Places to see in Prague

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, seat of the president, government and parliament and it is the political, economic and industrial centre of the country. The currency is called Czech Koruna (Crown, Kc or CZK). Most major hotels and restaurants will accept Euros. Prague covers a total area of 496 sq km’s with approximately 1.2 million people in the city and an urban total estimated at 1.9 million. Prague belongs to the territory with a changeable continental climate with warm, wet summers and cold winters, often with snow. Summer temperatures can range from 20-22°C, with tendencies of temperatures reaching 35°C but these hot periods are often broken by heavy thunder storms due to higher rainfall averages in the summer months. English is widely spoken language especially amongst the younger generation.

A legend connects founding of Prague with Princess Libuše of the Přemyslid dynasty (6th century). She prophesied Prague a great glory which will touch the stars. In the Middle Ages Prague used to be a significant city, especially in the time of the king Charles IV. Prague is situated in the central part of Bohemia and it spreads out on both banks on the river Vltava. It’s sometimes called town with hundred towers because of big amount of towers (550). Prague is also called Gold Prague. This name is known since 1882 when a Prague mayor gave Prague that beautiful name. Many people claim that Prague is very romantic.

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Pražský hrad (Prague castle, 1) was founded around 880 by prince Bořivoj of the Přemyslid dynasty. The Castle is very extended and people call this medieval castle complex and town district Hradčany. The Prague Castle served as the seat of Czech princes and later as the seat of kings, and the Prague bishop. The Prague Castle experienced one of its greatest periods during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378) when it became the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. Now there is the seat of the president. You can visit there the Vladislav Hall. In the middle ages, it was the largest hall in Prague. Many ceremonies such as the coronation of the king took place here. Nowadays, the election of the president takes place in this hall. U can find there also the St. Vitus Cathedral. Charles IV started building it in 1344 and it was finished in the 20’s of last century. The cathedral is the most important gothic building in the Czech Republic. A number of priceless art relics, historical documents, as well as the Czech Crown Jewels are stored there. Jelení příkop (Deer-mout, 2) is other part of the Castle. It´s a natural dingle and it covers an area of 8 hectares. Originally it served as defensive barrier but during the reign of Rudolf II the deer was kept there. Now it´s used as one of many parks and gardens of the Castle. From the main entrance of the Castle you can access the street Ke Hradu (3) and then continue to picturesque Nerudova street (4). Castle Steps (Zámecké schody) - start up Nerudova street (in the part near Malostranské náměstí) and take a quick right onto Zámecká street (This street is on the map behind the picture of Leader Town Square). This entire part of Old Prague is called Malá strana (Lesser town, 5) and it´s full of narrow streets with picturesque houses.

Malostranské náměstí (Lesser Town Square, 6) is full of historical palaces. The St. Nicholas church, which is the most beautiful baroque building in whole Prague, is The dominant of Leader Town Square.

Pražské Jezulátko (Infant Jesus of Prague, 7) is a charming statue of the Child Jesus, displayed for people all over the world to venerate in the church of Our Lady of Victory. People come here to pray for help, healing, or peace and many of them return to give thanks. A museum of the Infant Jesus is located inside the church. You go through the door to the right of the main altar and climb up a spiral staircase to the first floor. Inside the museum, there is a series of religious objects and a part of the wardrobe of the Infant Jesus on display. Visitors can see one of the crowns of the Infant Jesus of Prague and a video showing the changing the clothes of the statue.

Valdštejnský palác (Wallenstein Palace, 8) was built between 1624 and 1630 by Albrecht von Wallenstein, generalissimo of the Habsburg armies, it was meant to overshadow even the Prague Castle. It is so large that 23 houses, three gardens and the municipal brick kiln had to be razed to make way for the palace and its grounds. There are also splendid gardens arranged in the way as they were in those days. Now it houses the Senate of the Czech Republic.

Karlův most (Charles Bridge, 9) is named after the Emperor Charles IV. Designed by Petr Parléř, it was completed in 1400 and it connects the Lesser Town with the Old Town. Although it is now only pedestrian, it has withstood wheeled traffic for 600 years. There are thirty statues on the bridge; many of them have been replaced with copies. Originals are kept in the Lapidarium of the National Museum at Vyšehrad. The magnificent Staroměstská mostecká věž (Old Town Bridge Tower, 10) was designed by Petr Parléř too and it is considered the finest gothic tower in central Europe, mainly for its decoration. There are marvellous views of the Vltava river Valley, the Žofín, Střelecký Island, the Old Town and the Lesser Town.

Klementinum (11) is a notable example of baroque architecture and is the second largest complex of buildings in Prague after the Prague Castle. A Dominican monastery founded in the medieval period was transformed in 1556 to a Jesuit college. In 1622 the Jesuits transferred the library of Charles University to the Klementinum, and the college was merged with the University in 1654. The Jesuits remained until 1773, when the Klementinum was established as an observatory, library and university by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The library contains a collection of works of Mozart, Tycho de Brahe and Comenius as well as historic examples of Czech literature.

Rudolfinum (12) is reconsturcted building and it´s a seat of the Galerie Rudolfinum and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Zítek and Schulz, architects of the National Theatre in Prague, designed the representative neo-renaissance building of the Rudolfinum, completed in 1884.

