The capital of the Czech Republic Prague is situated on the Vltava River. This is the largest city in the country and the fourteenth largest city in the European Union. This city was once the historical capital of Bohemia. At one time Prague was known as the “Five Towns” but has now been divided into 10 separate districts. Tourists still refer to the five historic towns when sightseeing – Hradcany, Stare Mesto or Old Town, Mala Strana or Lesser Quarter, Nove Mesto or New Town and the Jewish Quarter. Today the Old Town has been restored and is just lovely and if you’re into doing some fashionable shopping the expensive shops are located on Josefov’s Parizska Avenue. A most beautiful sight is the Vlatava River a tributary of the Elbe River. This river has inspired writers and musicians.
When visiting Prague you’ll enjoy seeing the Charles Bridge. On the Old Town side you’ll find Parler’s Old Town Bridge Tower which has an exhibition on the history of the building. It’s exciting to cross the bridge as you pass various statues and monuments that are copies of the Baroque originals. There is a crucifix that was erected in 1657 and has the inscription “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty”. The most popular statue on this bridge is that of St. John of Nepomuk. The story is that this priest was killed for not divulging the what was said at the queen’s confession. King Wenceslas IV had the priest dressed in a suit of armor and thrown off the bridge. At the Lesser Town end there are two towers. The taller tower the Mala Strana Bridge Tower has an exhibition of the bridge history and you can get spectacular views from the top.
A wonder to see is the Prague Castle in the district known as Hradcany. It is over a thousand years old and was the residence of the early Premyslid rulers. This has become a sprawling complex of churches, palaces and defensive and residential buildings. Here you can also see the Cathedral of St. Vitus and is now the residence of the presidents of the Czech Republic. This is the largest cathedral in Prague, the metropolitan church of the Archdiocese of Prague, the royal and imperial burial church and the place where the royal regalia are stored. To the south of the cathedral you’ll find the castle’s Third Courtyard which is the entrance to the Old Royal Castle. Inside you’ll find an exhibition called the Story of Prague Castle giving the history of the castle.
An interesting place is the Old Town Square where you can see the Old Town Hall that was founded in 1338. This building was put together from a collection of medieval buildings that were purchase year after year from the proceeds of the city’s tax on wine. Visitors can visit the 15th century council chamber, the chapel, the dungeon and the tower. Crowds are attracted to the Astronomical Clock found on the side of the town hall where mechanical figures strike the hours.
Right in the middle of Old Town Square visitors can see the memorial to the Protestant reformer Jan Hus, erected on the 500th anniversary of Hus being burnt at the stake. On the east side of the square you’ll find the Hussite’s main church the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn which has two twin towers called Adam and Eve as one tower is shorter and thinner than the other tower. At the back of the church is the Tyn Court with cafes and shops selling things like antique books, toiletries and puppets.
A most interesting place to visit is Kampa an island in the Vlatva River located in central Prague on the side of Mala Strana. The Charles Bridge crosses its northern tip and it’s connected to the island by Ulice na Kampe Street. On the island visitors can see Museum Kampa. This is a modern art gallery exhibiting central European art. The art comes from the private collection of Meda Mladek. A most prominent landmark that is visible from across the Vltava River is the huge chair sculpture created by Magdalena Jetelova right outside of the museum.
All of this and so much more awaits you in Prague.