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Welcome to Prague

The capital of the Czech Republic, the one-time communist capital of Prague has evolved, and now boasts a reputation as one of Europe’s most in-vogue destinations. Rivaling the beauty of Paris, Prague features a wealth of baroque architecture, Gothic spires, and a maze of quaint cobbled streets and red roofs set beneath a hilltop castle. And while mass tourism has marched in to explore, the capital still holds cultural appeal, including its traditionally brewed beer, renowned Franz Kafka Museum, and cuisine that goes beyond Czech dumplings and goulash. Wind your way through Prague’s cosmopolitan and historic sights to see its world-renowned castle and many bridges, hear its music, and experience the Danube River.

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Top 10 attractions in Prague

Prague Castle (Prazský Hrad)
#1

Prague Castle (Prazský Hrad)

What is called Prague Castle (or Pražský hrad) is actually a huge complex containing museums, churches, palaces, and gardens. The immense Gothic cathedral of St. Vitus is dominant on the skyline. The Castle complex, high on its hill above Charles Bridge and the Vltava River, is the focal point of Prague. You can just go to wander - it's free to enter the Castle, even at night - or you can pay to enter some of the buildings and get a more in-depth view. Either way, the grandeur of the place will keep you busy for at least half a day. After all, this is the biggest castle complex in the world. The buildings range from the Romanesque to the Gothic. The Royal Palace itself was home to Bohemian kings during the 9th century. The Basilica of St. George dates from the 10th century. You can also visit the Riding School, the gardens (open in the summer only), and Golden Lane, a charming row of medieval houses from the old goldsmith's district....
Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
#2

Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)

Even when it's groaning under the weight of sketch artists, jazz musicians, trinkets and tourists, there's no resisting the charm of the Charles Bridge ('Karlův most' in Czech). Its 500 meters (1,640 feet) link the Old Town with Castle Hill and provide some of the best views of the city and of the graceful river Vltava. It was built in the 15th century to replace the older Judith Bridge, which had been swept away by floods. The Charles Bridge (originally called the Stone Bridge - the name was changed in the 19th century) has proved remarkably resilient. Some say it's down to the eggs mixed into its mortar. What makes the bridge so special is its rows of blackened baroque saints, each attended by angels and lions and followers. The statues emerging from the mists of a Prague dawn is one of the loveliest sights of the city. If you want to make sure you come back to Prague, touch the statue of St. John of Nepomuk (he was martyred by being thrown into the river from the bridge)....
Prague Old Town Square (Staromestské Námestí)
#3

Prague Old Town Square (Staromestské Námestí)

The Old Town Square (or Staroměstské náměstí) is quintessential Prague, and the star of most of the photos you would have seen of the city. Coming out onto the huge square after negotiating the dim mazes of the Old Town's lanes, you'll pinch yourself - it's hard to believe that the airy pastels and incredible profusion of stunning architecture don't belong to a film set. The Old Town Square began life as a medieval market and has remained at the center of the city's life, acting as a stage for celebrations, gestures of political power and even (during a rebellion in the 17th century) executions. Most visitors are content to join the crowds wandering or sipping coffee, but if you want a more in-depth experience go into at least a few of the buildings. Some of the best are the impressive Gothic church of Our Lady Before Týn, the Stone Bell House with its Gothic Tower, and the Old Town Hall....
Powder Tower (Prasná Brána)
#4

Powder Tower (Prasná Brána)

Like many old European cities, Prague once had city walls and gates. The Powder Tower is one of those gates, and it dates back to the 11th century when it was one of 13 entrances into Prague's Old Town. It was originally called the New Tower, but its name was changed in the 17th century when it was used to store gunpowder. This is the gate future kings of Bohemia used to pass through on their coronation parades along the traditional Royal Way to the Prague Castle. Today the tower houses a permanent exhibition called Prague Towers. The tower is 213 feet high, and there is a viewing platform at 144 feet, accessible by 186 stairs, where visitors can see the city from above. The Powder Tower and the Old Town Bridge Tower are the only remaining parts of Prague's former old town fortification....
Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana)
#6

Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana)

Malá Strana is the area that meanders down from the Castle Hill to the Vltava River. A literal translation of its name would be 'Small Side' but its most often called the Lesser Side. Unfair? Well, while it might not have the grandeur of the Old Town across the river, many find it more charming. Because the area was razed by fires in the 16th century, the architecture here is mainly baroque. Its finest site is the Wallenstein Palace with its fabulous walled garden full of fountains and statues. There's also the Church of Saint Nicholas and, high on Petřín Hill, a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower....
St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála Sv. Vita)
#7

St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála Sv. Vita)

St. Vitus (or Katedrála svatého Víta) is the biggest and most important church in Prague, the pinnacle of the Castle complex, and one of the most knockout cathedrals in Europe. It's broodingly Gothic, with a forest of spires and a rose window to rival that of Notre Dame. Enter by the Golden Portal to take a look at the stunning Last Judgement mosaic. Inside you'll find the final resting places of both Charles IV (who gave his name to Charles Bridge) and Saint Wenceslas. The chapel containing Wenceslas' remains is a stunner, encrusted with semi-precious stones. The cathedral also contains the crown jewels of the Bohemian kings and an Art Nouveau window by Mucha. Climb the tower for a stunning view of the Castle District....
Lobkowicz Palace (Lobkowický Palác)
#8

Lobkowicz Palace (Lobkowický Palác)

With the distinction of being the only privately owned building in the sprawling Prague Castle complex, Lobkowicz Palace is home to one of the city’s finest art collections. A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, the palace stands next to the Royal Palace and was built in the mid-16th century for Czech nobleman Jaroslav of Pernštejn. The aristocratic Lobkowicz family took over the palace through a dynastic marriage in 1603, lost it under Communist occupation following World War II and regained control of it only in 2002. The Lobkowicz private art collection is the biggest in the Czech Republic and has been augmented over 600 years of family history. The highlights are displayed in 22 ornate Baroque apartments and include a master class in European painting, with outstanding works by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Cranach, Velázquez, Canaletto and Rubens....
Prague Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj)
#9

Prague Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj)

One of Prague’s biggest visitor attractions, the ornate 15th-century astronomical clock is found on the southern side of Prague’s Gothic Old Town Hall. Gilded and complex in design, the clock was made by Czech master clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň in 1410 although it has been repeatedly restored and added to over the centuries. Its upper face shows the time and day of the week, the lower one reveals delicately painted signs of the zodiac. Every hour, on the hour, hundreds of tourists gather around the clock to witness the figure of Christ emerge from tiny trap doors above the upper dial of the clock, followed by a collection of wooden Apostles, to act out a mini-medieval morality tale, while the skeletal figure of Death strikes a bell, Greed counts out his money and Vanity worships his reflection. The Old Town Hall itself was built in 1338 and is today a popular venue for Prague weddings as well as home of the city’s main tourist information center....
Hradcany (Castle Hill)
#10

Hradcany (Castle Hill)

One of Prague’s most visited attractions and the largest ancient castle in the world, Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad) is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, but the vast complex is made up of much more than just the castle. A distinctive part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Prague, the Hradcany, or Castle District, includes some the city’s finest works of architecture. The hilltop castle stands proud in the center, a 7-hectare complex that includes the magnificent gothic St Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Riding School, the 10th century Basilica of St George and the medieval houses of Golden Lane, the former goldsmith’s district. A collection of grand palaces are also dotted around the castle district, including Archbishop's Palace, the Czernin Palace, the Martinez Palace and the Tuscan Palace, along with the Sternberg Palace, now the Museum of Military History, and the Scwarzenberg Palace, now home to part of the National Gallery....

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Don’t-Miss Dishes in Prague

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Prague

Where to Find the Best Views in Prague

Where to Find the Best Views in Prague

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