- Travel and Places
Prague - Europe's best kept gem
It’s been said that the story of Prague has been told in stone and it’s quite a yarn. Spanning a thousand years. Pick up any guide book and the first thing you will learn about this city is how it’s lasted through wars, plagues, communism, revolution, Prague has survived with hardly a scratch.
The result is brilliantly preserved architecture some of the best in the world and for once a city that doesn’t look out of place on a box of chocolates. Just like any good box of chocolates, everyone wants some of Prague.
Prague is not a big place – one and a quarter million people live here but four and a half million visitors come here every year for the picture post card experience. For the best vies head for the castle mount or Harak Jenie. To get there you have to battle your way across Prague’s number one attraction the Charles Bridge. This bridge is to this city what the Eifel Tower is to Paris. It’s loverly bit of medieval stone work and a great place for a few pictures.
Clark castle was originally built back in the 800s. Nazis and Communists have paraded out of here and since 1989 it’s been the seat of the Czech president though he doesn’t live here. The other big star of the castle mount is the St. Vitas cathedral. It’s gothic architecture and the big surprise about it is how long it took to be build. It started in 1344 and finished in 1929.
In the old town, 15th century astronomical clock always draws a crowd. It’s just off the old town square. One of the most spectacular places in the central Europe, packed with tourists in summer and a magical market in Christmas.
The Prague’s new town square is called the Vensezer square and here in 1989 more than 250000 people gathered to overthrow the communist regime and what’s known as the velvet revolution. It worked, Prague has gone capitalist, today the city is stuffed with glitzy shopping malls and a Yuppy youth culture willing to work hard and looking good.
It all began at the fortress of Visharat built back in the 11th century by the first king of Bohemia. There;s not underestimating the importance of this red brick fortress to Czechs. According to legend this is where the first Slav tribed pitched their tents and founded Prague and in the late nineteenth century the Czech nationalist movement turned it into the symbol for their nation.
Like the Thames in London or the Rome in Tiber, the river Vultaba is at the heart of this city. Like most river cruises, it’s the great way of seeing the sites particularly with a bit of beige on your ipod. At Vorjack museum if you’re relaly lucky you might even a ger a great performance from the great man’s greatest hits.
One of most moving places of Pragues architectural heritage is Josefroth the area just north of the old town which was for centuries the city’s Jewish ghetto.