What do you know about Prague? If you’ve never been there, take a short trip with us to discover why this city makes such an intriguing holiday destination.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. While its history stretches back into ancient times, it truly began to thrive in the 14th century, when it was transformed into an imperial capital by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
According to myth, one of the rabbis of Prague created a clay creature named a ‘Golem’ which was supposed to protect the Jewish community from anti-Semitic attacks. The clay was taken from the banks of the Vltava river, and was brought to life by Hebrew incantations. There are lots of stories surrounding the Golem of Prague, but nobody knows what truth there is in the legends.
Prague’s rich past and architectural gems are bound to keep you fascinated throughout your stay. Here are just a few examples of what the city has to offer:
Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle in Europe (over 70,000 m2). It is the most important cultural and historical monument in Prague, even housing Bohemia’s Crown Jewels.
An old legend says that if a usurper places the crown on his head, he will be doomed to die within a year. The last time this supposedly came true was in World War II, when high-ranking Nazi official
Reinhard Heydrich is said to have secretly worn the regalia. In less than a year he was assassinated by British-trained Czech soldiers.
When visiting Prague Castle, it is worth taking a stroll through the beautiful gardens and trying to find Golden Lane. This street, inside the castle walls, consists of a few tiny, colorful houses – most notably No. 22, where Franz Kafka wrote his masterpieces.
According to the stories, the lane was once home to alchemists who sought to turn ‘base metal’ into gold, which is how it gained its name.
The Astronomical Clock
While visiting Prague, you must not miss the world-famous Astronomical Clock. The third oldest of its kind in the world, this treasure was installed in 1410 and still works today. People are amazed watching its procession of Apostles, parading figures and unique demonstrations of time.
The clock shows the sunrise and sunset, the zodiac calender, phases of the moon and, of course, the actual hour. It is best to watch it at noon, when the clock really comes to life.
The Franz Kafka Museum
One of the greatest Czech writers was born near the Old Town Square in 1883. You may recognize his name; it is, of course, Franz Kafka. In the Franz Kafka Museum you can see some of his first edition books along with his correspondences, photos and animations, which have never been shown before.
The Petrin Observation Tower
A mini-version of the Eiffel Tower, the Petrin Observation Tower was erected in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition advancing Czech technological achievements. The metal structure is 60m high, and you can climb the 299 steps to reach the top. You can capture wonderful views of the city if you chose to walk there uphill through the park, or you can always reach it by the funicular railway.
The Charles Bridge
From the Petrin Hill you are able to look down across the city to the stunning, pedestrianized Charles Bridge, the construction of which was begun in 1357 under the auspices of the Czech Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. As the only way across the Vltava river until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection
between Prague Castle and the Old Town.
The most famous of the 30 statues on the bridge is that of Bohemian Saint Jan Nepomucky, which people believe brings you good fortune when touched; so, when you walk past it, don’t be shy!
Places to eat
After your sightseeing you will be starving, so why not go to one of the many traditional restaurants, cafes and bars in Prague?
A great example is Pod Slavinem in Old Town Square, which has a friendly atmosphere, and extensive menu and reasonable prices, making it an excellent venue to experience the delights of Czech cuisine and to sample the internationally-renowned Czech beers.