”Tented Gothic towers and baroque domes is silhouetted against the sunset. This is Prague in a nutshell. The city’s extraordinary charms lie in the painstaking detail of its architecture – a gabled roof, an ornate railing, a sculpted house sign, a pair of Atlantes supporting a portal, a votive statue ensconced in a niche…”
( view towards Tyn Church, one of the vista to be enjoyed from the tower at the Old Town Hall)
I can not believe it’s been 3 years since I visited Prague; a city of thousand spires && stunning architectures that are often found in Gothic literatures.
It’s a compact city: the main sights are easily accessible on foot and much of the central area is traffic free with cafes and pubs on almost every street corner. The city falls into four medieval divisions:
Hradcany ( the area around the castle) primarily a tourist attraction with its cathedral, museums and galleries. Also a seat of government.
- Mala Strana (lesser Quarter) on the slope beneath the castle, an area founded by the aristocrats who built their palaces here. The majestic, green domed Church of St Nicholas can be found in this area. The secluded neighbourhood nearby is also perfect for a romantic evening stroll.
- Stare Mesto ( Old town) which is beyond Charles bridge, historically the most important part of the four towns & one of the prettiest squares in Europe.
- Nove Mesto ( New town) is the commercial heart of the city and the famous Wenceslas Square, though a bit misleading, it is in fact a really long boulevard lined with shops, nightclubs and hotels.
With so many attractions to see and had only 4 days in Prague, everyday felt like an adventure. Our hotel was located at outskirt of the city, it was a really old building and gave the sense of somewhat ”soviet”. We had to take the metro into the city centre in order to see those famous sites I previously described. One of the most difficult things from my trip to Prague was that a lot of the residents spoke limited english so most of the time we had to figure out the directions by ourself, however, if you are a German speaker, you should be fine! Of course some older generations could speak both languages and often when you appear looking lost, they will casually approach you by asking: in English? auf Deutsch?
The very first day, I was eager to visit Prague’s most famous landmark in the Old Town- the enchanting Astronomical Clock
Contrive to give the time of day, the months and seasons of the year, the signs of the zodiac,the course of the sun and the holidays of the Christian calendar. On the stroke of the hour, death, in the form of a skeleton, tolls a bell before making way for the 12 Apostles.
Apart of the Old Town Hall is open to the public and the Council Chamber has a fine casetto ceiling and climb the tower for views across the red rooftops of the city:
Another way to see the whole of Prague is to take a boat trip where you get the chance to see the whole Charles Bridge , other surroundings connected between the Old town and Lesser Quarters and the Smetana Museum
We settled at a Korean restaurant in the evening, it was perhaps the most expensive meal during my trip but it was tasty! Little did we know the Jewish square was nearby so after our lovely evening meal we took a stroll heading to Josefov.
The Holocaust wiped out the Jewish population of Prague, with only about 1,000 today. Hitler, however planned a museum at Josefov recording the history of the ”extinct” Jewish race, but ironically this ensured the preservation of treasures and furnishings confiscated from all synagogues all over Bohemia, now exhibited in three of the restored synagogues.
The following day we took a visit to the famous Prague Castle & St Vitus’s Cathedral
(Entry to the Castle is through a series of enclosed courtyards, this is the first courtyard)
Little did I know that around mid september in Prague there would be three weeks of classical musical performed by musicians from around the world, as we were about to head to our hotel. We were stopped by a group of people promoting a concert taking place in the National Museum, after 5 minutes of hesitation, we ended up buying tickets and next thing I know I was in a solid neo-Renaissance building, sitting in the most richly decorated hall lost in the sound of bows graciously gliding across the strings.
Prague always had two faces. She was officially German and unofficially Czech. Or she was officially Czech but unofficially she had within herself a german city… she was officially Austrian and unofficially anti-Austrian. She was officially Catholic and unofficially anti-Christian
WILLY LORENZ – To Bohemia with Love