Prague

One of those something for everyone kind of destinations, the diversity Prague (or Praha) offers from its extensive history to quality night life and ridiculously cheap beer is wrapped up in a beautiful exterior.

Everywhere you walk there are streets lined with buildings that just seem too pretty to hold everyday offices, supermarkets and apartments.

Three days here barely covered the well known sites let alone all the amazingness Prague certainly has going for it if you have the time to dig deeper.

This is a destination I will definitely be wanting to return to next time I’m in Europe! Below are a few highlights from my time here.

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My hostel was around 15 minutes walk to Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti).

A central point on this side of the river, it’s the place to meet up and a huge amount of bars and restaurants can be found nearby.

I chose to do a walking tour offered by the hostel my first day and covered a lot, my guide was a local and so informative.

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Puppets, so many windows seemed to display them!

She left us next to the Old Town Hall about half way through the tour and told us to meet back at the same point, warning it might be a little crazy as people tried to gather around to get a look at its Astronomical Clock (Staromestska Radnice).

I wondered why there was so much fuss for a clock?

What I learned was that this clock is over 600 years old and is the oldest astronomical clock in the world that still functions. Pretty impressive.

Each hour for most of the day, little figurine apostles and ‘death’ represented in skeletal form are among some of the features which burst from it when the new hour is signified with the ringing of the bells.

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St. Jacob’s Church isn’t too far away from Old Town and was originally created in the 13th century but later rebuilt in the Baroque style. It’s quite lovely both inside and out.

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This sign was in the church, I love how the Czech’s get right to the point.

I also remember wishing I’d had one of these myself to poke in people’s faces at various European tourist sites during peak summer season.

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Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) has been around since the mid 1300s and used to be the only link over the Vltava river between the two sides of the city.

This is a major tourist site, so expect many souvenir pushers while walking across it, but there’s also some fantastic artists who set up on the bridge and it’s nice to watch them at work.

I’d recommend seeing the bridge both during the day and at night when it and the Castle district behind it are lit up.

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A short walk from Charles Bridge you’ll find the Lennon Wall. 

A symbol of peace today, during the 1980s it started as a place where Czech youth would display their views against the communist regime, often with Beatles lyrics and John Lennon quotes, hence the name.

When I was there it was largely covered in dedication to supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

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Exploring the other side of the river from where I was staying, I mainly took in the Castle District which is called appropriately so thanks to Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad).

The castle is where the President currently resides and its 9th century beginnings means it was also a place that has seen previous Kings and Emperors too.

It happened to be Independent Czechoslovak State Day, a public holiday commemorating the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and its independence from the Austo-Hungarian empire.

There was lots of flowers and celebrations around which made for a great atmosphere.

I found this part of the city, which is the highest point, fittingly had some lovely views too and was a welcome break from the more hectic area near Old Town.

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Shots from around or near the Castle district 

The declaration of independence for Czechoslovakia coincidentally was made at the Municipal House Hall (Obecni Dum) which I had seen earlier that day.

A beautiful example of art nouveau architecture, it was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century and can be found almost across the road from one of the main shopping centres in town Palladium.

Above the entrance there is an amazing mosaic which my pictures don’t remotely do justice to.

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If the idea doesn’t creep you out, consider visiting Kutná Hora to see Sedlec Ossuary, located an hour outside the city.

A UNESCO world heritage site, this small church is said to contain the bones of over 40,000 skeletons artistically displayed.

Having seen the Capuchin Crypt in Rome I imagine it’s kind of similar but I unfortunately didn’t make it out to see firsthand this time around.

Along the similar theme, the Old Jewish Cemetery (Stary zidovsky hrbitov) is worth considering a visit to.

If you don’t want to pay the entry fee (which I feel is pretty strange to charge, it’s a cemetery..) you can catch glimpses of it through the surrounding walls for free.

Created in the mid 1400s, the Jewish people living in this area were forbidden from burying their dead anywhere but in the ghetto to which they were restricted, which is why this cemetery is jam packed with tombstones as far as the eye can see.

What lies hidden underneath is graves upon graves too, some 12 people deep. One of the oldest burial sites in Europe, it is quite a remarkable site to witness, much like Prague itself.

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