Prague is one of those mythical fairy tale like cities that one could get lost in. The architecture alone has fantastic statues carved into foundations, glass windows decorated in the art nouveau style, and whimsical doors leading to romantic courtyards. We enjoyed so much of the city, around every corner there is a performance of some sort or art gallery featuring new creative talents. It is quite inspiring to be in a city that has so much visual and performance art everywhere. Here are some of the sights we visited, hope you enjoy and are able to visit this lovely city as well one day.
Around the town
The Dancing House
This non-traditional design is different from other buildings in Prague, but seems to fit in seamlessly amongst other more classical facades on the same street. Finished in 1996, the building has garnered some negative and positive reviews from the city inhabitants due to its abstract architecture. Visitors can take pictures from the street, but if you would like to go inside to the roof and look out at the river and hills, I believe there is a small fee.
The Clock Tower
You will find this wonderfully old astronomical clock in the old city square. The first one was created in the early 1400’s, and is the oldest in the world still working. Every hour, crowds assemble around the base of the clock with camera lenses pointing up to the animated display of figures as the bells chime. The design of the clock and the figurines is quite charming and kids and adults alike take pleasure in observing one of Prague’s iconic sites.
This pedestrian-only bridge used to transport vehicles (and before that horses), but after many wars and natural disasters it is not allowed. The bridge crosses over the Vlatva river, and the view from the dark bridge is breathtaking. Lots of merchants with small booths are set up selling handmade jewelry, paintings and other cute trinkets. As you walk along the bridge, take a moment to observe all of the religious statues of saints and patron sants. Charles Bridge first started construction in 1357, and because of its age, it is very dark and gothic looking. This tourist site is also a great place to take scenic photos of the city, including Prague Castle.
Alfons Mucha Museum (1860-1939)
Born in Moravia, now the Czech Republic, Alfons Mucha is best known for his dreamlike pastel paintings and posters in the Art Nouveau style. Although his posters for the likes of Sarah Bernhardt and other commissioned works was his income, he considered his life’s work to be The Slav Epic. These masterpieces are 20 huge paintings showing Slavic peoples history. Unfortunately, in 1939 Mucha was arrested by the Gestapo. He was eventually released but became severely ill and died shortly thereafter.
The museum itself is located in the center of Prague and is easy to locate. The admission is only 240 Czech Crown and is open everyday from 10-6pm. There is no photography permitted inside, hence the only photo is of the outside window. Angelo and I were blown away from the amount of detail in Mucha’s artwork. There is a short video in the back of the museum which is informative and helped us understand and appreciate the collection even more.
For more information, please visit mucha.cz
There is so much to see inside the castle, however I am going to keep this relatively short. Inside the castle walls there is the grand Cathedral of St. Vitus which has breathtaking stained glass windows including one on the north end by Mucha. The cathedral is another great example of Roman Catholic gothic architecture. We also visited a smaller church named the Basilica of St. George. This basilica pre dates St. Vitus Cathedral, it is smaller and more intimate. The inside of the church is sienna hued and has natural light from high windows along the side walls. Further along the castle there lies a arms tower which houses an extensive display of armor, shields and weapons. I especially enjoyed a place called Golden Lane which is a small street of tiny colorful houses. Artisans used to occupy these dwellings, but now it is home to some merchant shops and some have been decorated to show how it once was furnished. We also visited the palace where royalty lived, but it was bare and underwhelming.
St. Nicholas Church
We got lucky to score some tickets to an evening concert at this Baroque church. The program was for organ and violin and showcased the works of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. Speaking of Mozart I found out later that the great composer played the organ at this church in 1787 and his masterpiece Mass in C was first performed here. We did not see the performers as they were behind on the balcony where the organ is. So as you are listening to the music you can look at the gorgeous frescoes or large sculptures of saints on the walls. I loved the concert as the acoustics were great and the musicians are very talented. But to be honest, Angelo got a bit bored. I wouldn’t suggest a concert like this unless you really appreciate classical music.
I have always wanted to visit my favorite composers and musicians who have inspired me. I feel like going to their graves and giving some flowers is a simple gesture that shows they still live on – thru their music. Vysehrad cemetery sits on top of a hill in Prague, and as we walked to the cemetery, the Basilica church bells played music from composers who are laid to rest there! We visited two great composers, Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) and Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884). Both are great Czech composers and contributed greatly to classical music.