Prague – The City of Gold

Prague – The City of Gold – Prague is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is therefore one of the most touristic cities in Europe.  The Golden City, which is one of the nicknames of Prague, is situated at the Moldou River. The architectural styles in Prague, one of the largest and oldest cities in Central Europe, are very diverse. There are buildings in Baroque, Gothic and art nouveau style in the city. One other famous nickname of Prague is is “the city of a hundred towers”. In reality, this is a severe underestimation, because the city counts about 550 towers.

Inner City

The most places of interest in Prague can be found in the downtown area, especially in the old town. All tourists come together at the old town square, where you can find one of the best known symbols of Prague, the astronomical clock. Another well worth seeing square is Wenceslas Square, east of the old town square. The best known bridge of Prague, Charles Bridge, is on the other side of the old town. This bridge connects the old town with another area in the Centre. In the lesser town, which is the translation of the name, you can find a large number of palaces, who nowadays mostly are used as Embassies. In the middle of the old town is a small neighbourhood, that historically is the Jewish quarter.  Josefov, as the area is called, still possesses many sights that recall the Jewish past, like the old Jewish cemetery and the birth House of writer Franz Kafka, one of the most famous inhabitants of Prague. On two sides of the Centre there is a fortress located.  On the South side this is the fortress Vyšehrad, where you find a church and cemetery inside.  At the cemetery are many interesting graves and tombs of many famous Czechs, including the composers Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana. On the northwest side is the Prague Castle  on the Hradčany Hill. This castle, built in the 9th century, is the largest in the world.

Churches

In Prague is a large number of interesting churches. The best known is the Cathedral St. Vitus (Katedrála svatého Víta), whose first stone was laid in the year 1344. This to St Vitus dedicated Church is part of the Prague Castle. Also the Romanesque Basilica of St. George State is within the Prague Castle. At the old town square are two famous churches. The Týn Church (Týnský chrám) is a church with two 80-foot towers, whose construction began in 1365. The other church is the St. Nicholas Church in Baroque architecture. In Malá Strana is a second St. Nicholas Church, also in the Baroque style. in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora about a  30-minutes drive from Prague, is the Ossarium of Sedlec. This is a small Roman Catholic chapel which is decorated with bones of about 40000 to 70000 people.

Modern architecture

Besides all the historic sites there is also a lot of modern architecture to be seen in Prague. The most striking building of the city is the Žižkov television tower (Žižkovská věž televizní), which is 216 metres high. The tower is built from 1985 to 1992. The Petřín lookout tower can, despite the fact that he is already built in 1889, be counted among modern architecture. The 60 metre high tower looks very similar to the eiffel tower. If the Petřín Hill, on which the tower stands, is included, both buildings are the same height.

Also the dancing House is a building that stands out. Not because of his height, but because of the deconstructivist architecture. The building is situated on the Vltava River and was opened in 1996.

National Library of the Czech Republic

The National Library of the Czech Republic is located in the Clementinum, a Baroque building from the 16th century. In 2007 there was an  election held for the design of a new national library. From the eight entries, the building of the English firm Future Systems, with main architect Jan Kaplický, is chosen.

Library of the Czech Republic

 Nightlife

Prague’s nightlife can mesure itself easily with that of other European top cities. Many discos, bars and an impressive Theatre ensure that everyone is entertained as the Sun drops behind the beautiful Charles Bridge. Make sure you try a real Czech pilsener! An advantage of the Prague nightlife is that prices are low for a drink. Cheers!

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