Tag: Czech Republic

The Charles Bridge – or Karlův Most – is one of Prague’s most iconic, and busiest, sights. Built in the late 14th century, for nearly 500 years it was the only way you could get across the Vltava River. The bridge is lined with over 30 statues and has imposing gothic-style towers protecting each end. Everyone’s seen the classic photo of the deserted bridge in the mist, it’s one of the most recognisable images of Prague. You might struggle to recreate it yourself though, as the Charles Bridge is one of the city’s most popular attractions, constantly packed with a mass of tourists, artists and gift stalls for most of the day.
Perched on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague, you might spot what looks like a miniature version of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. The Petrin Lookout Tower might not be quite as imposing at a diminutive 60 metres high compared to the Eiffel Tower’s 324 metres. But once you add on the height of the hill it sits on, then at the top of the Petrin Tower you’re 50 metres higher up than at the peak of its French big brother. Two observation platforms in the tower provide some of the best views across Prague. And on a clear day you might be able to see as far as Snezka, the Czech Republic’s highest mountain almost 150km away.
Hidden away behind the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague’s Jewish Quarter – or Josefov –  is the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery. It dates back to the 15th century and the oldest gravestone belongs to the poet Avigdor Karo who was buried here in April 1439. There are about 12,000 gravestones packed into this small area, at crooked angles and entangled with vegetation. It’s forbidden to move Jewish headstones, so as space in the cemetery ran out, more layers of earth were added and the stones were packed in closer and closer together until the cemetery went out of use in the 18th century.
Art Deco and Art Nouveau are probably my favourite architectural styles, with their classic, elegant, simple designs. But I never expected the Czech Republic to have one of the most spectacular Art Nouveau buildings I’ve ever seen. As we were heading out to explore Prague, the weather suddenly turned and first place we spotted to shelter from the showers was an imposing domed-roof building near our hotel.
Shrine to pacifism from communist times or bright coloured eyesore – Prague’s John Lennon Wall has always polarised opinion. After John Lennon’s death in 1980, a portrait of him was painted on a wall in this secluded square near the Charles Bridge. Beatles lyrics and political graffiti were added and despite the secret police repeatedly painting over it, they kept being put back up and the area became a focus for pacifist youth. After the fall of communism the original portrait faded, but more recently contributions from tourists have kept it going and it’s now a constantly evolving mix of paintings, messages and colours.
There was a niggling fear in my heart when I arrived in the Czech Republic; I worried that I was going to encounter vegetarian food-related issues like those I encountered in Bosnia. I was pleasantly surprised to find fantastic Czech desserts all over the place. The country has a dumpling mania and there are everything from sweet fruit dumplings to […]
Rapid confusion set in on my face as a huge, silent, sturdy Czech guy plunked my raft into the Vltava River, hoisted a water-tight barrel with my purse and camera tucked inside, aggressively shoved the barrel under the front lip of the raft in one giant thrust, and then sauntered away. Our guide’s broad shoulders […]
The heartbeat of most countries pulses from the towns, villages, and small cities dotting the countryside. Even in well-developed countries, the pace of life changes outside of urban city-centers. This proved true throughout much of my travels this past year, and also in the Czech Republic, where three days sightseeing in Prague offered just a […]
Lauded as one of the top cultural centers of Europe, and a city almost unparalleled for architecture and beauty, I have always wanted to see Prague for myself. I have long held a romantic nostalgia for Prague thanks to Hollywood using the city’s medieval streets as the backdrop for intrigue and romance. As an American, much […]

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