Prague : A Record Breaking City
Since coming out from behind the Iron Curtain, what was the capital of Bohemia for hundreds of years; Prague has reinvented itself to become a thriving city, full of life, art and music. Full of medieval buildings, ancient churches, and narrow cobbled streets, the historic centre of the city is a World Heritage Site.
As well as many beautiful sights in this magnificent historic city, this is the place to come if you are into live music. Virtually every church in the town centre will have concerts; the bars and cafes competing with contemporary live music. It is no wonder Prague is so proud of its musical legacy. It is here that Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni was first performed at the Estate Theatre that can be found in the Old Town. Home to one of the world’s most loved composers, the Mozart and Dušek Museum is dedicated to Mozart. If you want to visit Prague for its music, look out for the ‘Prague Spring’ classical music festival, ‘Folklore Days’ and Advent and Christmas music concerts.
Overlooking the city is the Prague Castle, which claims to be the biggest ‘old’ castle in the world (according to the Guinness Book of Records). It shares its imposing site with St. Vitus Cathedral and its lookout tower.
In the Old Town, Prague’s historic centre you can see the world’s oldest working astronomical clock as well as many churches like GothicTýn Church and the Storch building with its murals. Not far is Josefov, a historic Jewish ghetto that still has several well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue is Europe’s oldest active synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Europe.
The New Town isn’t new at all and is merely an extension of the Old Town that was added in the 14th century. Extensively restored, at the top of the square is the National Museum, while the rest of Wenceslas Square is a large and buzzing commercial centre lined with stalls, shops and good places to eat. Famous and beautiful, Charles Bridge connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town, which is also packed full of lovely old churches and narrow streets.
As to be expected in such a historical city, Prague is not short of museums, the most important being the Czech National Gallery. There are several more: Prague City Gallery shows modern Czech art while the Czech Museum of Fine Arts displays exhibitions of 20th century Czech art.
Prague’s Christmas markets are quite an attraction, and Bohemian crystal is very popular any time of year.
Flying into Václav Havel Airport Prague you are only 30 minutes from the city centre. Several airlines fly here including Czech Airlines and budget airlines like Wizz Air, Easyjet, and Jet2.com as well as scheduled airlines to destinations in Europe and New York. The railway station in the centre of Prague connects the city with central European cities like Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw as well as Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev and Odessa.
Eating and sleeping
The Czech diet can be quite heavy for some people, with its emphasis on dumplings and potatoes. However lunch is usually considered the main meal of the day, giving plenty of time to digest your meal properly. Most beer halls serve light snacks or meals. Famous for its local beer, the Czech Republic holds the record for being the biggest beer-drinking country in the world.
Hospoda or pubs can be found everywhere and are an important part of life. As well as Pilsner and Budweiser, there’s the Czech Gambrinus and Prague beer Staropramen.
Prague has all kinds of accommodation, from budget hostels to a part of someone’s apartment, rented out for extra cash. You might want to go afloat and sleep on a riverboat, or stay in more comfort in any one of the many hotels in town.
Popular with tourists, Prague is a city that is full of life and music. Crowded and more expensive during the summer peak season, the spring and autumn are good times to come. Winters can be cold, but then you might have the city more to yourself. If you are looking to fly to Prague consider visiting Cheapflights for deals and special offers.
Photo credits: http://wikitravel.org/en/File:Prahatyn.jpg