Monday, March 21, 2016

Prague's Top Ten Attractions

Prague's Top Ten Attractions will take you to a magical place founded by an ancient King Boyya in 1306 B.C.  By the 9th century A. D. the city was named Praha or Prague.

 According to legends, Prague was founded in the 8th century by the Czech duchess and prophetess Libuse and her husband Premysl.  The Duchess had a vision of a rocky cliff,

" I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars."   She ordered to build a wooden fort where Prague Castle sits today.  She thought the city would reach the world with it's splendor.   When you cross the Charles Bridge you can see the diversity of people who want to visit this special city.

  Nearly 25 years ago Prague staged the Velvet Revolution of peaceful protests to bring down the communist regime.  The city of a thousand spires has become a tourist destination of Gothic Cathedrals and chic cafes.

1.  Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge is named after Charles the IV because he built the bridge in 1357, founded the University, and created the foundations of the city we see today.  He was the second Bohemian King from the House of Luxenbourg and the first King of Bohemia to become the Holy Roman Emperor.

The university is one of the oldest in the world.  He built the bridge to cross the Vltava River.

 It has  30 statues of religious people and 16 glorious arches.  Until the ninetenth century it was the only bridge to cross the river.  The 1,700 ft. cobblestone bridge is full of vendors and tourists wanting to savor every moment of the historic bridge.  You can grab a sausage if you're hungry from the walking.
When you get to the end of the bridge there is a tower as an entry way to Old Town.

Through the gate you enter Old Town where the 2nd top attraction is.    
       2. Astronomical Clock

The clock was built in 1410 and is the oldest operational astronomical clock in the world.  

Every hour the clock windows open to allow the apostles to say hello to the world.  While this is happening figures representing the deadly sins of greed, death, vanity and pleasure also move and a cock crows.  To think that the townspeople in 1410 also saw the same figures makes it even more amazing.  The clock face has different dials representing the date and the month.  Look closely because it all lasts for twenty seconds.
3. Petrin Hill
One of the greenest spaces in Prague is on  Petrin Hill.  There are landscaped gardens and a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower.  A 17th Century wooden building is home to the Church of St. Michael.  It was relocated from a village.  A funicular railway from Ujezd will take you to the top of the 1,000 ft.  Pretrin Hill.

4. Prague Castle

The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world on top of a big hill.  It's a lot easier to walk down it than go up.  So you might ride a bus, taxi, or tram.  The first thing I noticed was the guards protecting the castle.
It reminded me of Buckingham Palace.  They didn't move an inch and kept a stern face.  The Prague Castle is a large complex of buildings that includes, the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, and the Golden Lane.

  The leaders of the Czech Republic conduct business in the buildings.  

5. St. Vitus Church
My favorite part was St. Vitus Church built by Charles IV in 1344. 

 But the church was not totally complete until 1929.  
The church was built in the Gothic style.  It has beautiful stain glass windows by Alfons Mucha. 

 Don't miss the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk which is a two metric ton vault that is held up by an army of silver angels.
Visit the fantastic museum shop and maybe grab a refreshment.  
Stroll down Golden Lane where servants and later alchemists lived throughout history.
Top of the castle views are amazing.

 It was a cloudy day so my photos do not give it justice.  As you walk down the hill there will be many people selling paintings of Prague. 

 I suggest you buy one because they are inexpensive and make a wonderful souvenir.

6. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter in Prague is known as Josefov and later was called the Prague Jewish Ghetto. It's located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River.  It's torrid history began in the 13th century when Jewish people were ordered to leave their homes and settle in this area.  Most of the historical buildings have been saved and remains a testimony to the history of the Jews in Prague.  There are six synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery.  

7.  Old Town Square
The Square is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge.

Old Town Square has the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn which has been the main church since the 14th century.  The churches tower is 80 m high. 

 The astronomical clock is in the square which strikes every hour.  St. Nicholas Church has the baroque style adding to the square's beautiful sights to see. 

  We decided sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch the people pass by.  

We had the delicious Goulash, extra spicy.  Our entertainment was watching dance troupes, musicians and vendors wanting to make a sale.  Giant bubbles were dancing in the air to celebrate a glorious day.
8.  Dine on A River Boat down the River
Our first night we dined on a river boat down the river.  It was a magical way to be introduced to the architecture while having a great dinner.  There are many tour boats so it wasn't hard to get a ticket.  It might be nice to book ahead just to make sure.  
Going under the bridges to see the arches lit up at night was breathtaking. 

 Our boat had lights all around it with a see through ceiling so the views were great no matter where you sat.  
9. Take a Tour to discover the history.
We took a wonderful tour which helped us understand the rich history of Prague.  Our tour took us to the castle so we didn't have to walk the steep hill.  She was a fantastic guide who answered all of our questions.  We found the tour on Viator under Trip Advisor.  There is also a free walking tour that is great.  
The Municipal House
The Prague Municipal House is one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the city.  It was built in 1912 as a civic building and home to one of Pragues most important place to hear concerts. 

 Prague is known for its music so it would be a great place to sample the concerts.  There is a large mural on the arch above the second floor balcony.


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