Prague - The Fairytale Town

Prague - The Fairytale Town
Photo by William Zhang / Unsplash

Guest Post by Bilal Mood

Six years ago, I embarked on a new adventure and found myself in the heart of Prague. The city's enchanting beauty and rich history immediately captured my heart. With its cobblestone streets, charming architecture, and vibrant culture, Prague felt like a place where every corner held a story waiting to be discovered. The warm and welcoming atmosphere made the city feel like home from the very beginning.

Over the years, I've come to appreciate the ease of navigating daily life in Prague. From the efficient public transportation system to the cozy neighborhood markets, everything seems to blend seamlessly into the city's rhythm. The friendly locals have been a guiding light, always willing to help and share a smile. Whether it's exploring the hidden gems or enjoying a cup of coffee in one of the many quaint cafes, Prague has become not just a place to live but a vibrant and lively community that I'm proud to call home.

History


Prague, with its roots dating back to the 9th century, has a captivating history. Once the seat of Bohemian kings and emperors, the city has witnessed centuries of political, cultural, and architectural evolution. From the iconic Prague Castle overlooking the Vltava River to the medieval Charles Bridge, every cobblestone narrates a story. 

In the last 100 years, Prague has undergone significant historical events that have shaped its modern identity. During the 20th century, the city experienced both the highs of independence and the lows of occupation. In 1918, Czechoslovakia was established, bringing a sense of national sovereignty to Prague. However, this period of independence was short-lived, as the city fell under German occupation during World War II.

The post-war era saw the city becoming the capital of the newly formed Czechoslovakia once again. However, the optimism was short-lived as the country later fell under communist rule in 1948. Prague played a pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, a non-violent uprising against the communist regime, which eventually led to the end of decades-long communist rule and the establishment of the Czech Republic in 1993.

In the years following the Velvet Revolution, Prague experienced a cultural and economic renaissance, marked by the restoration of historic sites, the development of a vibrant arts scene, and the city's integration into the global community. Today, Prague stands as a testament to its resilience, with a blend of its rich historical past and a dynamic, forward-looking present.


Places to See

💡
Prague is once of the prettiest capital of Europe and in order to appreciate it even further, a local guide can help you understand the reason behind it. Feel free to check out our recommendation.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle sits atop Hradčany Hill in Prague 1 and is visible from many parts of the city. This complex encompasses not only the impressive St. Vitus Cathedral but also the Golden Lane and the historic Old Royal Palace. Visitors can explore the castle's rich interiors, adorned with splendid artwork and royal collections. The best time to explore Prague Castle is early in the morning or during the late afternoon when the crowds are thinner, allowing for a more intimate experience. Additionally, the castle grounds provide breathtaking panoramic views of the city, making sunset an ideal time to witness the magical transformation of Prague's skyline. 

💡
Prague Castle can be seen from various points within the city and as beautiful as it looks from the outside, it's even more mesmerising from the inside. Check out our recommendation for a private tour with a local guide.

Charles Bridge

© Dagmar Pokorná

Charles Bridge, an iconic symbol of Prague, gracefully spans the Vltava River, connecting Prague Castle to the Old Town. This historic bridge, adorned with 30 statues depicting saints, dates to the 14th century and is renowned for its Gothic architecture and timeless charm. Charles Bridge holds significant cultural importance as it once served as the main link to the city. Today, it stands as a pedestrian-only bridge, inviting locals and tourists to stroll across its cobblestone path and absorb panoramic views of the city and the castle.

💡
The best times to visit Charles Bridge are early morning or late evening, offering a more serene experience as the crowds are thinner. The soft glow of sunrise or the illuminated cityscape during sunset adds an enchanting touch to the ambiance.

For those exploring Prague Castle, a picturesque walk along the Royal Route leads directly to Charles Bridge, making it a seamless continuation of the historical journey. As you traverse this historic bridge, you'll find yourself in the blend of medieval architecture and the vibrant life of Prague, making Charles Bridge an indispensable stop on the city's cultural tapestry.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square, the heart of historic Prague, is surrounded by colorful buildings, Gothic architecture, and an array of charming cafes. The square is dominated by the stunning Church of Our Lady before Týn and the Old Town Hall, home to the famed Astronomical Clock. This medieval timepiece, installed in 1410, is a marvel of engineering, with its intricate mechanisms and animated figurines that come to life every hour. Visitors can watch the Astronomical Clock's hourly show, which includes the Twelve Apostles and other symbolic elements.

