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  • The Charismatic Prague.

    Prague as it's finest

    Prague as it’s finest ©Jiuguang Wang

    It is said that Prague lies in the very heart of Europe. The Czech Capital is known for being one of the most visited capitals in Europe alongside London, Paris, Istanbul, and Rome. It’s renowned for having a spectacular, well preserved and extensive historical center.

    Prague is filled with fascinating and impressive architecture. The city has about 4.4 million international visitors per year. Prague is accessible by all types of transportation. You can access the city by car, train, and airplane. The Vltava river crosses through the Prague, as well as other towns like Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice.

    Historically the earliest settlement on the banks of the Vltava River dates back to prehistory. In the 9th century a fortified settlement was established on a hill on the left bank of the river, which is nowadays the Prague Castle.

    In the 10 Century the Czech Capital became the capital of the Bohemian state, and a bisophric was founded there in 973. The assembly of the early Romanesque Cathedral of St Vitus began in the late 11th century.

    The 12th century saw a considerable expansion of the city,with a Premonstratensian monastery being built at Strahov and the construction of a new stone bridge across the Vltava.

    The city saw further growth during the 14th century, Initiating the foundation of Nove Mesto. From that century and onwards it became one of Europe’s major center of culture, with artists and architects coming all around from Europe, especially from Italy, resulting a massive programme of reconstruction. Because of it’s vast background and wealthy architecture, the city is very diverse with structures from all periods.

     

    Some top prominent attractions of Prague:

    Charles Bridge. Prague’s most notorious bridge, it is the cities trademark. It is famous for containing many 30 statues situated on the bridges balustrade which forms a unique connection of artistic styles with underlying Gothic bridge. Most sculptures were formed between 1683 and 1714. They depict various saints and patron saints. It connects the Prague Castle and the cities Old Town.

    Charles Bridge ©Miroslav Petrasko

    Charles Bridge ©Miroslav Petrasko

    Old Town Square. It is the historic square in the old town of Prague. It is probably the most common meeting point for both tourists and locals alike. It’s vibrant, always crowded. It is known for having many beautiful structures and town houses.

    One of the cities important building of the city, however is the Prague Orloj, the Astronomical clock. The clock and the building itself was constructed in 1410, making the oldest clock tower in the world still in use.

    The Old Town with the Astronomical clock   ©Travel via Italy

    The Old Town with the Astronomical clock ©Travel via Italy

    St Vitus Cathedral. It is an outstanding example of a Gothic architecture and also the biggest and most important church in the country. It is located within Prague Castle and contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. It is part of the Prague Castle Complex. The length of the Cathedral is 124 metres (407 ft), the Width is 60 metres and has 10 bells.

    St Vitus Cathedral ©Travel via Italy

    St Vitus Cathedral ©Travel via Italy

    Prague Castle.

    According to the book Guinness Book of Records, it is the largest ancient castle in the world. It was the seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors, and presidents of Czechslovakia.

    The Bohemian Crown jewels are also kept within a hidden room.  The castle represents all type of architectural styles. The Basilica of St George which is one of the last surviving Romanesque churches in the castle. It hosts many gardens, and the golden Golden Lane street.

    Prague Castle ©sican

    Prague Castle ©sican

    Josefov and other Jewish interests.

    The capital city is known for having one of the richest Jewish history in the world. Josefov, which is the Jewish district of Prague, is completely surrounded by the Old Town of Prague.

    The formation dates back Centuries, believing to be established in the 10th century. It has numerous historical sites like Franz Kafka’s birthplace, Old Jewish Cemetery, The old Synagogue, Jewish Ceremonial Hall, Spanish Synagogue.

    Old Jewish Cemetery ©Mark Healey

    Old Jewish Cemetery ©Mark Healey

    Dancing House. Although Prague is more distinguished for it’s very old structures, it is also known for having modern buildings, and one example of a more modern building is the Dancing House. Built between 1992 and 1996, It was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic in cooperation with Canadian-American  architect Frank Gehry.

    Because the site where the building is nowadays is situated where there are numerous Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau structures, Initially it faced controversial statements by locals, however, the then president himself, Vaclav Havel, openly supported the creation of the building and it’s project. He also lived next to the site.

    Dancing house ©Russell McNeil

    Dancing house ©Russell McNeil

    Culture and Cuisine. The city is known for being one of Europe’s cultural center’s. The city is rich in museums, having more than 10 important  museums. Some vital museums of the capital city are, Jewish Museum in Prague, The Museum of the Capital City, National Gallery, Josef Sudek Gallery, Naprstek Museum, which also manages as the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic.

    Czech beer is worldwide famous, and oddly said in the whole country beer is cheaper than water. The Staropramen brewery what is also a museum is a worth visit. In general breweries in the country also serves as important museums

    Some notable cuisines of the country that you may try are: Utopence, Svickova na Smetane, Smazeny Syr.

    Utopence. Pickled sausages that are fatty and a bit sour, these are typically piled high on a plate with pickled onions and a stein of the house beer.  It is a lunchtime favorite but is also common as a snack for the early evening.

    Svickova na Smetane. Oftentimes referred to as the sweet cousin of Czech goulash, this dish is a cut of beef tenderloin that has been pot-roasted and is served in a creme sauce that is sweetened using carrots.  It is usually topped off with cranberries and a dollop of whipped creme.

    Smazeny Syr. This is similar to what we call mozzarella sticks and is normally served with a side of French fries known as hranolky and a tartar sauce that is quite tangy.

    Staropramen, one of Prague's and also worldwide known beer ©lmnop88a

    Staropramen, one of Prague’s and also worldwide known beer ©lmnop88a

     

    Prague hosts many events. Some famous events are:

    Prague International Marathon.This event has a new owner and corporate sponsors galore, entry fees have more than tripled for the main event in this massive annual run

    St Nicholas’s Eve. Grown men spend the evening wearing frocks, drinking beer and terrorizing small children. They wander the streets in threes, dressed up as St Nicholas, an angel and a devil, symbolizing confession, reward and punishment

    Christmas Festival. In the week leading up to the Vánoce (Christmas) holiday, the streets sport huge tubs of water filled with carp, the traditional Czech Christmas dish, and there are Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.

    New Years Eve. the city’s streets are packed with a ragtag crowd of tipsy people, with much of the fun centered on Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square

    Prague Jazz Festival. One of the hottest jazz fests in Central Europe, the Prague Jazz Festival features world-class players like John Scofield and Marcus Miller.

    VE Day. The Day of Liberation from fascism is actually 9 May, which was the day when the Red Army reached Prague in 1945.

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