Historic Centre of Prague (Czechia)

We began exploring Prague with its most important and perhaps the most crowded place - Prague Castle, because, we were there on a weekday and we knew it would be all the more crowded in weekends!
The next thing we did in Prague was to explore the streets of Prague which is how we came across tons of crazy sculptures and public art. But apart from these, there were also some amazing historic buildings and street sculptures. The most important, ofcourse, the face of Prague, Charles Bridge (Karlův most)

First of all, who is Charles? Well, he's what Ashoka was to India, Lincoln was to America - the best leader the country has ever had! He was the first King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor who ruled from 1346-1378 CE. He did great things for the country and people! So, yes, several places including Universities and hotels in Czech are names after King Charles!

Charles Bridge was built in 1357-1402 CE under the reign of King Charles. The 30 sculptures of various saints and Gods were placed here from 1683 to 1928. In course of time, the oldest of these sculptures were moved to a safe place to protect them from nature and man! It was pretty cloudy when we went and this sculpture of statue of John of Nepomuk which is the oldest of the sculptures currently on the bridge. Made of bronze, its green & gold against the grey sky was just stunning!!! The other 2 sculptures atop? Keep it in mind, I'll tell you more about it in the next post.
At the either ends of this Bridge are the Lesser Town Bridge Tower and Old Town Bridge Tower. Both of these can be climbed for a great view of the bridge and whole of Prague, which we skipped though!

From there we walked to another symbol of Prague - the astronomical clock! Yes, it does get crowded as the clock strikes every hour and the to view how the clock functions from the interiors, a guided tour of the Old Town Hall needs to be taken. Check out my last post for complete details about this place. By the way, notice the Old Town Hall Tower in the picture inside my notebook? Read more about it here! That's one more place struck-off from this notebook of DDLJ!
From here we headed to the Church of our Lady of Týn (Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem). Originally this was built in Gothic architecture in 14th C CE, however the interiors are a very very rich Baroque work made in 17th C CE. Guess whose tomb I saw here? Astronomer Tycho Brahe's! His face was in the ceiling of Greenwich Painted Hall! The organ here is the oldest in Prague. It was just so so rich, perhaps the 'gold-est' church I've ever seen! Sadly, photography wasn't allowed inside, so pics of it here....

The next stop was the Old-New Synagogue. This is the oldest living Synagogue in whole of Europe! Yes, the name is indeed confusing! Well - it WAS the New Synagogue in 13th C CE when it was built. In course of time, as several other synagogues sprung up by 16th C CE, this was called Old - New Synagogue! 

The architecture is unusual with its medieval double nave (main section is one nave surrounded on all 3 sides by the 2nd nave for women) which is absent in later constructions. Don't miss the Baroque money box to the right as soon as you enter! 2 different things I heard about its function are - its for tax collection and its for donations for the synagogue which is supposedly to be done discreetly not seen by anyone! I'm unsure which is or if both are true!!! All the stunning chandeliers and the brass brackets here belong to the 15th - 16th C CE. Apart from this there is the Mitzvah and Jerusalem Synagogue which we missed. 

Though, this is the main region of Prague, another very important region with more historical significance is Vysehrad. This is kind-of the birth place of Prague itself and it was where the royal seat was, once upon a time! Today its is a castle as well, just like Prague castle, but so much more quiet, peaceful, quaint and picturesque! Its located south of Prague city and requires a 20 min Tram ride. We set aside a bit more than half a day for this and with whatever we missed, this place is worth an entire day's visit. 
From here, we could see the very long fortification wall that ran all over Prague! However this doesn't serve any military purpose. This is called the Hunger wall! If Roosevelt got people to make roads during depression, emperor Charles IV, got this wall built by people, just to provide them with wages, so they can eat! That's why its also called 'built for bread'!

Finally we set-off back towards the Hotel Kinsky Garden where Petrin Hill is situated. After seeing quite a few views from atop Prague Castle, Vysehrad etc, I was wondering if yet another view from atop is worth it! But guess what? Seeing, Prague the background with the Funicular Railway line in the foreground is so definitely worth it. 

