Prague has to be in my top three European cities. It has it all. A fantastic nightlife, restaurants and bars and the city itself appears completely untouched from time. Little has changed within the medieval city – You can still visualize horse and carriages making there way across cobbled lanes and the old square is spectacular. The city is a historian’s oasis with a tale to be found around every street corner. It is breathtakingly beautiful and extremely cheap too. I found the Czech’s welcoming and warm but funnily enough, the ‘tough Czech’ persona lives on, hardened & justified by Nazi and soviet oppression – and it’s something that is even celebrated. I spoke to a woman one night at some cave styled bar in the city, she was an Australian who married a Czech, and she told us about how her mother-in-law, had lived in 4 different countries without ever leaving her home! I was told she is an old tough Czech too!
The city is rich with history and the story behind how the people of Prague defended the city from the Nazis is something to marvel at. Civilians fortified the city using tables and chairs hindering the German invasion whilst the Czech’s fought – waiting desperately for the Americans to liberate them. The tale ends tragically however as efforts to push out one oppressor ended with another entering the city – the Russians soon took over Prague. The communist grip over Prague is not quite history yet but the Czechs found liberation in the end & they fully deserve it.
The old square is a place you cannot miss when in Prague. Surrounded by renaissance buildings and restaurants, is the famous astrology clock. 700 years old and still operational. The grim reaper pulls the bells – harking a new hour closer to death. Very ominous but incredibly beautiful & ornate. Above is a snap of powder tower. Although most of the medieval city walls are intact, the tower stands alone today and gets its name for it use, as hundreds of years ago – the tower stored barrels of gunpowder! Thankfully no such explosives are stored within today!
When I was in Prague I went on one of the free Sandeman city tours. It was extremely hot, August last year and our tour guide sat us down in the shade as she told tales of knights and feuding families. Many of the aristocratic homes are still seen today and can be identified by the artwork which adorns the many renaissance buildings within the city -Called Sgraffito – it is the beginning of what is known today as graffiti. One of the most memorable stories was the countless cases of ‘defenestration’ – whereby people/rivals were kicked or pushed out of windows. The term itself was coined after incidents happening in Prague castle in the 1600s. As a result, I suppose, I didn’t linger too long around windows!
Another interesting observation is Adam and Eve tower, sat atop the stone church in the old square. Most likely an architectural mishap – the tower on the left is smaller than its twin on the right. The towers were named, romantically symbolising Adam’s love for Eve and as the larger tower – he stands to protect her.
There is so much to do in Prague, this scrap could go on for pages and pages but one suggestion is to visit Prague castle and the neighboring monastery which has been brewing beer for centuries. The views from the Castle are spectacular and although entry is free – I really recommend taking a tour as the place has so much history and folklore attached to it. I paid for the combined tour with Sandeman, as I loved the tour guide from the free tour the day before, I waited to book during her shift and for 12 euro, she brought a group of us through Prague castle, it grounds and later to St Norbert monastery to taste some medieval beer!
The view from atop Prague Castle is worth the trip alone but at least take a historic guide book with you, so you don’t miss out on all the cultural superstitions which are attached to almost every statue within Prague. Prague Cathedral is also a towering beauty you’d be mad to miss.
This scarp has been a little rambling, almost borderline stream of consciousness but Prague truly is a city that you can escape in and as I said before it is breathtakingly beautiful. I would be devastated if any sky scraper or modern monstrosity was to appear in it! The city is also an amazing party town - with an epic ice bar and enough absinthe bars to make an Irishman blush! I'm sure I'll post about beer crawling in Prague soon enough but for now this scrap is about beauty - which Prague surely is !