Prague, a mysterious place for visitors till recently, has now become the go-to place in Europe and the world over. Nothing less than 4 million tourists and travellers visit the City of a Hundred Spires. It is an architectural heaven ranging from Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.
Below is a list of 10 must see destinations in Prague. No visit to the city would be complete without visiting these enchanting and mesmerising places of attraction:
10. Dancing House
Czech architect Valdo Milunic and Canadian Frank Gehry are the masterminds of the architectural marvel located on the bank of the Vltava River and Resslova Street. It resembles a female dancer swaying in the hands of a male dancer. Otherwise a corporate building, it houses a restaurant on the 7th floor open to public.
The house, which was under construction for four years until 1996, is known for its deconstructivist architecture and was originally known as Fred and Ginger. The windows are non-aligned with an aesthetic consideration, wherein the first tower is supported by curved pillars while the second tower is equidistant from the adjoining river.
9. Powder Tower
Built in the 11th Century, Powder Tower is one of the original gates to Old Town Prague. King Vladislav II was the first resident when he rebuilt it in 1475. As the tower was used to store gunpowder for many battles, it derived its name from the same purpose.
The under construction name was New Tower, which is inspired by the work of Peter Parler on the Charles Bridge. A spiral staircase leads the visitors to the 186th step, from where the skyline of the Old Town can be seen.
8. Tyn Church
Located in the midst of Old Town Square, it is the only structure visible from different parts of the city. Constructed in 14th century, it contains art work from Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance style of architecture.
While the interior renovation is still in progress, it contains the oldest pipe organ in Prague. Soaring 80 meters into the sky, it was built for merchants who came to Tyn courtyard for trade.
7. Old New Synagogue
The heart of Jewish Quarter in Prague, it is the first Gothic building in the city. The story originates from the Second Temple in Jerusalem, from where the stones are supposed to be brought by Angels to support the walls of the synagogue.
It follows orthodox custom, where men and women offer prayers separately and it is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) is kept in the attic of the synagogue. Built with twin-nave design, it is the oldest surviving medieval synagogue.
6. Wenceslas Square
A boulevard with trees lining the streets, Wenceslas Square is a shopper’s haven. Named after St. Wenceslas, it was a horse market set off by Charles IV in 1348. It is an entertainment hub comprising of pubs, restaurants, banks, hotels, shops and market place.
It is the place to enjoy one’s nightlife and soak in the atmosphere of Old Town. Just a five-minute walk away from the grand National Museum and the Prague State Opera, Wenceslas Square is the most happening place in Prague.
5. Mala Strana
Founded as a royal town in 1257, Mala Strana is on the other end of the Charles Bridge. Attractions like palaces, churches, squares, parks and gardens dot this little district. Buildings and Palaces are built with Baroque architecture.
Petrin Hill or Vojan Park is the place for morning walk revelers. The massive Prague Castle marks the skyline of this Lesser Town district. It houses a lot of noble palaces and derives its name from its position on the left side of the banks of the river Vltava and on the slopes to the Prague Castle. The Petrin lookout tower is also situated in this ‘Lesser Quarter’ or ‘Lesser Side’. Wallenstein Palace is the most decorative building in Mala Strana built in Baroque era.
4. Prague Castle
A sprawling complex towering the city is Prague Castle. A cathedral, royal stable, defensive towers and a monastery comprise this magnanimous castle. Known for Gothic Architecture where many Kings and Emperors are buried, it began as a wooden fortress in the 9th Century. Occupying an area of about 70,000 square meters, it is the largest known ancient castle if we go by the Guinness Book of World Records. An annual count of visitors at the castle clocked 1.8 million, which makes it the most visited tourist destination in Prague. A secret room in this mammoth structure contains the Bohemian Crown jewels.
St Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of Saint George and National Gallery are some of the architectural marvels housed in the Castle.
3. Prague Astronomical Clock
The third oldest astronomical clock is situated in Old Town Square, Prague. Built by a clockmaker and a mathematics professor, the clock is maintained and repaired for over 600 years.
Nazi fire almost destroyed the clock during World War II, while the townspeople are credited with saving most parts of it. Gothic sculptures are dotted on the calendar added below the clock in 1490. It reveals time’s such as Babylonian time, Old Bohemian time, German time and sunrise and sunset as well. The figures of Apostles are shown at the hour mark, making it the most unique and famous astronomical clock in the world.
2. Old Town Square
Halfway from Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square it is bustling with tourists and travelers from all over the world. The statue of Jan Hus, a reformer and martyr, dons the focal point of this alluring square. One can see all the styles of architecture in and around this square, symbolized by Tyn Cathedral and St. Nicholas. Prague Orloj or the medieval era astronomical clock is also situated in this splendid and admirable Square. Famous for its statues and memorials, it is mostly visited by the Germans, British, Russians, and Italians.
The tower of Old Town Hall offers a bird’s-eye view of the city. Outdoor cafes and the Jan Hus Memorial are the take away points from this dazzling and marvelous city.
1. Charles Bridge
After Prague Castle, Charles Bridge is one of magnificent structures connecting Old Town with Lesser Town over the river Vltava. Prevailing over 600 years, the sides of the bridge have more than 30 Baroque statues. Musicians, performance artists and myriad vendors keep the bridge bustling with people. Along with the tourists, they make the bridge near full at all times.
At the two ends of the bridge is a tower with steps to climb up and have another spectacular view of this overpass. The bridge provides a majestic view of the Prague Castle, lining its earth line.