The city of Prague has been on the radar of travelers since the fall of communism in the Czech Republic thirty years ago. This city is unlike any other in the world with its unique culture, centuries of history, renowned Czech restaurants, and of course its fairy-tale architecture.
I do love Prague, I have been twice, and I have been planning on my return. As with any visit, the second time exploring a city will always be a different experience than the first. On my first trip to Prague it was quite busy, since I was juggling a lot of historical sites in a span of a week. On my second visit to Prague, it was more pleasant because the city was more familiar, and I was not as rushed. When the third visit comes up, I just might stay in Prague and never return!
The Historic Centre of Prague was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, about the time communism fell in the region. The city is sectioned off into Old Town, Lesser Town, and New Town, which were built between the 11th and 18th centuries. Since the Middle Ages Prague has been a force of cultural influence, with plenty of impressive architecture and monuments.
There is much to see – new and old – in the Historic District of Prague. For those interested in visiting this city and needing a few more recommendations, here is a list of my Historic Centre of Prague favorites- Enjoy!
Stare Mesto “Old Town” Square
The enchanting city square in Old Town has been the common meeting place for centuries. The large cobblestone square is surrounded with stunning buildings in different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau. They have been restored beautifully, since its communist days of neglect.
The square is filled with little businesses of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shops. There are also several significant structures in Old Town’s Square- the Gothic Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, the Baroque St. Nicholas Church, Old Town Hall with its medieval astronomical clock, and the Jan Hus Memorial.
The Church of Mother of God before Týn
Týn Church is one of Old Town Square’s most recognized and favorite buildings, I know it is for me. This Gothic style church with fairytale-castle like spires has been the the main church in this neighborhood of Old Town from the 14th century.
Old Town Hall Tower and Astronomical Clock
In the center of Old Town Square is Old Town Hall, which dates back to the 14th-century. The tower is open to the public and you can go to the top, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Prague and its Old Town.
Mounted on the side of Old Town Hall is Prague Orloj, the medieval astronomical clock, which was first installed in 1410. It is the third-oldest astronomical clock, and the oldest clock still in operation in the world. Every hour a crowd gathers around the clock to watch the mechanical show of “The Walk of the Apostles”, and Death (a skeleton) striking the time.
Visiting the Mucha museum I consider a must for those who have an appreciation with art, architecture, or Art Nouveau. The Mucha Museum creates harmony between both Alphonse Mucha, and the architecture of the Prague. Many of the city’s most beautiful buildings were built in the Art Nouveau style, and Czech Alphonse Mucha was one of the world’s leading Art Nouveau artist.
The Mucha Museum is the only one in the world that is dedicated to the life and work of world-acclaimed Czech Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939).
For museum information- MUCHA Museum
A trip to Prague should always include a visit to its oldest brewery, U Fleku. This lively and historic spot obtained its first license to brew beer in 1499. For centuries, U Fleku had grown to be the location for tourists and locals to gather, and party Prague style.
U Fleku brewery and restaurant has eight classic beer halls and a garden to drink, eat, and literally be merry. They offer a full dining menu of traditional Czech dishes, beer, wine, and liquor.
For more information – U Fleku
Crossing Prague’s Charles Bridge is one of the most poplar things to do when visiting the city. I know it has been for me, and have done it many times over with my visits to Czech Republic’s capital city. It is the the most scenic and charming walking routes to the old town, as well as Prague’s Castle.
Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arched bridge, which crosses over the Vltava River, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was designated along with the historic centre of Prague in 1992, shortly after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
Charles Bridge was constructed under King Charles IV, and was built from 1357 until the early 15th century. It was originally referred to as the Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge, but has been called “Charles Bridge” since 1870.
🏰 For more information – Prague’s Charles Bridge – A UNESCO World Heritage Site | Exploring Czech Republic
The Lesser Town of Prague, is one of the most charming of areas in the historic district of the city. This enchanting neighborhood is located down the hill next to the Castle District.
One of my cherished walking routes is through Lesser Town, but as part of a longer stretch to get to Prague Castle. The captivating long walk is from Old Town, crossing the historic Charles Bridge, meandering uphill through the winding streets of Lesser Town, and finally to the castle district. This route is about two kilometers in length, and is one of my favorite things to do in Praha. I certainly recommend the trek, as it gives a lasting impression of this enchanting city by being part of its old world neighborhoods.
The medieval complex of Prague Castle is very grand, and is noted as the largest ancient castle in the world. It occupies the top of Lesser Town, and overlooks the city of Prague and the Vltava River. The castle was built in the 9th-century and has been the seat of power for the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors, and the presidents of Czechoslovakia. It is now the official office for the the President of the Czech Republic.
The castle’s history dates back more than 1,100 years when the Church of the Virgin Mary was built in 870. During the 10th century the Basilica of Saint George and the Basilica of St. Vitus were constructed under the Duke of Bohemia- Vratislaus I and his son St. Wenceslas. Then in the 12th century a Romanesque palace was built on the castle grounds. The buildings within the castle district represent several great styles of architecture from the last 1,000 years – Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque.
For more information – Prague’s Castle District | Discovering the Czech Republic
Kampa Island has been regarded as Prague’s best kept secret, and is another of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. The enchanting little Kampa is located on a quaint island along the Vltava River, with Charles Bridge crossing Its northern tip. Its charming streets are lined with beautiful old buildings, with delicious restaurants, and lovely cafe’s.
What I ate in Czech Republic
Two trips into Czech Republic equaled out to a lot of food and drink! This is typical for me, as I always intertwine food with my travels. It is the best way to engage all the senses, and to learn about a culture while visiting any country.
My travels through Czech Republic have taken me beyond Prague, which I have been grateful for. Oh yes people, there is a whole other country beyond Praha! I suggest to hop a train, hire a driver, or take an organized day trip to cities outside the capital. You can learn a lot about Czech, and eat-drink more of the country at the same time.
From trying Trdelník to having a ‘Grog in Prague’ , my very comprehensive food journal of the Czech Republic – What I ate in CZECH REPUBLIC – A Food Journal
To travel is to live…
🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!
📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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