Prague

Prague by CC user Christopher Woo on FlickrIntroduction

Home to some of the most epic architecture in all of Europe, Prague has quickly become a staple on the travel circuit following the fall of Communism in the late 1980’s.

Massive castles, deliciously designed cathedrals and other standards of cultural tourism are all available in abundance here, making the capital of the Czech Republic a must visit on your cross continent Euro Trip.

St. Vitus Cathedral by CC user Jandy Stone on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Begin your time in this prominent Central European city by exploring Prague Castle. Built in the 9th century, it still serves as the home for the Czech Republic’s head of state, as the president of this country lives in a portion of this complex.

Most of the time though, tourists can tour the majority of this complex, which is cavernous in size (the Guinness World Book of Records has certified this keep as the largest castle of ancient origin still in existence).

Within its walls lie four churches, four palaces, three halls, and an adjunct of the national gallery, making it necessary to block off a whole day or more in order to see this behemoth properly.

One of the most distinctive churches within Prague’s walls is St. Vitus Cathedral, which is a stunning Gothic structure that is easily the biggest cathedral in the entire country.

This scared place is the final resting place of many Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian Kings, and it has been at the centre of major religious activities in the region since its construction in the 10th century.

Aside from the tombs, the cathedral’s soaring ceilings, stained glass windows, and mosaics will impress those that are fans of exceptionally designed Christian churches.

Those wanting to discover the work of the Czech Republic’s finest artists will want to spend some time discovering the various museums that comprise the National Gallery in Prague.

As mentioned earlier, a branch of the National Gallery sits within the walls of Prague Castle (which contains Bohemian influenced Baroque and Mannerism art ), but those seeking out more modern pieces will have a much better time exploring the halls of Veletržní Palác.

The creations of Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh can be found here in addition to the work of lesser known but talented Czech artists, which a fact that will please hardcore fans of high art.

Charles Bridge by CC user romanboed on Flickr

Other Attractions

Photographers looking to capture of Prague’s most evocative scenes will want to head to Charles Bridge in the early morning hours, as this iconic span captures an image of the Old Town that has graced the screens of countless computers around the world for many years.

Built in the 14th century and named after the Czech monarch (Charles IV) that ordered its construction, its Gothic style bridge tower and 30+ statues that line its length will delight all that cross it, irregardless of their interest in photography.

No matter how much time you plan on spending in Prague, make certain you spend some time in the Old Town Square, as there are many points of interest that lie within its bounds.

The most significant of these is the astronomic clock, which dates from medieval times and is the third oldest timepiece of its kind in the world.

Kinský Palace hosts yet another branch of the National Gallery, while numerous statues memorialize martyrs that died for challenging the prevailing beliefs of the church or the Habsburg monarchy many centuries ago.

Finally, those looking to explore an ancient fort that contain Prague’s oldest surviving building at present will want to swing by Vyšehrad before heading onward to their next destination.

Widely rumored (but not substantiated) to be where Prague was founded over a milennia ago, it served as the home of the region’s monarch until Prince Sobeslav decided to move his headquarters to Prague Castle in the 12th century.

In modern times, it has become a gathering place for locals on weekends and holidays … definitely come here on New Year’s Eve, as this place is home to quite the party on the rowdiest night of the year.