Prague-matic guide

Written by Donovan April 24, 2016 Category: Czech Republic, Europe Tags: , , , , , , , , Comments

After hearing about the proposed name change to “Czechia”, I felt that Czech Republic deserves a post. Well, I find that the new name would sound like the Chechnya separtist region in Russia, or that it sounds like the “chacha” dance. I guess most of the locals are opposing to the new name as they had gotten used to the old one.

St Vitus lighted up at night

on the castle grounds

Zooming in to the capital city Prague (also known as Praha in the local language), it is indeed one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. It escaped unscathed from WWII, its glorious architecture inviting visitors to explore its delightful streets and squares.

walking around the quaint neighbourhoods

The most striking and well-known attraction in the city is Prague castle, a 1100 year old complex that was once home to Bohemian and Holy Roman emperors. Today, the castle is home to the president of the country. Having survived through several eras, visitors can easily discern a variety of architectural styles, such as Gothic, Renaissance and modern. The castle complex consists of numerous buildings and gardens, including palaces, churches (St Vitus being the most famous) and vast gardens. Sparkling at night, the castle has become a symbol of the divine beauty of Prague.

the astronomical clock

For the history buffs, the Old Town is an attraction not to be missed as it is often the starting point of your tour around Prague. It features a wide range of houses and landmarks dating as far back to the 13th century, such as the Old Town Hall, Estates Theatre and Municipal Theatre. A notable monument would be the Prague astronomical clock (Prage Orloj), the third oldest one in the world. It is a medieval world wonder because it is still functioning well after 600 years. It amazes people with its procession of Apostles, moving statues and visualisation of time like no other instrument in the world.

touch the base of the St John statue for some good luck
with Charles bridge in the background

Connecting Prague castle and the Old Town across the Vlatava River is the famous romantic Charles Bridge, which can get really crowded during the day. Until 1841, it was the only bridge connecting the east and west of the town. Crossing the tranquil river, visitors can stop for a moment to marvel at Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral from afar. The bridge was constructed in a Baroque style, with around 30 statues of saints and kings running along its balustrade. Do line up to touch the most famous statue — St John Nepomuk which has been rubbed smooth and shiny on the bottom of the statue. Legend has it that if you rub the bronze plaque, you will receive a lifetime of good fortune and happiness.

Visitors to Prague never fail to be mesmerised by this charming and ageless city. Without the chaos and bustle usually observed in other major European metropolises, Pragues keeps travelers enthralled by its graceful and romantic nature, just like the Fred and Ginger dancing house. This ambiance is exuded in the ancient landmarks, coupled with the tranquil and serene landscape.

Fred and Ginger dancing hosue designed by Frank Gehry

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