Staronová synagoga (Old-new Synagogue, 13) is situated in Jewish Town near Old Town Square. Jewish Town is from 13th century and present appearance is from 1893 - 1913. Only a few most significant building survive of the former Jewish quarter - six synagogues, cemetery and Town Hall. Old- new Synagogue was built around 1270; it is the oldest working synagogue in Europe and one of Prague's earliest gothic buildings. On the eastern wall, there is the Holy Ark in which the Torah scrolls are kept, on the walls you can find Hebrew biblical abbreviations. The Synagogue is also known for the Jewish cemetery.

Maiselova synagoga (Maisel Synagogue, 14) was built by Maisel. The original Renaissance building was a victim of the fire in 1689. A new neo-gothic synagogue has been built in its place. Since the 1960s it has housed a fascinating collection of Jewish silver, textiles, prints and books, most of them brought to Prague by the Nazis with the intention of establishing a museum of vanished people.

Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town square, 15) is the centre of Old Town. It is surrounded by beautifully decorated houses. The dominant of the square is the gothic Tyn Church, baroque St. Nicholas Church and the John Huss Monument. The best known building in the square is the Old Town Hall whose tower offers a panoramic view of Old Town. The Old Town Hall is well known for Orloj (Astronomical clock, 16) with twelve apostles going around beyond two little windows every hour, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk.

Stavovské divadlo (Estates Theatre, 17) was built by the ruling class of Austrians and german-speaking Czechs, to enjoy opera and music of the day. Mozart premiered his opera “Don Giovanni” there in 1787.

Kostel Panny Marie před Týnem (Church of Our Lady before Tyn, 18) is gothic church with magnificent multiple 80 metres high steeples. Between the early 15th century and the year of 1620 it was the main Hussite church in Prague. A beautiful entrance portal decorated with scenes of Christ's passion and a huge rococo altar on the northern wall are the most striking features. Right of the altar there is a tomb of the Danish astronomer Tycho de Brahe who worked at the court of the Emperor Rudolph II. Tyn church has a grand-sounding pipe organ.

Obecní dům (Municipal House, 19) is an awesome example of Prague Art Nouveau architecture. Above the main entrance there is a huge mosaic “Homage to Prague“ by Karel Špillar. Inside, there is the Smetana Hall – the biggest concert hall in Prague. The building is used today mostly for concerts, restaurants and a museum. On 28 October 1918, the Czechoslovakian Republic was proclaimed here and meetings between Civic Forum and the communist leaders were held there in November 1989. Near the Municipal House, there is Prašná brána (The Powder Gate, 19) which was built in 1475. It is so called because it was used to store weaponry and gun powder during the thirty-year war. It´s one of the thirteen gates of the old fortification system.

Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas square, 20) is the largest and most important square in Prague. Originally a horse market, it got its present name in the mid-19th century. It is typical for a statue of St. Wenceslas (21) on the horse in upper part of the square. This statue was made by Czech sculptor Myslbek. There are a lot of small cafeterias, fast foods and restaurants. Many people sell their products on the streets. On the top of the square there is Národní museum (National Museum, 22). The architectural symbol of the Czech National Revival was completed in 1890 in a neo-renaissance style. Its hall, facade, staircase and ramp are decorated with sculptures made by famous artists. Inside of the building are many historical paintings by Ženíšek, Brožík and Hynais.

Národní divadlo (National Theatre, 23) standing on the Vltava embankment. In the last century the Czech people wanted to have their own theatre where Czech operas, dramas and plays could be performed. People collected money to enable its building up. Unfortunately it burned down not long after its opening. However, people built it again. It is one of the symbols of Czech national identity and a part of the European cultural arena. It is a bearer of national cultural heritage and at the same time an arena for free artistic creativity.

Vyšehrad was founded on the bank of the River Vltava in the 10th century. It was built as a temporary seat of Přemyslid dynasty. It is the oldest castle in Prague so it´s joined with old Czech legends. Famous personalities in the sphere of culture, science and politics are buried in Vyšehrad Cemetery. It´s not on map but you can easily get there by tube (line C, station Vyšehrad).

Petřín hill is Observation Tower, free copy of Eiffel Tower, surrounded with a large park. Petřín hill is 60m high, built in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition. You can overlook the whole of Prague from the top. The view is magnificent and well worth the 299 steps climb to reach the viewing platform. It´s also not on map. You can reach Petřín hill by the funicular from Újezd street. You can drive to this street by tram (number 6, 9, 12, 20, 22 and 91).

Palladium is a shopping centre opened in October 2007 in the centre of Prague; the Palladium is now the Czech´s largest mall. Four levels of shopping galleries with over 200 shops and 30 restaurants and cafes, 900 parking spaces underground, and 115,000 square metres of shoping and commercial space means that one can spend all day there and still not to see everything. It´s situated one street above Municipal House – Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square).

Czech breweries produce some of the world’s finest beers. Bohemian Beer is another valued commodity found in Prague and it is certainly appreciated by many tourists. This leads us on to the city’s vibrant nightlife scene which has recently become a trendy spot for the younger generation.

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