Prague, Czech Republic

Wenceslas Square New Town Prague Czech Republic
Wenceslas Square in New Town
- Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Castle Night Czech Republic
Beautiful Prague Castle at Night 
- Czech Republic
Lesser Town Prague Czech Republic
Lesser Town - Prague, Czech Republic
Astronomical Clock Orlij Old Town Square Prague Czech Republic
Astronomical Clock (Orlij)
in Old Town Square
 - Prague, Czech Republic
Old Town Square Prague Czech Republic
Old Town Square - Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town Square Prague Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic
changing Changeover of the Presidential Guard Prague Czech Republic
Changeover of the Presidential Guard
- Prague, Czech Republic
City Art Prague Czech Republic tanks
City Art - Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic (6/2-5/2011) – Prague is a charming and beautiful city to wander and explore day and night. 

Almost undamaged during WWII, Prague's medieval old town and 9th-century castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) make up one of the most beautiful places we have visited. 

Prague is definitely a ‘discovered’ tourist destination with crowds of people sometimes making it difficult to walk in the areas of the main sites.

For more than ten centuries this historic capital of Bohemia has amazed people with its countless spires, bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes. Prague is called the City of One Hundred Spires for its many spires rising above the city.

Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy. The beer in the Czech Republic is considered by many as the best in the world (this was confirmed by Germans we met along the way) and Czechs are the heaviest beer drinkers in the world. We could hear them partying every night. 

Czechs are also one of the most atheist people in the world. Wonder if there is any connection? Probably the years of communist rule had more to do with the later.

Czech Beer Good Budweiser Prague
Czech Beer (The Good Budweiser)
- Prague, Czech Republic

We wandered past the statues on the 14th-century Charles Bridge to explore Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad), the largest ancient castle complex in the world according to Guinness World Records. It is one of the most beautiful sights in Europe and looks like a fairly-tale castle perched overlooking Prague above the Vltava River. It is picture perfectly lit at night (see photo). 

We arrived at Prague Castle just in time watch the changing of the Presidential Guard. Also in the castle complex is the huge Gothic masterpiece of St. Vitus Cathedral. Adjacent is the Royal Palace, residence for the lord of Bohemia from the 11th to the 16th centuries.

We stayed in Prague's Old Town (Stare Mesto). Wandering the narrow and winding streets of Old Town is so fun and interesting that you barely notice you are walking. It’s a good thing because people walk very slowly here. 

Prague's main Old Town square is absolutely wonderful and has Prague's famous 600-year-old Astronomical Clock (Orloj - see photo) that was absolutely amazing for its time. Today, the hourly attraction of a few turns of figures in the clock is one of the most overrated attractions in Europe. The elegant twin gables of Prague's 14th-century Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is one of Prague's most recognizable silhouettes.

In Prague's New Town (Nove mesto), the main attraction is Wenceslas Square with cafes and stores (see photo). We enjoyed a Hollywood movie here (Pirates of the Caribbean) - how many of these “Pirates” are they going to make? 

Beautiful Old Town Prague Czech Republic
Beautiful Old Town - 
Prague, Czech Republic
A note about Czech beer (pivo)... "Wherever beer is brewed, all is well. Whenever beer is drunk, life is good" is an old proverb in a country whose per capita beer consumption is the world's highest. Pilsner-style beer was perfected in the west Bohemian city of Plzen and the Czech Republic has 125 breweries producing beer, many in the capital city Prague.

Beautiful Bridges of Prague Czech Republic
Beautiful Bridges of 
Prague, Czech Republic
A lot of history... Prague was founded in the 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Prague thrived under the rule of Charles IV in the 14th century and many of Prague's most important attractions date back to that time. Prague went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

Map of czech republic
Map of Europe
In 1918, after World War I, Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia. A poor relationship with the German minority (20% of the overall population) was a particular problem that was capitalized on by Hitler and used as "rationale" to annex Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. After World War II, Czechoslovakia expelled most of its 2.5 million German population by force as well as many of the ethnic Hungarians. The nation escaped the massive air bombardments and invasions that leveled most of the historic neighboring cities in Germany, Austria, Poland, and Belarus. 

Charles Bridge Prague Czech Republic
Charles Bridge
- Prague, Czech Republic
In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face". Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and remained so by force until 1989 when the Communist government was deposed in a peaceful “Velvet Revolution”. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.


While visiting the Czech Republic don’t miss two wonderful smaller towns. See our travel blog post: 

Cesky Krumlov & Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

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1 comment:

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