The best part - Funicular ride doesn't require any special ticket. Its a part of the public transport system and is included in all public transport passes! There are quite a few places to see atop here including a miniature Eiffel tower (Petrin Observation Tower), a Mirror maze, a beer brewed by a monastery etc, but with the lack of time, we didn't get to explore these.
This entire space, encompassing Prague castle in the north to Vysehrad in the south, is all listed together under UNESCO as the Historical Centre of Prague! Have you seen the entire list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this blog?

To Stay: 
Hotel at all price points are available in Prague. 
Check out my review of Hotel Kinsky Garden where I stayed.

To Get There:
Refer to my earlier posts from Prague Castle, Old Town Hall & Astronomical clock and Vysehrad.
All sites can be reached by Prague public transport system incl metro, buses, trams and funicular rail. There is a very useful 72hrs Public Transport ticket for 310CZK, which can be bought at any of the ticket vending machines incl. airport.

Entry Tickets & Timings:
Lesser Town Bridge Tower: 10AM - 6/8/10PM
Old Town Bridge Tower: 10AM - 6/8/10PM
Old-New Synagogue: CZK 200; Sun-Thu: 9AM to 5/6PM; Fri: 9AM to 3AM. Closed on Sat;
Mitzvah: 50 CZK; Sun-Fri: 1PM - 1:30PM accessible only with guided tour
Petrin Hill Funicular: 9AM - 11:20PM with trains every 10/15mins in summer/winter respectively. Closure: Mar 4-15 & Oct 7-25

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

13 comments:

  1. Carrie Ann KarstunenMarch 8, 2019 at 7:29 PM

    So much interesting information about Prague in this post! I had never heard of the Hunger Wall. It's fascinating that such a progressive program existed there so long ago. The architecture in Prague is so beautiful, and I can't wait to see it for myself. Thanks for such an informative guide!

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  2. Maybe next time you can try climbing to the top Lesser Town Bridge Tower. I think the climb to the tower is not that hard as the tower isn't very high.

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  3. Prague is such a beautiful city, lovely photos that you have shared. I went in 1989 and loved it, though I was lucky, it wasn't at all crowded then. I want to go back but am worried those crowds will spoil some of my memories.

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  4. Ahh Prague- I spent an amazing year in this lovely city. This article and your pictures reminded me of how much I love this city! Nowadays it's becoming more and more touristy but I would still want to go back again someday

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  5. Jane Dempster-SmithMarch 10, 2019 at 2:50 AM

    Prague is such an interesting city to visit. Thanks for sharing so much information. Charles Bridge is very busy during the day, we found the best time to see it was at sunrise.

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  6. Ah, Prague, I so love this city! It's one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. My favorite part of the historic center is Charles Bridge. No matter what time of the year you go there, you'll find it attractive. I like that you provided a little insight about King Charle IV, the Holy Roman Emperor after which the bridge was named

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  7. I love Prague! Unfortunately I missed the Church of the Lady of Tyn, which sounds really fascinating. So I guess I need a return trip. I also loved the St. Charles bridge, but never knew who Charles was. So I loved learning more about the impact he had on Prague.

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  8. I last visited Prague 20 years ago. At the time, while it was somewhat popular with European travelers, internationally it was not all that famous. Things sure have changed since. I remember walking through the city and being amazed by the architecture, and that we got a nice and spacious hotel to stay close to the center. Some day I hope to return and rediscover the city.

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  9. UGH I wish that I could go to Prague tomorrow. I can't wait until next summer when I have time to go!

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  10. I guess Prague have a glorious days during the Golden era. I'm feeling jealous you are exploring this beautiful city!

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  11. Prague is my favorite place due to its many historic attractions. The city centre has many wonderful things but never knew the greatness of King Charles before reading your post. I too agree the views from Petrin Hills are amazing and also seeing Prague's famous astronomical clock. Thanks for sharing many details which were unknown to me.

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  12. What an incredible trip full of history and culture. It is interesting how the religious diversity is reflected by the variety of places of worship. I never would've guessed that such an old synagogue would be here in Prague, but I would absolutely have to check that out if I get the chance to visit someday!

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