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CZECHIA

PRAGUE

Canon Digital IXUS 100 IS


UNESCO World Heritage site
Historic Centre of Prague

Ihad visited Czechia several times but had not had the opportunity so far to spend a couple of days exploring Prague. Twice I had visited Prague, but only for a short stay. The first time I visited the city was only to spend a day there before catching a train to Ostrava in the summer of 2007.

The second time in Prague, I spent the night in the winter of 2007. Both times I got to see a different part of the city because of the different seasons of the year.

August 2007

Wenceslas Square / Old Town Square / Charles Bridge

After touching down early in the morning at Prague city airport, we caught public transport bus to the city center. We had most of the day to see as much as we could of Prague before catching a train to Ostrava. The first stop of the day would be Wenceslas Square. In reality it's not a square but a boulevard with shops, hotels, restaurants and apartments. It's a lively place and full of tourists. Similar I would say to Champs–Elysees in Paris. At the top of square is the National Museum, where in front stand the statue of Saint Wenceslas. He was a Bohemian Duke spreading Christianity and declared a saint after death, become a national Czech symbol. The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)) is the historic main square in Prague. The main attraction is the Astronomical clock on the 14th century Town Hall. It was built in 1410 and reconstructed again in 1490.

Around the square you have the Gothic style Church of Our Lady before Týn with its impressive spires. Near the Old Town Square is the charming Little Square (Malé Náměstí). Worth a visit to view the decorated renaissance and baroque facades on the surrounding buildings. From here we walked to another famous landmark in Prague—Charles Bridge. In 1357 King Charles IV ordered the construction of the bridge over the river Vltava and was completed in 1402. It has three tower bridges, one in the Old Town side and two in the Lesser Quarter. Thirty statues of saints stand along bridge length. Among the statues are Saints Cyril and Methodius, which I had visited their Chapel in Radhošt.


Dancing house

Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6, 120 00 Praha 2
www.dancinghousehotel.com

As a fan of architect Frank Gehry, I could not visit Prague without going to one of his famous buildings&mdahs;the Dancing House. Built together with architect Vlado Milunić between 1992 and 1996, it’s a very modern building in comparison to the Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings around Prague.

It was originally named Fred and Ginger by Frank Gehry due to the building resembling two dancers (in this case Fred Astire and Ginger Rodgers). The building is in a nice location by the Vltava river, currently occupied by the Dutch insurance company Nationale–Nederlanden. UPDATE 2016: The building is now a hotel.


Did you know...

The Prague Astronomical Clock has three parts—First the walk of Apostles, in which are statues that move every hour at the very top. Secondly, is the astronomical dial showing the position of the sun and moon, a zodiacal ring and a time to show sunset and other astronomical information. Finally you have a monthly calendar dial at the bottom.





December 2007

Cloister Inn Hotel
Konviktska 14, Prague, 11000
www.hotel-cloister.com

For our trip in Prague, in the winter of 2007, we stayed at the Cloister Inn hotel. It was in a great location which meant it was walking distance to all the popular attractions. We were pleasantly surprised by how large the bedroom and bathroom was.

Staff was friendly, nice and warm inside which was great as the December nights were cold. If you are looking for a hotel close the attractions and for a good price check out the Cloister Inn.


Lesser Town Square

Malostranské náměstí

On our way to Prague Castle, we passed through the Lesser Town Square. St Nicholas Church is the main attraction here with it's impressive Baroque architecture.

Another feature of the square is the Holy Trinity Column. Built in 1715 by Giovanni Batista Alliprandi, it serves as a symbol of the end of the Black plague.


Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral

Prague castle is the most famous landmark in Prague. The castle complex sits high above the city and is the largest ancient castle in the world. It feels like a small city itself when you wander around. There are courtyards and streets to explore as you visit the main sites of the Royal Palace and St. Vitus Cathedral.

The Gothic Cathedral's main gate, the Golden gate, has a large mosaic of the Last judgement. Inside had wonderful stained glass windows and a very high chancel around the altar.


We spent most of the day at the castle. Before sunset, we took short boat tour on the river Vltava before making our way back to our hotel via Old Town Square. The city at night was safe to walk around.

Despite the cold weather, it was nice and romantic with the lights and pebble streets.


Final thoughts

I have still to explore so much more of Prague, but the short trips there so far has made me like the city a lot. The Czech people were friendly and the food nice and tasty.

Because it was close to Christmas day, there was not so many people around. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, December might be the time for you.


Explore more of Czechia



PUSTEVNY TO RADHOŠT

Radegast winter trail

Hiking through a mini snow blizzard in the Beskydy mountains

GRÜN to BÍLÝ KŘÍŽ

Beskydy winter hike

Magical nature trail through the snow covered forests of Beskydy

AROUND CZECHIA

Travels in Czechia

A collection of photos from my travels around the country of Czechia

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