Walking down finely, cobbled streets with open restaurants on both the sides serving sumptuous food, children running around, people passing by with sounds of laughter and happiness – a live scene from a medieval European country? No, that is exactly how you will find Prague to be even today. To top it all, black, handsome stallions are all ready to take you on a carriage ride – a perfect fairy tale setting. Prague, the capital of Czech Republic is called the City of a Hundred Spires and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It boasts of a number of famous cultural attractions, most of which have survived the violence and destruction of century Europe.
The most famous iconic landmark of the city, connecting the Old Town and Lesser Town over the River Vltava is the 600 year-old Charles Bridge. It was made as a replacement to the old Judith Bridge destroyed by a flood and was commissioned by King Charles IV. The unique feature of this bridge is the 30 Baroque statues which line the entire length of the walkway. Innumerable vendor stalls, jazz musicians, performance artists and souvenir stalls are a major tourist attraction.
A legend says that eggs, wine and milk were added to the mortar at the time of construction to give it stability for centuries.
Said to be one of the most spectacular sights in the world, the Prague castle forms the back drop to the Charles Bridge. Spread over 45 hectares, it has been the royal residence of Czech kings, emperors and presidents for a thousand years and a witness to many historical events from the 9th century to the 21st century. The entire castle grounds are dominated by the monumental St. Vitus Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful structures in Europe. A tour of the Prague Castle is like a walk through a textbook on architecture where time has stood still. The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of a bygone era.
Old Town Square
The heart of the city, Prague’s Old Town Square is always bustling with tourists and locals. The tower of Town Hall which houses the oldest clock in the world – the famous astronomical clock, the fairytale Tyn Cathedral, the Church of St. Nichols and the cozy houses of myriad colours lend this place a unique charm of its own.
The astronomical clock called the ‘orloj’ is an ingenious piece of mechanical miracle. It has been faultlessly showing the time and date, the position of the sun, phases of the moon, astronomical cycles and festivals on the Christian calendar for the past 600 years. At every hour there is a fascinating spectacle of parading apostles and moving statues which made it one of the wonders of the world in those days. It could still be considered a wonder today.
What was once Prague’s horse market is now a shopper’s paradise and one of the city’s main squares. Located in the New Town, this is the most modern part of Prague. It is a boulevard with lots of restaurants, bars, banks, hotels and shops. Wenceslas Square is central to most of Prague – the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge is just a five-minute walk away. The grand National Museum looms tall and strong at one end of the square. It is home to the Prague State Opera too.
Rich with architecture and culture, Prague is definitely a place which will remain imprinted in your mind. The presence of the rich gothic and baroque architecture lends a mysterious appeal to the entire city. Despite its modernisation, it has retained the most important aspect of its identity – its history.