Admire the churches, be in awe of the cathedrals, explore the castles, love the people – and let the Czech capital be an inspiration.
With some cities, you make a bee-line straight for the top museums and galleries. With Prague, the city is the top museum and gallery. The world is a better place for Prague's towering Cathedrals, grand Gothic churches, opulent palaces and streets paved with architectural gold.
You might come to Prague for its glimmering architectural wonders, but expect to take a little piece of Czech soul away with you. As Prague author Kafka said, “Mother Prague has sharp little claws.”
You’ll start to feel those claws as you as soon as you enter the Old Town. Its dense mosaic of medieval streets and alleys is never less than charming, and is often awe-inspiring. Especially when you step out into the Staromestske Namesti (The Old Town Square). The Baroque St.Nicholas Church makes a delicate white-clad stab up, at its western end. To the east, the Tyn Church throws dark spikes skywards from two tall towers.
Turn the corner, and you'll find a piece of pure Czech genius adorning the Old Town Hall – the Prazsky Orloj, or Prague Astronomical Clock. Not only does it keeps track of the Zodiac, while putting on an hourly mechanical procession, it can also tell the time in three different ways. Head to the river and you'll find genius with a more modern take.
The Dancing House (or Tancici Dum) could be an architect's joke – who'd want to put a pair of warped glass-fronted modernistic towers in a World Heritage site – but it's a joke clever enough to work. If you'd rather have it grand, than playful, the six-centuries old Charles Bridge (or Karlus Most) will carry you elegantly across the Vltava river.
Up on the west-bank hill, overlooking both the Old and New Towns, is the Prague Castle (or Prazsky Hrad). This complex is more a set of palatial buildings – Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and more – than a castle. Enclosed by the Castle is St. Vitus Cathedral – home to Bohemia's national treasures and saintly bones.
There's a more contemplative side to Prague back across the river in the Jewish Quarter. Prague had the largest Jewish community in Europe, before persecution drove them away. The Old Jewish Cemetery is a sobering reminder of a community with defiance in its bones. Just like the Prague citizens who gathered in Wenceslas Square to demand freedom in 1989 resulting in the Velvet Revolution.