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Somewhat off the beaten path at Grand Priory Square, The John Lennon Wall is street art worth going out of your way for. The Wall is owned by the Knights of Malta and has been covered in John Lennon and Beatles-inspired graffiti since the 1980s. Once a cause for conflict between young people and Husak's communist regime, the wall is constantly changing. Bring your own paint or permanent marker and become a part of Prague, however temporarily (the wall is painted over regularly).
Prague’s Grand Café Orient is the only cubist-designed space of its kind in the world. It occupies the first floor of the House of the Black Madonna, designed in 1911 by modernist architect Josef Gočár. Renovated in 2005, the spacious café retains the original silk-shaded hanging brass lanterns and marble-topped buffet-bar. Diners can enjoy such menu highlights as Prague ham and apple strudel, and then visit the Museum of Czech Cubism upstairs. Ovocný Trh 19, 420/2-24-224-240. Photo by João Canziani. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
In Prague, the grand St. Vitus Cathedral is a wonder to see. Unfortunately it's lack of space outside makes it difficult to grab a good shot of the front of the building, so many have to settle for close-ups of the details. Surprisingly, this facade was created in the 1920s by sculptor Vojtěch Sucharda. One would think it would have been a longer time ago.
While farmers’ markets have sprung up all over Prague, the one that sprawls out near the Dejvická metro station is the most popular because of its location and size. On Saturday mornings, local vendors and farmers from the countryside set up their stands and offer a wide range of fruits, vegetables, juices, bread, pies, wines, and even fresh fish and oysters. Dejvická Station, Dejvice. Photo by João Canziani. This appeared in the October 2012 issue. Read "The New Bohemia."
Walk through the beautiful city of Prague and take in the sights while making your way to the river which surrounds the city. Be sure to stop by the Black Light Theater while you await your ferry ride. Once the sun begins to set find the nearest ferry (there are many) and pay the small admission price (around $3). Once upon the boat make your way upstairs to the very top and take in the sights, the castle and churches are the most beautiful when viewed at night as they are lit up by hundreds of lights.
Because it was impossible to take a good picture without a tourist photobombing and due to my passion for photography, we decided to wake up at 5 in the morning and watch the sunrise on the Charles Bridge. The location of our hostel made this little craziness possible for us. I was able to capture the bridge with minimum tourists around and the photos satisfied us.
Another shining symbol of Prague. You cannot go there without seeing it, or witnessing the show at the top of every hour. First installed in 1410, this magical landmark works still to this day.
Architecture buffs will adore this quirky deconstructivist building on the banks of the Rasin, within easy walking distance of Prague's Old Town. Designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry, the Dancing House, sometimes called Fred and Ginger, is particularly notable in this city famous for Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture. The building isn't open to the public, but if you must see the inside, you can take the elevator up to La Perle de Prague on the 7th floor for a (pricey for Prague) French meal with spectacular views of the city. The nearest underground station is Karlovo namesti.
A great hike up Petrin Hill, followed by a climb to the top of the needle - a miniature Eiffel Tower - yields huge rewards in a panoramic view of Prague.
Pivovarsky Klub literally translates to Beer Club. The restaurant and beer bar is dedicated to serving the finest Czech beers along with classic, rustic Czech cuisine. They offer 240 plus bottled beers (primarily Czech), and 6 Czech microbrews on tap at all times. Pivovarsky is always a snapshot of what's hot in the world of Czech brewing, which is expanding and evolving at local microbreweries throughout the country. Czech beer is no longer just great Pilsner and you can sample the latest innovations in beer expression here at Pivovarsky Klub. Come on an empty stomach so you sample some Czech favorites, such as Beer and Suerkraut Soup, Goulash and Dumplings or the mammoth sized portions of Roasted Pork Knuckle. Na zdravi!
Lesser Town Square was originally the spot for the poor and "non-royalty", but now it's a tourist and shopping mecca with the Charles Bridge connecting it to the rest of classic Prague. We did not venture into the church, but I thought it was quite a beautiful building.
Many mistake this gothic icon towering over the Prague skyline as Prague Castle, but St Vitus Cathedral is an entity all of its own - six centuries in the making. Entry is free to the first part but you will need a ticket for full access. For those of you who can't yet speak Czech, you can find St Vitus in Prague 1, in the Prague Castle in the mysteriously named Castle District.
I'm ordinarily a harsh critic of the plague of graffiti, which is found in most urban areas. But I draw a distinction when considering the John Lennon Wall in the Mala Strana District of Prague. After Lennon was killed a wall of the Anglo-American School served as a makeshift memorial. Officials painted over the tributes, but the graffiti always returned, and, over time, began to symbolize even more to the Czech people, who were still under the yoke of Soviets. The wall is always changing, as I saw last December. I had seen it 4 years earlier, and the current version was vastly different, while still maintaining the bright pastels and carefully drawn designs and messages. The picture of the heart was the centerpiece, and quite poignant. If you get to Prague, just walk across the Charles Bridge and turn left at the first street. You'll come to the school. Follow the wall around the corner to see this unique memorial.
