the greater metropolitan area. Located on the Vltava (Moldau) River in the center of the country, Prague has been the center of the Czech state in every way for more than a millennium.


View of the Vltava flowing through center of Prague
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeView of the Vltava flowing through center of Prague - Credit: che


When the novel opens, shortly after Tomas and Tereza have met (roughly in 1961), Tomas works as a surgeon in Prague. Later, when the Communist regime forces him out of his position in medicine, he works in Prague as a window washer. Tomas and Sabina of course meet and begin their long-term affair in Prague, Tereza shoots photos of the Russian invaders and their “welcome” by the Czechs there, and eventually all three of the native Czech characters -- Tomas, Tereza, and Sabina -- escape the city for elsewhere: Tomas and Tereza for the country and Sabina to other nations.

Many images from around the city (for example, the Vltava, Prague Castle, Týn Church, the Old Town Hall, the Astronomical Clock, and Petrin Hill) may be found among the Bookmarks.