First Historical Prague Visit
My colleagues and I wanted to spend weekend at Prague. I just came from a trip that I did not have any time to prepare so I suit myself in the guidance of Prague Directions from Rough Guides. Google Map has been useful as I oriented myself for the places where I wanted to visit.
It was later afternoon when the team arrived at Prague. At the historical centre of Prague lies Betlem Club – our hotel stop for the night. The rooms were standard with air condition and were supposed to be entertained with Wi-Fi connections but unfortunately as we arrived, connections were down. We relied on the Ethernet connections but, this connection worked in my room only. To outdo the issues faced on our first night, I noticed the built of Betlem Club. This historical building located close to the department where we worked. The hotel is where the Gothic house was placed dating from the 13th century and it still has its original gothic cellar. The location was also a strategic start off point for our trip around the city.
We were so filled with excitement to go around the City with options of walking, renting a bike or use the tram system. Prague tram had great value for 100 Kč which is a day card from downtown it can bring you to castle by taking tram lines 22 and 23. Shopping has been a great experience for me in Prague. Looking for shoes to buy… we ended up in Bata Footwear’s Huge Stop, 7 floors in 2300 sq. metres at Wencesclav, Square 6. There were several shoes that I liked but met a problem with size 43 so I ended up with two pairs only.
Moving on…we discovered a chain store dedicated to preserving Czech products. The store name is Manufaktura found at Staré Mesto of Old Town. Their products were great. They have locally puppets and toys made of woods. I was so amazed with the kraslice or the Easter Eggs that are painted by hand. There are also decors, soap, cosmetic product that are available. The wooden crafts were so lovely that I was enticed to buy domino set and toys made of woods.
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Puppet Making has been an old passion of Prague way back 18th century. Traditionally, puppets were crafted from wood hand carving. Presently, Prague sell marionettes in their shops until I came to Jilskà street where marionettes beautifully dangles from their ceiling. The shops around the city have all sorts of toys like princesses of fairy tales, toy soldier and other contemporary cartoon characters.
The spectacular Prague Castle is situated on Castle Hill. Just like a fairy tale story – that was what I thought when I saw such a magnificent castle ever. There were many wonderful sights in stored for the travellers. I was so amazed starting at the entrance with two Titans, then moving on I found the Cathedral. There was also George’s Basilica. We visited the rooms where Princesses of Czech lived and the window known to have started war that lasted for 20 years. Looking beneath the castle wall were series of gardens. These gardens were lush trees erected. A quiet stepped place with benches to give you panoramic view of the City. One piece of a great advice that you may enjoy the serenity of the place is to avoid weekend castle visit for the place is really plagued with visitors. That’s what happened to us when we went back there on Saturday.
Prague Castle wall has the Cathedral reflected Gothic architecture and styles with its windows that are stained glass also exhibits styles from various previous eras. There I saw the secret door of a chamber where Kings of Roman Empire are crowned. The golden keys safeguarded by parliament members are the only way that the special door can be opened.
There was also an area reflecting Renaissance gardens that beautifully ornamented the southern slope beneath the Prague Castle. This garden was changed after the Swedish invasions in 1648 and inspired by baroque style with beautiful architecture of steps terraces, sculptures, and fountains. Prague’s Malá Strana also known as Lesser Town gives the panoramic view of the City and a great place for strolling during summertime. Petrín Hill in this place can be reached by walking up or through taking the funicular railway which is operated with regular public transport every 10-15 minutes. This train took me on top of the hill and I was enticed to take pictures from the Petřínské terasy as I walked down half way to Nebozízek station before riding the train down the hill again
A museum of huge collection of Barbie dolls, old toys of Europe and America like that also include all kinds of car, aircrafts, and trains was also there but I was not able to see the inside of the museum.
Charles Bridge, a Gothic expression of architecture beautifully stretched in the River of Vltava. Eye catching architectural structure of the bridge are the varied stone figures of personalities of religious significance. These statues bring luck by touching it. During day time, musicians arrive to have an awesome experience with a magnificent view in the bridge. Night time with calmness and serenity, it becomes a sparkling river of Vltava.
On the left side passing the Charles Bridge on the way to Mala Strana is the Kampa island. Its water is known as the Devil’s Stream, “Čertovka” derived from a devilishly tempered woman who lived near Maltese Square in the 19th century. The island has restaurants, old houses and park known as the Venice of Prague for its canals and houses on the water.
On Petrin Hill is a lookout tower with 299 stairs was built in the year 1891 for an Exhibition in Prague. This tower is a great place to have a good view of the entire Prague including seeing Snezka, the known highest peak of Czech situated 150km away from the City. In clear night sky, observatorium with its two telescopes, is a perfect place for star-gazing enthusiasts visitors
Old Town Square is a home for variety of cafes, bars and restaurant with featured traditional food and beer of the Czechs. While found also in the Center is Jan Hus’ statue, citizen of Prague. It was written in the history that he suffered by being burned in stake that was among the punishment during the medieval years.
Historically, the Nazi artillery was aimed to the entire City Hall and a clock with historical importance made in the year 1410 wherein astrological data were taken. The Nazi successfully burnt them down. Between the years of 1865-1866, major repair work was carried out adding the figures of 12 apostles blessing the City at every hour. Vojtech Sucharda, a woodcarver restored this historic figure by his creations.
The location where a historic Church of Lady before Tyn stands where three churches before and destroyed. This church mentioned in 12th Century is one of the most unique symbols of Prague Gothic style, built by Charles IV in 14th century and completed on 15th century. On 1679 it was struck by fire, its gothic dome needed reconstruction. Then it followed the Baroque style.
A walk along the river bank was very serene and calmly. At the end of Kampa Park next to the river was the lock I visited. I remembered history when during the World War II, many Jews were sentenced to death as ordered by Hitler and to preserve Josefov. Also included were its synagogues, the town hall and their cemetery. Josefov was part of Hitler’s “Exotic Museum of Extinct Race” featuring gathered Jewish artifacts from all around Europe which is now known as most comprehensive collection of Judaica.
My first trip to Prague was filled with reminiscing of historic events that occurred in Prague and greatly affected the world in its own right. There are still lots of places to be visited and for sure, all these trips are very enriching. This trip was an awesome experience and I am looking forward for more Prague trips in the future.
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