So while we’ll be at West Pines today, I couldn’t help but wish I was back in Praha, or Prague as most people know it, and my most favorite city in Europe. Some buildings in this beautiful city date from the 800’s and during the Middle Ages, Prague was larger than Paris or London. Central Prague is easy to meander about on foot, cab, tram or bus. Sites from Old Town Square, fabulous gothic churches, the towering Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridge are guaranteed to make you want to spend many days wandering around inhaling as much culture as possible. With many US expats and a large English online newspaper (The Prague Post), it’s easy to see why so many Americans love this city. English is spoken in many shops and restaurants so communicating is very easy. I found only one small apothecary shop where English wasn’t spoken but thankfully between my pathetic German together with goofy impersonation, I was still able to procure some cold/allergy medication. Isn’t it funny how people will go out of their way to help tourists who manage to convey their inability to breathe easily?
One of the most iconic sites is the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock. First built at the beginning of the 15th century, it was rebuilt by a master clockmaker (Hanús) in 1490. Not wishing for him to duplicate his masterpiece elsewhere, the city councillors blinded the poor clockmaker. The mechanism currently in place was perfected by Jan Táborský between 1552 and 1572.
From Frankfurt, I took an overnight train and arrived bright and early in the morning. An older wooden train with sleeping compartments, the rocking motion and click-clacking on the tracks were the perfect way to get a restful night of sleep. Arriving at the main station one feels they’ve stepped back in time.
Our comfortable hotel (K+K Hotel Fenix) was not far from the train station near Wenceslas Square and they arranged a lovely bus tour of the city for me and my travel companions.
Dominating the Little Quarter Square, the fabulous High Baroque Church of St. Nicholas dates from the 1700’s. Located near the bridge, the beautiful church with its lush interior and frescoed vault, makes it one of Prague’s most important baroque buildings. It took 60 years to complete.
No trip to Prague would be complete without visiting the Prague Castle founded in the 9th century with towering St. Vitus Cathedral overlooking the city. The picturesque ‘Golden Lane’ with its colorful little cottages built into the castle walls was constructed in the 16th century.
Folk art can be found everywhere with hand painted eggs, wooden toys and Prague is well-known for its exquisite Bohemian crystal and beautiful garnet jewelry.
The most iconic monument in Prague by far is the Charles Bridge. At 1706 feet long, the pedestrian bridge is now a haven for craft and trinket stalls and connects the Old Town with the Little Quarter. Until 1741, it was the only crossing over the Vltava River. Built by Charles IV of sandstone blocks, it was commissioned to replace the Judith Bridge. Approximately halfway, the only decoration for 200 years was a wooden crucifix but subsequent statutes were erected along the bridge and named after many saints.
Located in the Old Town Square, the historic Church of Our Lady before Týn with its twin towers dominates the Jan Hus Monument. Begun in 1364, the church became associated with the reform movement in Bohemia and commemorates the religious reformer and Czech hero, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake by the Council of Constance in 1415.
The Jewish Cemetery is crammed with some 12,000 headstones with occupants stacked up to 12 deep in some places with an estimated 100,000 people buried in the small space. The last burial was in 1787.
Prague is one of the most fascinating cities I’ve ever visited with a rich and sometimes tortured history but one place I strongly recommend. Have you ever been there? What did you love about this cultural treasure?
Live, love, bark! ❤︎