Prague was the last city on our travel route during the spring of 2018, following Budapest and Vienna. When we arrived, we were immediately transported back in time. Prague is a city that didn’t suffer extensive damage during World War II, and as a result, its old-town atmosphere remains remarkably authentic. Narrow streets and closely packed houses are the main features of Prague 1. Prague 1 encompasses the Old Town area of Prague and is the place with the highest concentration of foreign tourists. If you visit this city, try to find accommodation in the Prague 1 area.
Because we were all students on this journey, cost was a significant concern for us. Saving money was a must, but we still wanted to enjoy Prague. Therefore, most of the places we visited were budget-friendly and accessible on foot.
We spent 2 days in Prague, which was enough to see all the city’s tourist attractions. On the first day, we focused on the Old Town and Charles Bridge, and on the second day, we explored the castle area.
Charles Bridge is an iconic symbol of Prague, and thousands of tourists flock to this area every day. It’s best to visit the bridge in the morning to avoid crowds. This bridge serves as one of the main connections between Prague Castle and the Old Town. The stone bridge, which took 55 years to build, is adorned with 30 Gothic-style statues. These statues are a symbol of Prague’s past prosperity and leave a lasting impression on visitors to the city.
Charles Bridge in the Morning
Charles Bridge from a Distance
At the end of Charles Bridge, facing Prague Castle, there’s a park called Kampa Island. This place is perfect for getting a different view of Charles Bridge. You can find some interesting spots here, like the colorful houses on Na Kampě Street and the John Lennon Wall. Interestingly, John Lennon never created graffiti on this wall, but after his death, many young people from Prague expressed their feelings through graffiti. Their art on the wall represented protests against the communist government of the time.
Colorful Houses on Na Kampě Street
John Lennon Wall
Initially, my main goal was to see the Baroque-style library in this location. However, be prepared to spend some money to visit it. The Baroque library looks like something out of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the library. There’s also an observatory tower that was used by scholars to observe the skies in the past. It’s fascinating to learn how scholars in earlier times tried to study the universe with simple technology. You can also capture beautiful views of old Prague from the observatory.
View from the Observatory
Old Town Square
In addition to Charles Bridge, Old Town Square is one of the busiest places in Prague. Here, you can see the Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady Before Týn. The Astronomical Clock is the oldest operational clock. Built in 1410, it can be confusing to read at first glance because it doesn’t just tell time but also provides information about the positions of the moon and the Sun. Unfortunately, when I visited, the Astronomical Clock was under renovation.
Apart from the Astronomical Clock, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn adds to the charm of the square. This church took 300 years to build and is a prominent feature in photos related to Prague. Interestingly, it’s located behind some buildings, not directly on the Old Town Square.
As you explore the area, pay attention to the historical buildings around you. There are several historic buildings, including the House at the Minute. On the walls of this building, there are paintings from the 1400s depicting various stories. Always keep an eye out for Prague’s historical buildings; you might stumble upon something significant.
Crowded Old Town Square and the Majestic Church of Our Lady Before Týn
Astronomical Clock Under Renovation
House at the Minute
When you see this building, it might remind you of the tower on Charles Bridge. This building used to be one of the entrances to Prague in ancient times. It resembles the tower on Charles Bridge, serving the same function. Named the Powder Tower, it was used to store gunpowder.
Powder Tower as an Ancient Gateway to Prague
When entering this area, you may be puzzled as there is nothing grand to be seen at first. However, it turns out that the entire complex is the Prague Castle, which is no wonder as it is the largest castle grounds in the world. Located atop a hill, Prague Castle has transformed this hill into a magnificent castle with various functions. Besides the royal family, it was also home to guards, alchemists, and craftsmen, making it a mini city.
One of the distinctive buildings at Prague Castle is the Saint Vitus Cathedral. This Gothic-style church is named after the relic it houses, the arm of Saint Vitus. If you have the time, be sure to enter the cathedral as its interior is visually stunning.
Entrance to Prague Castle area
Saint Vitus Cathedral, located within Prague Castle
View from inside Saint Vitus Cathedral
One of the gardens within Prague Castle
After exploring Prague Castle and heading back towards Old Town, it’s worth stopping by this garden. This garden belonged to Albrecht von Wallenstein, a military leader and wealthy figure in Prague who bought 23 houses and built this garden in the 1600s. However, due to being seen as a threat, Albrecht von Wallenstein was assassinated by the nobles of Prague. This garden is a perfect place to relax, as it is not overly crowded, and you can even interact with the peacocks freely roaming the garden.
A pond in Wallenstein Garden
Peacocks in the garden often display their feathers
The last place we visited was the Petrin Tower. We chose this spot because we wanted to enjoy panoramic views of Prague from a height and take photos of Prague at night. Additionally, we were curious about it as we saw a large park area on Google Maps with relatively few written descriptions. So, we decided to go there. It turned out that the park is located on a hilly terrain, and the Petrin Tower sits atop one of these hills. If you walk, it takes about 30 minutes to reach this spot.
What made it quite challenging was when we wanted to return to the city center. It was already dark, and the funicular railway was under renovation. Consequently, there were very few visitors in the area, making the journey back somewhat daunting. So, we found ourselves as tourists, equipped with our smartphone flashlights, descending the hill in the middle of the park with no other tourists in sight.
Prague at dusk
Prague at night
Prague Castle at night
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