Prague

An understandably if still overwhelmingly (in places) popular city, Prague has a rich history and wonderful architecture. The beauty of Prague (other than it’s obvious architectural beauty) is that there is a huge amount to do, but that almost everything is within a 3km radius of the old town, making it the perfect walking city, with every street home to something of interest.

A gem I found on the outskirts of this area, wonderfully quiet on a Monday morning, was the Vyšehrad area, home to the walls of a fort started in the 10th century, with great views of the river and city, the impressive Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the exquiste Vyšehrad Cemetery.

I found the Old City Square, Prague Castle, and Charles Bridge overrun with tourists from about 10am onwards, the bridge in particular was almost impassable with the number of people, felt like Venice.

Many of the original statues from Charles Bridge can now be found in the rather good, and much quieter, Lapidary of the National Museum, which is next to the rather nice Výstaviště Praha Holešovice exhibition hall.

Down the hill from Prague Castle the free Wallenstein Palace Gardens are a bit of an oasis of calm.

The Jewish Quarter also gets extremely busy, but if you get there when it opens at 9am you have a chance to have a few places shared with only a few others. All the sites were worth visiting, but I particularly enjoyed the Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, and Jubilee Synagogue (short walk from the Jewish Quarter).

My favourite museums were the Naprstek (ethnographic) Museum, National Technical Museum, Apple Museum, and Czech Museum of Music.

The City of Prague Museum was also worth visiting, if only for the wonderful scale model of the city.

Almost all the permanent exhibitions in the Trade Fair Palace (Veletrzni Palac) were closed when I visited, but I was more interested in the fabulous building, way more interesting on the inside than the outside.

This was also true of the Muller Villa, a 1930s architectural masterpiece / oddity, which can only be visited on one of the regular tours (book a few days in advance as numbers limited to 7 people per tour). No photos were allowed inside, but it’s a fascinating building, strange combination of the then ultra modern, and traditional touches. I wasn’t entirely convinced but if you’re interested in modernist architecture it is worth a visit.

Anyone with an interest in architecture, and Art Noveau in particular shouldn’t miss the stunning Municipal House, best visited on one of the regular tours to see the beautiful rooms on the first floor.

There is a reasonable amount of public art scattered around the place.

It often seems like every street has a sizeable church on it, with mostly relatively plain exteriors, but with extragant interiors. My favourites included the decorative Basilica of St James, St. Nicholas’ Church, Cathedral of St. Clements, and Church of St. Salvator, and the simpler ceiling of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua.

To end with a few more photos of buildings, there are so many of interest in Prague.

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