Prague is simply beautiful and overwhelming. Every standing building is a piece of art. It is old and has witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations from the Romans all the way to the communists, two millennia later. If the walls and stones could talk, they would each have a history lesson to share. Today, safe, historically rich and relatively cheap, Prague is a hot tourist destination to the point of leaving young Praguers unable to speak their own language in their own town city.
Besides visiting the famously renowned spots, such as the astronomical clock, Charles Bridge, “Old New” Synagogue, and Old Town Square, there are many ways to discover Prague and learn its history and culture. Below are essential activities to do in the Czech capital.
Like NYC and Paris, you could live years in Prague and still discover new things. A guided walking tour is essential to help you understand the city, appreciate its history and locate the monuments, squares and museums, you want to spend more time discovering later on. Many organizations offer tours by donations, guided by people who know the city inside out in English and a few other languages as well. Averaging between three and five hours the tours will introduce you to the city, give you an overview of its long history and point out some of its famous or hidden secrets. It is a good idea to do the tour on your first day in the city.
This fort hill that once served to protect the city from invasions is considered by some as the first settlement that now forms Prague, although this claim has never been verified. Vysherad is the perfect spot to hide from the crowd and relax while still learning about the city and enjoying a great view of both banks and the Vltava River. Big, quiet and covered with greenery, Vysherad is a home for the Basilica of St Peter and Paul, the oldest Rotunda from the 11th century, various sculptures and the Vysherad cemetery where some politicians, artists and performers from the Czech history are laid to rest.
Being one of Prague’s most renowned attractions, the subject of Kafka’s The Castle is not a hidden secret; however, it is far from being just a simple castle. The secret lies in the beauty of its buildings, stones and stairs. When climbing out to the location of the Prague castle, one will find an agglomeration of castles, churches, gardens, summer houses, museums, hidden stairs as well as overpriced cafes and water stands. Considered as one of the biggest castles, the castle itself was once the home for catholic figures, emperors and the presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Prague Castle was completed over four centuries and represents about every single architectural style in the last millennia.
In a city that witnessed so many cultures, conflicts and architectural references, unusual events such as defenestration do unfortunately occur. Started as an expression of conflicts between the Hussites and the city council in the 15th century, defenestration as the name indicates is nothing but the act of throwing people out of a window most often following a severe argument between political opponents. Despite, referring to two specific events, defenestration is known to have occurred more often in the history of Bohemia. While there is nothing particularly charming about the idea of defenestration, conflicts and battle grounds are huge markers in any city’s history and this is just another way to discover Prague the city through a specific incident in Prague’s history.
Walk along both river banks:
Pick a nice afternoon to walk along the river banks. There are enough bridges to cross from one bank to another and there are many monuments, parks, exhibitions, museums and historical buildings on either side. Take your time, find a patio to have a drink on and look over the city and all its wonders. It will leave you with pretty photos, lovely memories and you will stumble across a building, a story or a landmark that will make your best memory of Prague.
Prepare to be overwhelmed, awed and to receive a history lesson as you enjoy the wonders of this lovely city.