We all have grown up reading and listening to fairytale stories. Old cartoons, animated movies and children’s story books have created the image in everyone’s eyes that consists of cobblestone paths, beautiful architecture, Churches, houses with red-orangeish roofs, open cafes and what not.
Prague is undoubtedly such a European city which will realise all those images. It is the capital of Czech Republic and is also known by the nickname ‘City of a thousand spires‘. Prague began as a small settlement on the banks of the river Vitava over 1000 years ago. Its historic architecture and colourful baroque buildings are praised worldwide. The baroque style dates back to the early 17th century and can be seen in architecture, art as well as music. It followed the Renaissance style and preceded the Neoclassical style. No wonder it was voted as the 6th in the list of best destinations in the world by TripAdvisor. It is the 5th most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. Now that I have you all intrigued about knowing the city more, let us take a look at Prague in action!
Old Town Square & the astronomical clock
The Old Town Square started off as a marketplace hundreds of years ago and still is the same. One can find small shops selling wines and delicious Czech pastries during festivities. It is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge. At the centre of the square, stands a statue of religious reformer Jan Hus. The statue known as the Jan Hus Memorial was made on July 6, 1915, to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. He was burned alive due to the beliefs he had.
Prague Castle, which is the official residence of the Czech Republic’s President was once the home of Bohemia’s kings.It is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions. Originally built as a walled fortress around 970 AD, the castle has changed dramatically over the years and contains examples of most of the leading architectural styles of the last millennium. Within the castle walls are a number of Prague’s most popular tourist sites, including St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, the Powder Tower, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane. The largest ancient castle in the world, this vast complex requires considerable time to tour. There is Royal Garden, dating back to 1534 which is home to a number of marvellous buildings including the Ball Game Pavilion, the Royal Summer House with its Singing Fountain, and the Lion’s Court.At night the lights from Prague Castle glow in a range of hues making it look more beautiful.
It is one of the most recognizable old bridges in Europe and is 520-meter long.There is a spectacular view over the River Vltava and the huge gothic gates. Built in 1357, the bridge has long been the subject of a great deal of superstition, including the builders having laid the initial bridge stone on the 9th of July at exactly 5:31am, a precise set of numbers (135797531) believed to give the structure additional strength (for added good measure, it was constructed in perfect alignment with the tomb of St. Vitus and the setting sun on the equinox). The bridge is famous for its many fine old statutes like that of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and that of John of Nepomuk, the country’s most revered saint.
Strahov monastery and library
The Strahov Monastery and Library is the second oldest monastery in Prague and was built in the 12th century. While its main attractions are the gateway and churches, its most important buildings are its two beautifully decorated Baroque libraries. The Philosophical Library has a variety of extraordinary wooden furnishings, along with an exquisite ceiling painted by Franz Anton Maulbertsch entitled Enlightenment. The libraries contain many rare old volumes and manuscripts, including the famous 9th-century Strahov Gospel, while in the cellars are old printing presses along with the remains of St. Norbert, founder of the Premonstratensian Order.