The Old Town Square itself is a lively hub, hosting various events, markets, and festivals throughout the year. The best times to visit are early morning or evening when the square is less crowded. From Prague Castle, one can stroll through the charming streets of Mala Strana, cross the iconic Charles Bridge, and find themselves in the heart of Old Town Square.


Local Favorites

Both Prague 2 and Žižkov contribute to Prague's dynamic cultural scene, offering a blend of history, art, and a contemporary urban lifestyle. Exploring these neighbourhoods provides a deeper understanding of the city's diverse facets beyond its historical core.

Prague 2

Nestled south of the city center, Prague 2 offers a charming blend of residential areas and cultural hotspots. Vinohrady, a neighborhood within Prague 2, is known for its elegant 19th-century architecture, tree-lined streets, and a lively atmosphere. Riegrovy Sady, a popular park, provides a tranquil escape with stunning views of the city. Residents and visitors can explore the neighborhood's vibrant café scene, boutique shops, and local markets. Vinohrady is also home to Náměstí Míru (Peace Square), a focal point with a neo-Gothic church and a vibrant farmers' market.

Žižkov

Situated to the east of the city center, Žižkov exudes a more bohemian and eclectic atmosphere. Known for its iconic Žižkov Television Tower, adorned with crawling babies sculptures, the neighborhood is an artistic enclave. Žižkov's streets are dotted with quirky pubs, art galleries, and alternative spaces, making it a hub for the creative community. The neighborhood's rough-around-the-edges charm is part of its appeal, attracting artists, students, and those seeking a non-traditional Prague experience. Parukářka Park offers panoramic views of the city, while the Jiřího z Poděbrad Square hosts a popular farmers' market and is surrounded by vibrant cafes.


Museums and Cultural Heritage

National Museum

At the summit of Wenceslas Square, the National Museum of Prague is an indispensable gateway to Czech history, art, and natural sciences. Its monumental dome-topped structure, houses a diverse collection encompassing prehistoric artifacts, cultural exhibits, and modern Czech history. Visitors are invited to embark on a comprehensive journey through the nation's past.

💡
Early morning visits on weekdays are recommended to avoid larger crowds, providing an opportunity for an immersive exploration of the museum's vast offerings.

Mucha Museum

In the heart of Prague, the Mucha Museum is a captivating tribute to the renowned Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. This intimate space invites art enthusiasts to marvel at Mucha's intricate paintings, decorative arts, and illustrations that define the Art Nouveau movement. To enhance the visit, the museum occasionally hosts temporary exhibitions showcasing diverse aspects of Mucha's oeuvre.

💡
For the best experience, consider visiting during weekdays in the late morning or early afternoon when foot traffic is lighter, allowing for a more leisurely appreciation of Mucha's artistic legacy.

Franz Kafka Museum

Located near the iconic Charles Bridge, the Franz Kafka Museum offers a surreal immersion into the life and works of the influential Czech writer. Visitors can explore personal letters, manuscripts, and engaging multimedia displays that illuminate Kafka's enigmatic literary world. The museum's strategic position along the Vltava River provides a picturesque backdrop for contemplating Kafka's complex narratives.

💡
Optimal visiting times are midweek mornings or late afternoons, allowing guests to absorb the museum's atmosphere with fewer crowds and an unhurried pace.

Museum of Communism

Situated in central Prague near Wenceslas Square, the Museum of Communism delves into Czechoslovakia's complex communist era. It offers a nuanced understanding of political events, daily life, and the transformative Velvet Revolution. To make the most of the visit, guests can check the museum's schedule for guided tours or special exhibitions.

💡
Weekday mornings are recommended for a more contemplative exploration, allowing visitors to absorb the profound historical context without the bustling crowds

Up till now, you have learnt a bit of history about the city and the places which are must-see in my view for anyone coming to the city. But this does not cover the breadth of activities that the city has to offer.

So to keep it short and sweet, in my next post, I will share my personal favourite for parks and food joints in Prague. Don't miss out on that one!

Subscribe for travel updates. No spam, just insights.