Prague: Main Sights
The Seductive Virgin City of Europe
"Prague never lets you go...” Franz Kafka, the celebrated Jewish author from Prague said this of his city. His words ring true almost a century later. If you visit Prague once, you’ll discover his sentiments behind his statement. You just can’t tear your eyes off this lovely maiden.
10 of the must-see attractions in Prague include:
1] Charles Bridge: Named after one of Prague’s illustrious ruler, King Charles IV, this 14th. Century masterpiece of a bridge makes the city whole by connecting what the Vltava dissected. It offers a splendid view of the churning river below and of the picturesque city in the distance. Once famed for its romanticism, it now is ideal for a leisurely hand-in-hand stroll only in the wee hours of the morning or for a candlelight dinner late at night. The hubbub of frenzied activity dominates the hours between dawn and dusk, what with the jostling crowds, street artists delighting tourists with their amateurish sketches, entertainers livening up the atmosphere and vendors feverishly peddling their colourful wares.
Charles Bridge is a surefire winner with the devout as lifelike statues of Catholic saints flank either side of the bridge.
2] Petrin Hill Observatory Tower: A miniature of the celebrated Eiffel Tower. Standing 60 m tall, this tower from 1891 is perched proudly atop Petrin Hill (1043ft above sea level) and offers an unparalleled view of the whole of Prague which makes the effort of climbing 299 steps well worth it. In clear weather conditions, the highest peak of the Czech Republic, the Snezka which is 150 kms away, is clearly visible from this natural telescope.
Erected amidst the manicured gardens of the hill and surrounded by orchards of fresh fruit, it is a must-see for every nature lover. A clever yet funny maze of mirrors attached to this magnificent structure and an electric toy train called the funicular to scale the hill make it a child-friendly option worth exploring. Food lovers will give a thumbs up to the hillside restaurant, Nebozizek, located halfway down the summit famed for its eclectic fare and fine views.
3] Old Town & Square: Old town is the perfect amalgamation of history and modernity. Besides being a thriving business district, it is popular for its vast selection of restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops, markets, galleries, museums and entertainment. In the heart of the town lies the Old Town Square where the taste of centuries of dramatic history is almost palpable. An automatic favorite then and now for staging rallies, political speeches, protests, for public gatherings and festivities. A must visit for all those who fancy a magical horse drawn carriage ride at twilight through the cobblestone streets.
4] Astronomical Clock: This medieval treasure situated in Old Town is one of the oldest, most elaborate and intricate pieces of handiwork ever created. In 1410, this marvel was conceived and comprised of 3 parts: an astronomical dial with the sun, moon, stars and planets laid out as in space, an astrological calendar dial complete with the 12 zodiac signs and a trapdoor from which Christ’s figurine marches out on the hour, every hour dutifully followed by His 12 Apostles.
To appreciate the magnificence of this brilliant construction, climb it till you get to the rooftop. We promise that the view of Prague from 69.5 m above the ground will leave you speechless.
5] Prague Castle: This impressive monument with a chateau-like feel to it was erected on a large hill on the left bank of the Vltava and thus, a majestic gem came to be embedded in Prague’s glittering crown in 1775. No tour of Prague can be complete without a visit to the fairy-tale like castle. A detailed tour would easily take up the whole day. Not to be missed are leisurely strolls in the lush green lawns and a visit to the Castle’s Tower to appreciate the beautiful collage below that is Prague!
6] Jewish Quarter & Museum: History buffs, prepare to shed a few sad tears when you visit the Quarter. It will be hard not to be touched by the sad fate the Jews endured. A visit to the Museum would cheer you up with its expansive collections of Jewish art, gold, silver etc. There are about 40,000 exhibits and over 100,000 unique Jewish texts.
7] National Museum: Set in the modern part of Prague called New Town, this museum with its intricate neo-renaissance style of architecture and grand sweeping staircases is sure to sweep you off your feet with its enormity!! Not for nothing is it called the largest museum in the country! The perfect venue for classical music concerts, it also has enough room for permanent displays such as the zoological, palaeontological and anthropological collections. Many interests can be satiated by a visit to just this tourist attraction
8] The Rudolfinum: A timeless tribute to the Crown Prince Rudolf, the elegance of this Neo-Renaissance wonder in Wenceslas Square/ New Town simply cannot go unnoticed. Home to the Gallery of Modern Arts as well as the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, this is the ground all art and music lovers visiting Prague worship.
9] National Theatre: Another of Prague’s beautiful gems, this Neo-Renaissance building erected in honour of Crown Prince Rudolf served a more important purpose of strengthening the Czech sentiment of national pride and unity during the tumultuous second half of the 19th. Century. Since 1881, the theatre has never failed to entertain her visitors with her wholesome repertoire of plays and concerts.
10] Estates’ Theatre: If beauty and genius ever made a crackling combination, this has got to be it!! Lauded as one of the most beautiful theatre in Europe, this classic edifice hasn’t aged even after all these years. A devoted lover was the legendary Mozart who insisted most of his operas debut in this theatre. You too will be captivated by the undercurrent of romantic mysticism circulating in the air of this theatre. Perfect for a romantic yet entertaining outing. And the Theatre is so compact and cozy, you’ll be fooled that you’re inside a sweet and melodious music box with the one you love!!!
There are so many other tourist attractions to choose from: the pristine whitewashed Gothic churches: St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church, Church of our Lady of Tyn or Lesser town at the foothills of the Prague Castle that is almost too picturesque for its own good - resplendent with baroque churches and quaint dwellings that no camera can do justice to its beauty or Wenceslas Square that oozes modernity…the splendour of all these cannot be explained or contained in a few words…But you can do justice to them by paying homage to them in person!!!