Prague » Prague sightseeings
Prague is a fairy-tale town of magical beauty sitting at the very hearth of Europe.
The monumental Prague Castle, amazing Charles Bridge, old churches, hundreds of towers… it is said to be difficult to admire it fully in the course of several days only. Even more intricate is thus trying to introduce it using nothing but a couple of words. Here are the Prague gems.
Bridge in Malá Strana
Strolling across Charles Bridge is everybody’s favourite Prague activity. However, by 9am it’s a 500m-long fairground, with an army of tourists squeezing through a gauntlet of hawkers and buskers beneath the impassive gaze of the baroque statues that line the parapets. If you want to experience the bridge at its most atmospheric, try to visit it at dawn.
Castle in Prague Castle & Hradčany
Prague Castle – Pražský hrad. Looming above the Vltava’s left bank, its serried ranks of spires, towers and palaces dominate the city centre like a fairy-tale fortress. Within its walls lies a varied and fascinating collection of historic buildings, museums and galleries that are home to some of the Czech Republic’s greatest artistic and cultural treasures.
St Vitus Cathedral
Church in Prague Castle & Hradčany
Built over a time span of almost 600 years, St Vitus is one of the most richly endowed cathedrals in central Europe. It is pivotal to the religious and cultural life of the Czech Republic, housing treasures that range from the 14th-century mosaic of the Last Judgement and the tombs of St Wenceslas and Charles IV, to the baroque silver tomb of St John of Nepomuck, the ornate Chapel of St Wenceslas, and art nouveau stained glass by Alfons Mucha.
Old Town Hall
Historic building in Staré Město
Prague’s Old Town Hall, founded in 1338, is a hotchpotch of medieval buildings acquired piecemeal over the centuries, presided over by a tall Gothic tower with a splendid Astronomical Clock. As well as housing the Old Town’s main tourist information office, the town hall has several historic attractions, and hosts art exhibitions on the ground floor and the 2nd floor.
Historic site in Staré Město
Every hour, on the hour, crowds gather beneath the Old Town Hall Tower to watch the Astronomical Clock in action. Despite a slightly underwhelming performance that takes only 45 seconds, the clock is one of Europe’s best-known tourist attractions, and a ‘must-see’ for visitors to Prague. After all, it’s historic, photogenic and – if you take time to study it – rich in intriguing symbolism. The clock is scheduled to be out of action from spring 2017 to summer 2018 while the clock tower undergoes renovations.
Church of Our Lady Before Týn
Church in Staré Město
Its distinctive twin Gothic spires make the Týn Church an unmistakable Old Town landmark. Like something out of a 15th-century – and probably slightly cruel – fairy tale, they loom over the Old Town Square, decorated with a golden image of the Virgin Mary made in the 1620s from the melted-down Hussite chalice that previously adorned the church.
Prague Jewish Quarter
The name Josefov comes from the emperor Josef II, whose reforms improved the living conditions for the Jewish in Prague. The Jewish Quarter lies between the right bank of the Vltava River and the Old Town Square. It contains the remains of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto, with its multitude of legends about the mystical Golem and the spirit of Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924).
Don’t forget to visit The Jewish Museum and the Synanogues.
One of the most representative Neo-Renaissance buildings in Prague
Nowadays Rudolfinum already famous halls house many of the concerts of the Prague Spring and Autumn Music Festivals and other events. It’s a location of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
St Nicholas Church
Church in Malá Strana
Malá Strana is dominated by the huge green cupola of St Nicholas Church, one of Central Europe’s finest baroque buildings. (Don’t confuse it with the other Church of St Nicholas on Old Town Square.) On the ceiling, Johann Kracker’s 1770 Apotheosis of St Nicholas is Europe’s largest fresco (clever trompe l’oeil technique has made the painting merge almost seamlessly with the architecture).
John Lennon Wall
Historic site in Malá Strana
After his murder on 8 December 1980 John Lennon became a pacifist hero for many young Czechs. An image of Lennon was painted on a wall in a secluded square opposite the French Embassy (there is a niche on the wall that looks like a tombstone), along with political graffiti and Beatles lyrics.
Historic building in Prague Castle & Hradčany
Strahov Library is the largest monastic library in the country, with two magnificent baroque halls dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can peek through the doors but, sadly, you can’t go into the halls themselves – it was found that fluctuations in humidity caused by visitors’ breath was endangering the frescoes. There’s also a display of historical curiosities.