Prague – Gothic Glory
Prague Castle and its cathedral tower above Prague stand watch over the old city from the long hill known as Hradcany. Prague isn’t the easiest city when it comes to disciphering the language so its best to join a tour group and buse your way to the castle precinct. The guide will regale you with wonderful snippets, intelligent answers and quirky tales as you meander through the castle grounds and wandered inside St Vitus’s Cathedral and its silver-laden St Wenceslas’ Chapel. The cathedral is an ornate yet medieval masterpiece with is towering spires and beautiful stained-glass windows and gargoyles. Originally the residence of Bohemian royalty, today the castle is a political stronghold and the seat of the modern-day Czech government, overseen by its President.
Prague and Me
Walk the Charles Bridge – early in the morning at first light, during the day when the city is in full swing, late in the afternoon as the locals make their way home from work and in the evening when lovers step out for a stroll. The bridge takes on different personalities depending on the time of day you traverse this spectacular 600 year-old beauty punctuated by its 30 saintly statues.
Old Town Bridge Tower – for fantastic panormamic views of Prague Castle and the Little Quarter.
The Old Town Square is a great place to start and soak up the history of glorious Prague. It’s full of wondrous discoveries. The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn (pictured) is my favourite – it takes on a eerie Gothic presence at night; in the daylight hours it’s silhouette is reminiscent of a castle from a Walt Disney fairy story. The Astronomical Clock is another big attraction in the Square – during the day, on the hour, bells ring, cocks crow, and 15th century statues dance while the necks of tourists stiffen as they gawk up at this rather extraordinary spectacle.
A Ghost Tour of the city’s ‘haunted’ streets and alleys in the darkest of night. Do look at all options – some tours are better than others. Don’t be put off if you’re there in winter – my partner and I happily walked the cobblestone streets, peering down gloomily dark laneways and staring up at grotesque statues – it’s all part of the journey.
A tour of the Jewish Quarter is a must. Prague is one of the oldest and most prominent Jewish centres in Central Europe. It was the real heart of the Old town and has a remarkable history. Visit the Old Cemetery, the synagogues, the Golem…
Other Must Do’s in Prague
Cruise down the Vltava River – for a different perspective of the city.
Prague Castle and its historical buildings including St Wenceslas’ Chapel. The hilltop location alone is glorious.
St Nicholas’ Church (we loved this more than St Wenceslas’ Chapel – it’s grand Baroque at its best)
The night markets – such fun. Even in winter, in the freezing cold, they are a joy to experience. Grab a hot mulled wine and wander at your leisure around the eclectic collection of stallholders including local artists exhibiting their paintings and craftsmen with their handmade wooden puppets.
Wenceslas Square. This former medieval horse market was redeveloped in the 19th century and is now the commericial hub of Prague. Retail shopping is also on the agenda in this part of town.
Na Prikope – lined with shops and shopping galleries, this wide boulevard is Prague’s answer to Paris’ Champs Elysees!