A few suggestions for your stay in Prague, the Golden City
For those planning a visit to Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic, we would like to suggest some things to do and see which we think you really should not miss.
This beautiful city – the capital of Bohemia and which is known as the City of a Hundred Spires, the GoldenCity, and the Heart of Europe – seems as if it might belong in a fairy tale. An evening walk through the illuminated OldTown is a magical experience to savour and remember.
Prague was founded in the 10th century when the Premyslidas dynasty unified various tribes in the Bohemian region and established its home in what is now the Castle District. From then on, Prague has been an important city both in historical terms (being part of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, being invaded by the Nazis, being under Soviet domination and forming part of Czechoslovakia, as well as going through various wars), and also in cultural terms (Charles IV founded one of Europe’s oldest universities in Prague, and it has also been the home of many renowned artists, writers and musicians).
But returning to our proposition, if you visit Prague we would highly recommend:
A visit to the Castle District in Prague:
The cradle of the city of Prague, this is arguably the most important historical site in the CzechRepublic. This is a whole district, with various beautiful buildings (such as the Royal Palace – home of numerous Emperors and Kings – St Vitus Cathedral and St George’s Basilica, among others), charming narrow streets (such as the famous Golden Lane, with its coloured houses which accommodated the Emperor’s soldiers, and where, later, the city’s goldsmiths were found and where famous writers such as Franz Kafka lived).
Make a wish at Charles Bridge:
The most iconic and well-known bridge in Prague carries the name of the Emperor Charles IV, who ordered its construction in 1357, after the previous one – JudithBridge – was destroyed by a flood. Over 500 metres long and 10 metres wide, CharlesBridge is adorned with 30 statues, which were added after 1683, and among which the statue of St John of Nepomuk (the first to be placed) stands out in particular. Legend says that a wish will be granted if made while touching the base of this statue.
See the parade of the Twelve Apostles at the astronomical clock:
Built around 1490 (though the mechanism dates from 1410), this medieval astronomical clock is situated on the wall of the Town Hall, in Prague’s Old Town Square. As well as showing the month, time, position of the sun and the moon, and the movement of the sun through the signs of the zodiac, the Twelve Apostles pop out of from the clock’s upper windows every hour. A brief event, but which is nonetheless gratifying.
Stop for a rest at the Café Imperial:
Built in Art Deco style, the Café Imperial has been described as one of the most beautiful cafés in Europe. Frequented by great writers and composers over many years, it still retains all of its splendour and is the ideal place to sample some traditional Czech food or to savour one of the fine beers produced in the CzechRepublic or even in Prague itself. It also offers exquisite desserts and cakes. Don’t pass it by – if you pop in for a visit you will not be disappointed.
Be amazed by Bohemian Crystal:
As its name reflects, the famous Bohemian crystal is very typical of this region. Produced since the 13th century, it came to fame from the 16th century onwards. This elegant crystal stands out for its quality and has exceptional transparency, like that of rock crystal. The pieces can be etched or carved, with patterns which are engraved or in relief, and it is also produced in different colours, but the designs are always elegant. You can acquire a range of crystal items – from lamps, vases, cups and jewels to simple nail files. You will find many shops that sell Bohemian crystal, but we advise you to buy from specialised sellers, and to always ask for the guarantee certificate.
Allow your inner child to be spellbound by the marionettes:
These beautiful marionettes really are works of art. Made of wood or clay, small or large, they offer you another wonderful experience which will remain with you long after your visit to the Czech capital. The art of puppetry is highly developed and regarded here, made clear by the sheer number of marionettes on show as you walk through the streets; in their evident quality resulting from much care and detail; and in the way they often seem to take life – to be of flesh and bone. As well as being able to acquire a marionette, you will have the chance to enjoy a puppet show at the Prague National Marionette Theatre. A treat to delight children and those who are still children at heart.
Lose yourself in the magic of Black Light Theatre:
Another typical cultural offering in the CzechRepublic is Black Light Theatre. As the human eye cannot distinguish between black on black, and thanks to the different and ingenious lighting techniques that are used, you will be carried off to a magical world where objects and people seem to fly on their own. There are various Black Light Theatre shows available in the city, and we strongly suggest that you attend one of them and experience this magnificent local art form, being very different from other forms of theatre.
Even though these are only a few of the treasures to be found in Prague (and you will surely discover many others), we hope that our suggestions are of help to you, and we wish you both a pleasant journey and a wonderful experience of this very special city.