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City Hopper: Prague, Czech Republic

June 30, 2012

My next City Hopper destination brings me to my birthplace of Prague. Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic. It is home to about 1.3 million people.

Charles University, Prague

Prague is also home to Charles University which is one of the oldest universities in Europe in continuous operation. It was founded in 1348 and it was the first university in Central Europe. It is also a top university in Central and Eastern Europe and ranks among the 1.5% of the world’s best universities.

Charles Bridge, Prague

There are many things to see and do in Prague and among the historical places to see here there are the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter.

The famous Charles Bridge in Prague

The Charles Bridge is the famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas.

This “solid-land” connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the “Charles Bridge” since 1870. (Reference Wikipedia)

Prague Castle

Other things to see in town are the Astronomical clock, locally called orloj, which is a huge attraction for tourists visiting Prague. The Orloj is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, the latter a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University.

Orloj in Prague

The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. (Wikipedia reference) There is a similar astronomical clock in Bern, Switzerland as well (I’ll be writing about that one in a couple of weeks so stay tuned).

Prague Astronomical Clock

There are many churches to see here as well and among them are St. George’s Basilica located in Prague Castle; St. Martin in the Wall Church; St. Nicolas Church Old Town Square; Strahov Monastery; The Spanish Synagogue; and the most famous of all is St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.

St. Vitus Cathedral

After you’re done sightseeing there are many things to keep you engaged such as shopping, visiting many of the wonderful restaurants and having a Pilsner Urquell beer, going to a theater or opera house or visiting one of the cities many museums such as the National Museum, Museum of Decorative Art, the Josef Sudek Gallery, the National Library or the National Gallery. There are also beautiful gardens to check out too. One of the biggest is the Wallenstein Gardens and Palace!

The Avenue of Sculpture and Fountain in Wallenstein Gardens and Palace, Prague

And of course, when you are hungry there’s great Bohemian food to try and don’t forget the proper Pilsner too!

Katie enjoying the Bohemian culinary specialty of duck with cabbage and a proper Pilsner Urquell Beer!

If you’d like a little video tour here is a great little video about Prague that I found on You Tube. I hope you enjoy it! See you next time!:

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