Prague is filled with beauty and can be enjoyed and explored for days, months, or a lifetime. The city has its charm at any time of the year.
Prague's long history, combined with its good fortune in having avoided heavy war damage, makes it wonderful for architecture lovers. Along with the standard must-see castles and palaces comes a bountiful mixture of styles and periods. Buildings and monuments from the Middle Ages to the present are interspersed with one another throughout the city.
The Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad) is something that can't be missed - literally. The most famous historical landmark of the city, the castle dates back to the 9th century, though it was expanded upon until the 18th. The castle itself houses a complex of sights to explore. There's a fairly costly tour that includes the Old Royal Palace, The Story of Prague Castle permanent exhibition, St. George's Basilica, Convent of St.George - National Gallery, Golden Lane with Daliborka tower, Prague Castle Picture Gallery. We recommend seeing the St.Vitus Cathedral, the interior of the castle itself, and the Golden Lane if you only have a limited amount of time at the castle, or if you want to save a few crowns by not seeing the crown jewels.
St. Vitus Cathedral
This towering, majestic Gothic cathedral is by far the most amazing sight on the Prague Castle grounds. We highly recommend paying the extra fee to see the inside of the cathedral, though if it's summer get there extra early - the lines stretch for hours at the entrance. Luckily, St. Wenceslas Chapel, the "cult centre of St. Vitus Cathedral," is well worth the wait. Begun in a Gothic style in the fourteenth century, the cathedral wasn't finished until 1929, when the main nave and the narrow side aisles and the northern wing of the transverse nave were added in a Neo-Gothic style. The whole structure will make your neck ache from trying to register the cathedral in its entirety, but luckily you can look down at a magnificent view of Prague from its tower.
Prague's historic pedestrian bridge, named after King Charles IV, connects the Old Town to the Lesser Town and is lined with statues of famous saints and royalty. Just beware: in the off-season the bridge provides a nice peaceful stroll and photo opportunity, but in the summer months it's hard to even move through the crowds, much less take pictures of the most known statues. If you're there in the summer, we recommend going at the crack of dawn, when the bridge is still empty and the views are spectacular. But if you want to experience the souvenir stands and street musicians, daytime is the time to go, but beware of pickpockets, as this crowded tourist magnet is the perfect place to have your wallet stolen.
Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock
From its pristine condition you'd never guess the Astronomical Clock dates back to the 15th century. On the hour, every hour, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out followed by the twelve Apostles. You'll always know when it's about to strike by the massive herd of tourists craning their necks towards it starting about five minutes before, though our theory is that it's one of those "watched kettle never boils" things. The Old Town Hall Tower, built in 1338, allows visitors to climb to the top to enjoy spectacular views.
Prague State Opera
Opera isn't everybody's cup of tea, but if you do enjoy it normally then you should certainly appreciate it in the refined atmosphere and beautiful surroundings of the Prague State Opera, which is regarded by Czechs as something of a national monument. The likes of Verdi, Puccini, and Bizet feature regularly but don't expect to gain entrance in your shorts and t-shirt: formal dress is mandatory. Tickets are a bit on the steep side and you can purchase either at the building itself (which gives a good excuse to sample the interior one extra time) or online via their website.
The appropriately named Jubilee Synagogue, built in 1906 to 1907 by Viennese architect Wilhelm Stiastny, is the largest Jewish place of worship in Prague, and by far the most colorful.
Though there are a number of synagogues in Prague, particularly in the Jewish quarter called Josefov, this one is by far the most architecturally stunning, unique not only in Prague but in Central Europe. Though regular prayer services are still held here, the inside is open to visitors from 23 April to 31 October, 13 to 17, Sunday through Friday.
The house was built between 1992-1996 by Czech architect Vlado Milunc and Canadian architect Frank Gehry. They initially named the building the "Fred and Ginger" after the legendary dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but its curvy lines and and smooth forms led to its current nickname. Presently, The house is used as an office building and it is not open to public, but you can visit the restaurant La Perle de Prague, located on 7th floor, with a nice view of the river and the Prague Castle.
corner of Rasinovo Nabrezi and Resslova street, alongside the Vltava River
Opened in 1912, the Municipal House is very grand and very beautiful. The music tends to be classical fare and if you are lucky enough to be in town when a Smetana (another much-loved Czech composer) concert is scheduled here then you should regard it as a must-see - or rather a must-hear; particularly when you consider that the main hall is named after the great man himself. The interior is breathtakingly ornate and, best of all, tickets are cheap: to book, pop along to the ticket office anytime before the concert is advertised as starting.
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