Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Prague in 100 hours

by Bea Wilkinson

Prague
(source: freefoto.com)
Over the Jubilee weekend, I travelled to the Czech Republic with my family to experience the cultural capital city, Prague. We stayed in a hotel adjacent to Wenceslas Square - the heart of Prague. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia, made famous for his role in the popular Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’, and, in the centre, stands a statue of Wenceslas himself, the prince sitting astride a horse flanked by other Czech patrons, overlooking events in this central area of Prague.

My dad, armed with a tourist’s guide of the ‘Top 10 Things To Do In Prague’, set out to navigate the city, leading us through Prague and directing us to all the landmarks.

Astrological Clock Tower, Prague
(source: dontparty.co.za)
We began with the clock tower, situated in the Old Town Square, a five-minute walk from Wenceslas Square (Prague is a compact city). The clock’s face not only tells the current time, but relates the movement of the planets around earth and the sun and moon through signs of the zodiac. Every hour, people gather around to witness the clockwork figures moving and the trumpet playing from the top of the tower to celebrate each passing hour. 

After this spectacle, we settled down to enjoy our first lunch in Prague. We found a restaurant which had a terraced roof – perfect for appreciating the 26-degree sunshine whilst taking in the amazing view.

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
(source: Wikipedia)

St Vitus’s Cathedral was our next stop and another place which I am glad I visited. I immediately noticed the overwhelmingly vast and colourful stained glass windows, which illuminated the cathedral in bright blues, pinks and oranges. The combination of architectural styles took over 600 years to complete. It is also the final resting place of Saint Wenceslas.


Walking through the streets of Prague, it is difficult to miss the numerous signs and advertisements for classical music concerts, all held in churches, cathedrals and other grand halls such as Prague’s Estates Theatre. Many famous composers are associated with Prague, including Gustav Meyrink and also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This is evident in the clear interest in music and performances that the Czech people display.

Although Prague is extremely cultured, and inundated with beautiful art, music, literature and architecture, it is quickly becoming modernised. This modernisation does not come at a cost to the history, however. After figuring out the tram schedule and travelling to the other side of the city, we discovered that the New Town is well equipped with many popular shops and other services at cheap prices. After a quick ride on the metro, some well-deserved shopping was underway.

Overall, Prague is a stunning city and undeniably worth a visit. The equilibrium between the stimulating history, striking buildings and the attractive new shops and restaurants, combined with the friendly, calm atmosphere resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday.

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