Prague – The capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, located on the River Vltava in central Bohemia. Prague is widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, its called the «golden city», «City of the Thousand Spires» and «Heart of Europe». In 1992, the historic city center was included in the UNESCO list of world heritage.
Praga amazes amazing unique beauty: a few epochs are displayed in the architecture of buildings and monuments. The variety of architectural forms is an extraordinary harmony, the city can watch all directions and styles, where Romanesque and Gothic buildings, built in Renaissance and Baroque whimsically combined with more recent trends: modernism, cubism. It will take several days to experience all the splendor of the Czech capital.
Only one center of Prague is so rich spectacular and unusual items, it’s easy to miss something if you follow a route from the guidebook. Of course, you can visit Prague Castle, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Lesser Town Square and Peterzin Hill. However, quarters, located far from the center, such as Zizkov, has much to offer discerning travelers interested in sightseeing, and quality leisure: everywhere in Prague, you can taste the best beers and wines, which is famous for the Czech Republic.
Old Town Square
Old Town Hall
On the west side is the medieval astronomical clock (Pražský orloj), which gives a mechanical show featuring saints, deadly sins and Jesus every hour 9am–9pm.
The clock was created in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest that’s still being operated.
Legend says that the creator of the clock was blinded by the council in Prague after he finished it. This was supposedly done to avoid him re-creating the clock for other cities.
This Rococo building on Old Town Square features rich stucco and sculptural decoration. The Kinský Palace has been witness to many historical events. Today it is the seat of the National Gallery in Prague.
The beautifully decorated building was built between 1755 and 1765 for the Golz family. This late Baroque style is famous for its ornamental and theatrical tendencies, which is definitely seen back in the gorgeous exterior of Kinsky Palace.
Church of Our Lady before Týn
One of the most impressive Gothic religious buildings in Prague was built from the mid-14th to the early 16th centuries. At the end of the 17th century, the interior was reworked in Baroque style. The cathedral serves as an extensive gallery of Gothic, Renaissance and Early Baroque works, the most interesting of which include altar paintings by Karel Škréta and the tomb of the astronomer Tycho Brahe. The organ, dating from 1673, is the oldest in Prague.
Legend says that this church inspired Walt Disney for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
This monumental entrance by which the coronation processions of Czech kings entered the Old Town is one of the most significant monuments of Late Gothic Prague. Completed in 1475, the Powder Tower, which formerly served as a gunpowder store, is still the starting point for the Coronation or Royal Route to Prague Castle. The viewing gallery is located at a height of 44 m.
You can climb the 186 steps for a lovely view across Prague. Close to the Powder Tower, you can also find the Czech Museum of Cubism.
This complex of historic buildings is definitely worth a visit. Located close to the Charles Bridge, visiting it can fit easily into your trip to Prague.
The extensive grounds of the Clementinum, one of the largest building complexes in Europe, were built from the mid-16th century to the mid-18th century, originally as a Jesuit dormitory. In its Astronomical Tower, meteorological measurements have been collected since 1775. The most beautiful hall of the complex is the Baroque Library with beautiful frescoes and historically valuable globes. The Mirror Chapel with its richly designed interior and unique installation of mirrors is a place where classical music concerts take place regularly.
This beautiful library is known for its stunning interior and ceiling artwork by Jan Hiebl.
Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Northwest of Old Town Square is Josefov, a mixture of narrow cobbled streets – the remains of the old Jewish ghetto, and wide Art Nouveau boulevards – the legacy of 1890s slum clearance.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the ghetto, its inhabitants overcrowded even in death. To the south is the Pinkas Synagogue, inscribed with the names of 80,000 Czechoslovak Jews killed by the Nazis. The Old–New Synagogue, Europe’s oldest synagogue, is the heart of Prague’s Jewish community. Opposite is the Jewish Town Hall (Židovská radnice), with its distinctive anticlockwise clock. East of Pařížská is the gorgeous neo-Byzantine Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga), which hosts classical concerts.
Crossing the Vltava river, the Charles Bridge (which is 516 meters long, 9.5 meters wide and 13 meters heigh) connects the Old Town with the grounds of Prague Castle. Charles IV had it built in 1357 and it wasn’t completed until the 15th century. It’s not only one of the most famous, but definitely also one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
One of the most interesting statues on Charles Bridge is definitely the Statue of St. John of Nepomuk. It has a huge religious meaning, since it immortalizes the memory of John of Nepomuk (“Jan Nepomucký” or “Johánek z Pomuka” in Czech), one of the most significant Czech saints. According to a legend, John of Nepomuk was tortured to death after he refused to give away the confessional secret of the queen. And allegedly his tongue stayed preserved hundreds of years after his death – thanks to his honesty. Many people believe that it brings luck if you touch the statue…
Because it’s such a popular tourist sight in Prague, is highly recommended to visit the bridge either early in the morning or later at night.