The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, is, by rights, considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You can visit Prague any time of the year, and each season adds a flavour of its own to the already spectacular city. You need more than a lifetime to discover it thoroughly and it will always save yet another undiscovered surprise to the insatiable visitor. It is sheer bliss to walk around the streets of Old Prague and New Prague and never get tired of it.
Probably one of the best-known symbols of Prague is the astronomic clock placed on the Southern wall of the City Hall and it is one of the most fascinating pieces of its kind if we keep in mind that it was built in the 15th century: it shows the hours – each hour of the day is marked by a statue of each of the Twelve Apostles that appears when the hour changes, the months and the position of the Sun and Moon on the sky and later on, in the 1800s, another watchmaker, Josef Manes, added the symbols of the 12 horoscope signs to the original mechanism. There is a tragic legend that accompanies this masterpiece: it is said that Master Hanus, the watchmaker who created the clock, was blinded by the local officials so that he won’t reproduce this technical wonder elsewhere. Despite this, he managed to recreate it and afterwards he threw himself off the top of the mechanism and died. But his clock is still working perfectly.
Another spectacular piece of architecture is Saint Vitius Cathedral, part of the Prague Castle, and it defies the overall elegance of the city with its French Gothic style. It is the largest church in the country as it incorporates several chapels and tombs of the kings and queens of Bohemia, and Catholic saints, turning it into a pilgrimage spot. Visitors are allowed to climb the 287 steps to the top of the bell tower and admire the breathtaking panorama of Prague.
The Prague Castle is the world’s best preserved and widest Medieval complex, but it is not a castle in its general meaning, as the construction plan is designed horizontally, instead of vertically. Besides, several edifices have different architectural styles. The surrounding quarter of this perimeter is named Hradcany and is crossed by the Vltava River.
Outside the complex the visitor can indulge in buying souvenirs from one of the many booths across the Golden Street and visit Saint George Basilica, the Art Museum and the Mihulka Tower, where, long ago, it was the quarter of Alchemists who had been constantly working to discover the secret formula that could transform all metals into gold.
Another spectacular site is the Karluv Bridge, a Baroque monument whose construction lasted for about 45 years and it was made at the King’s order. It was built in the 13th century by King Karluv the Fourth and it crosses the Danube River. It is probably one of the most popular touristic sites in Prague, as it is always filled with musicians that offer the visitors a free performance throughout the day.
The Dancing House – formerly known as “Fred and Ginger” (the nickname of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), as it was said that it resembles a dancing couple – is a marvelous piece of modern architecture that defies the law of gravity and all the rules of classic architecture and was finished in 1996. It had become so popular that they printed a coin with its symbol. Despite its eccentric appearance, it fits perfectly into the rest of the ensemble.
Prague is the city of never-ending reconstruction, in order to preserve all the buildings whose continuity represents the fuel of national identity and tourism and the pride of its inhabitants, but that will not upset the guests too much, as there are plenty of sights that you can see and enjoy their spectacular beauty.