My two kids, 12 and 14, had the best time earlier today at the Old Town Square in Prague. Here you have one photo, but you have to watch the video we made to really appreciate the wonderful moment. It is our first time in the Czech Republic and it has been a great few days already. When in Prague with kids, make sure you stop by the Old Town Square several times. There is always something entertaining, in addition to some good (and inexpensive) street food.
You can't miss it. In my book it's a major symbol of Prague with all the jutted mini-towers. Makes one think of every castle any child has seen in their storybooks.
One of the most spectacular libraries in the world is at the Strahov Monastery in Prague. While it is a bit off the beaten path for most tourists, it really is a must-see. Over 125,000 classic and rare books fill floor-to-ceiling bookshelves at the monastery, which sits on a hill. There are two halls. The Theological Hall dates from the 1600s and features ornate, 18th-century Baroque frescoes on the ceiling. The Philosophical Hall (pictured) is truly spectacular - an 18th century creation built in the Classic style that features Greek frescoes and opulently carved wooden bookcases with golden accents. On the grounds of the monastery are also The Church of Saint Roch, an art gallery and a brewery with the best sweeping views of Prague - truly a wonderful, enchanting way to spend a beautiful afternoon.
After a long afternoon of sightseeing, I took a walk along the Vltava River. It's a wonderful place to clear your head, listen to street music, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of Prague.
Prague is one of my favorite places to visit, hands down. It's a city full of surprises and adventures. A couple of my girlfriends and I walked the city and experienced the wonderful Czech food, historical museums, and tours by boat. The people of Prague are welcoming and friendly. Did I forget to mention the Czech Beer?! What's not to love about this city? It has something for everyone.
We took a tour that included this old Jewish cemetery. I wondered how the headstones could be so close together, and now I know. They had limited space, so they buried people in layers & put all the headstones for the layers together on top.
Trekking across the Charles Bridge and up the hill towards the Prague Castle called for a little snack. We happened upon this little stand, just behind the St. Nicolas Cathedral and right across from a giant Starbucks, and were intrigued. We watched as they rolled dough, wrapped it around a cylindrical spit, baked it and then dipped into sugar and nut mixture. I was sold. A fresh, warm Trdelník and cup of mulled wine was the perfect thing on a cold, snowy day. I watched the hoards of tourists filing into the Starbucks and wondered - why?
Day or night, it’s easy to get sucked into the Christmas Market in Old Town Square, Staroměstské Naměsti, in Prague. So grab a cup of hot honey wine and stroll through the lively festivities including angelic children’s choir groups and folk dancing troupes; metal-workers showing off their skills making hand-made door bells; and stall after stall of regional street food favorites like Trdelnik, the cuff-shaped fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar; homemade spiral potato chips; and Halušky, the mouth-watering mixture of miniature potato dumplings, cheese, cabbage, and bacon. Keep your eyes peeled and you might just happen upon the jolliest of pork slicers sharing the roast of the day. Pork is definitely the meat of choice and pride here in Prague, so go ahead and indulge.
One of my favorite things to do in a new city, is to find the highest tower there is and go to the top to get a birds eye view. This was from the top of Old Town Hall Tower, which gave a great view of the Old Town Square.
I can't imagine there being a more beautiful city architecturally than Prague. I bought a "tower pass" to climb all the towers of Prague. It may have cost as much as 200 CZK but was well worth it for the exercise and for views like this. The Klementinum tower offers a 360 degree view of the city. Inside the modernized portion of the complex is a concert hall for classical music. I caught the tail end of the International Classic Music Festival and saw the Hungarian Philharmonic for the equivalent of about 18 USD. I highly recommend visiting Prague the last week of May.
Prague is a historic city with ornate architecture but is now notorious for its crowds of tourists. This is one part of Prague that provides a glimpse of how the city used to be--quiet, quaint, and beautiful. When I first found this neighborhood, I felt so fortunate to have found it, right in the center but seemingly a world away from the busy energy of the city center. Its walled streets, quirky houses and tiny art galleries provide a respite from the crowded walk that most visitors take from Charles Bridge to Prague Castle. To get there, stand with your back to the entrance of Prague Castle. Cross the square and take Kanovnicka a couple of blocks until the street Novy Svet. The restaurant U Zlaté Hrušky is a great place to stop for a meal. You can then wander the streets and stop by the Loreta, a Baroque church and cloister.
If you want to practice Czech, drink delicious beer, and avoid other tourists, U Zlatého Tygra ("The Golden Tiger") is your kind of pub. The late Václav Havel took former U.S. President Bill Clinton here to give him a taste of authentic Czech beer. Seats are generally reserved for the regulars, so arrive early. This is a local (capital-L) place, so leave your cameras and any other signs of tourist status at the hotel. The owner and staff tend to be cantankerous, but they'll be more receptive if you order in Czech.
Jakub Berdych’s “Raw Chandelier” (pictured) exemplifies the eclectic style of housewares and decorative objects at this shop. Both international designers and contemporary Czech artists are represented here. Rámová 3, 420/2-22-313-151. Photo courtesy of Qubus Design Studio. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
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