Strolling down the iconic, 600-year old Charles Bridge in Prague is like walking down memory lane. It literally links two time dimensions being the structure that connect the Old Town and the Lesser Town. Lining the pedestrian are 30 Baroque statues and an array of interesting and entertaining throng of vendor’s stalls, street performers, jazz artists, beggars and people from all walks of life. Flowing under is the Vltava River, flanking it are edifices of remarkable architectures, and looming over is the Prague Castle.
The Toasts of Prague
The bridge is a beehive of action providing attractions to all visitors coming from near and far. It has a tower on both ends offering a vantage view of the Prague Castle that lets anyone clambering the bridge gets an enchanting vista of it.
The Prague Castle is among the most striking architectural landmarks in Europe and it is hard to ignore with its imposing air and presence dominating Prague’s skyline. Its style is intriguing; its 1000 years are reflected in its mix of architectural styles. Its highlights include the Old Royal Palace housing the outstanding architectural and historical displays, the museum of Basiica of St George and venue for events, the Villa Richter.
Other Prague Landmarks
Prague is a compact city known for its extraordinary architectural landmarks of Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles. It has scores of palaces, churches, squares, and parks. Aside from Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, some of the ones worthy of attention are:
- The Old Town Square: This Square is bordered by structures of a jumble of architectural styles – Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic, Rococo, and Renaissance. Tyn has soaring Gothic towers and St Nicholas has Baroque style. Old Town Hall is also a mixture of Renaissance and Gothic edifices.
- Prague Astronomical Clock: This over 600-year old clock, the thirds eldest in the world, is the focal point of the Old Town Square. It is an antique “orloj” that tells Old Bohemian time, Babylonian time, German time and sidereal time. It also reveals the sunrise, sunset, position of the sun in the zodiac, and the phases of the moon. As the hour of four strikes, the Prague Astronomical Clock brings everyone’s attention to it as its bells rings, a cock crows, the Gothic sculptures move, the Walk of the Apostles sets off, and a trumpeter blast begins an entertainment.
- Tyn Church: This Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn is located in the Old Town Square rising 80 meters (260 ft) into the sky. It houses a throng of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance arts.
- Wenceslas Square: This Square in New Town looks more like a boulevard that’s a shopper’s haven. Aside from shops, stalls and stores, it is flanked by restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, banks, making it a commercial district as well as Prague’s entertainment and nightlife center.
- Mala Strana: This old baroque building built in 1257 is located in the Lesser Town on the other side of the bridge. It is dominated by the imposing Baroque St. Nicholas Church as well as the grand Wallenstein Palace. The other structures are mostly in grand old Baroque styles. Houses are generally decorated by a beast emblem such as the Read Eagle, the White Swan and the Golden Horseshoe.
- Old New Synagogue: This is Europe’s oldest active synagogue located in Josefov. This erstwhile Jewish Quarter built in 1270 is Prague’s first Gothic edifice. It is the heart of the Jewish Quarter.
- Dancing House: This deconstructivist structure with jaw-dropping dynamic and static elements resembling a female dancer in the arms of a male partner was built by Canadian Frank Gehry and Czech architect Valdo Milunic. It is to be found on Resslova Street and the bank of the Vltava River.
- Powder Tower: This tower built in the 11th century and restored in the 15th century was used for storing gunpowder during the 17th century; thus the name. It is linked to the King Vladislav II’s palace. Inside 186-step spiral staircase leading to the gallery where there is a great view of the Old Town.
Must-do at Prague
If there are things that can make your Prague travel memorable what would they be? There are 20 great things to do in Prague according to TimeOut Prague. “Eat ‘head cheese’, decipher a clock, then down a pint of Gambrinus,” and 17 more.
For foodies (and drinkers), here are some good stuff you can eat/drink you can enjoy.
Down a pint of the brown, frothy stuff: Down here, you have to pay homage to Czech beers regard as a national treasure Gambrinus is the most popular. Kozel’s Medium is a prize-winning Czech beer, but it is Pilsner Urquell that is thought to be the best of the bunch. For authenticity, enjoy your choice in Prague’s top bars – U ?erného vola, U Medvídk?, U Provaznice, U Houdk?, and U Vejvod?.
Eat pub-grub Czech style: What’s a drink without a meal? Cold smoked mackerel is highly recommended as well as raw beef on deep-fried toast and bits of meat in aspic called “head cheese.”? Head to Pivnice u Pivrnce, U Medvídk? and/or U Radnice, the best places to try these must-eats.
Dine in style: For world-class cuisines at Prague, you can go to Allegro, the first Michelin star restaurant in the city specializing in Tuscan-Czech menu feature, Alcron, a seafood restaurant under Chef Roman Paulus and Kampa Park, also serving gourmet seafood.
Prague is dotted with beautiful views and historical attractions any traveler would enjoy. That Charles Bridge is not only scenic; it can take you down history once more.