Posted: 2/13/2023 | February Thirteenth, 2023
Prague is one in every of Europe’s hottest cities. Owing to its beautiful medieval structure, it has developed a fame as one of many continent’s must-see locations.
Sadly, its recognition means it will get packed throughout the summer time. In 2019, practically seven million vacationers descended on Prague, a metropolis of simply 1.3 million folks!!!! And the crowds have now returned post-COVID.
However, whereas Prague could also be battling overtourism, the town has rather a lot to supply intrepid (and repeat) guests who need to see one thing apart from the identical previous highlights.
For instance, do you know that a few hundred years in the past, a bunch of Czech architects determined to use Picasso’s Cubist model to structure and that scattered round Prague is a small handful of Cubist buildings, together with a Cubist café?
Or that there are always revolving, doorless elevators in Prague that you need to hop out and in of?
That will help you deepen your go to and get off the overwhelmed path, right here is my record of the perfect distinctive issues to do in Prague that can assist you see one thing completely different:
1. St. Jacob the Larger Church
The Church of St. Jacob the Larger will get neglected as a result of it sits within the shadow of Týn Cathedral on Outdated City Sq.. However, for the curious who do enterprise inside this Thirteenth-century basilica, if you happen to lookup simply inside the doorway, you’ll see an object hanging from a sequence.
It’s a withered hand on a meat hook.
Because the story goes, a thief tried to steal some priceless jewels from a statue of the Virgin Mary on the altar. As he laid his hand on the jewels, the statue reached out and grabbed him. And it will not let go.
Some parishioners — a lot of whom belonged to the Prague Butchers’ Guild — amputated the hand of the thief and Mary instantly dropped it. As a lesson (and warning) to potential future thieves, they hung the hand up within the church and, a number of centuries later, it’s nonetheless there.
In case you take a ghost strolling tour of Prague, you’ll cease right here to listen to all about this grizzly story.
Malá Štupartská 635. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-4pm. Admission is free.
2. Charles Sq.
One of many largest squares in Europe, Charles Sq. sits in New City (Nové Mesto). It was initially a cattle market the place additionally they bought fish, wheat, and charcoal. And, for one week a yr, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who made Prague the capital of the empire throughout his 14th-century reign, held an annual relics present right here (relics have been non secular objects of vital significance). Now, it’s a fantastic sq. few folks go to however is a good place to people-watch.
3. Bethlehem Chapel
Situated on a pleasing and intimate sq. in Outdated City (Staré Mesto), this was the place a person named Jan Hus preached to parishioners within the early fifteenth century — in Czech, not in Latin as was required on the time. This was thought-about radical. Hus was one of the charismatic preachers in Prague. He attacked the pomp and circumstance of the church and papacy, which he mentioned was designed to exclude commoners.
Make sure you word the simplicity and lack of icons. The structure was very a lot in step with Hus’s philosophy of how one ought to worship God.
Betlémské nám., bethlehemchapel.eu. Open each day 9am-6:30pm. Admission is free.
4. Vítkov Hill
Hike as much as this hill east of Outdated City and also you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful view. However there’s another excuse to go to: it’s topped by the world’s largest equestrian statue. The person on the horse is one-eyed Common Jan Žižka. After the pope had Jan Hus (talked about above) burned on the stake in 1415, folks like Žižka took up his trigger. He shaped a military, and shortly sufficient, warrior-crusaders representing the Pope have been marching into Bohemia (the western half of as we speak’s Czech Republic) to attempt to quash his reform-minded revolt. A few thousand of Žižka’s males defeated a military of Catholic crusaders — some say there have been 20,000 of them. The Hussites, as they referred to as themselves, have been finally defeated by the Catholics, however Žižka’s spirit stays on Vítkov Hill.
Prague is second solely to New Orleans in having the best variety of pubs per capita, and Žižkov has about 300 of them, the best density in Prague. Do your self a favor and go on a pub crawl right here.
5. Toddler of Prague
In case you’re a fan of non secular historical past, one non secular oddity value looking for out in Prague is a child doll on show contained in the Sixteenth-century Church of Our Girl Victorious within the Malá Strana neighborhood. The Toddler of Prague (usually referred to in Italian as Il Bambino di Praga) was delivered to the town by King Ferdinand in 1628.
Rampaging Swedish troopers — who went on a wild frenzy in Prague within the 1630s — threw the doll in a pile of trash and it was misplaced. That’s, till seven years later, when a priest was milling concerning the mountain of trash and heard a voice saying, “Psst. Psst. Have pity on me, and I’ll have pity on you. The extra you honor me, the extra I’ll bless you.” Ever since, the Toddler has been again in its chapel in Our Girl Victorious.
At present there’s a cult of worship of the Toddler of Prague in Catholic communities all around the world. In Eire, for instance, it’s notably auspicious for a soon-to-be bride to be given a miniature reproduction of the doll.
Karmelitská 9, pragjesu.cz. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:30am, Sunday 1pm-6pm. Admission is free.
6. Paternoster Elevator
Nicknamed “the Elevator of Dying,” the Paternoster is a sort of elevate that doesn’t have a door — and it doesn’t cease at flooring. There are a handful of them round city however the one that’s most simply accessible is in Prague Metropolis Corridor in Outdated City.
Head by means of the entrance doorways and stroll the lengthy hallway to the again of the constructing. There you’ll discover the slow-moving elevate. Bounce in (rigorously) and benefit from the experience. In case you don’t get off on the highest flooring, haven’t any worry: the elevator merely revolves in a loop, and shortly sufficient you’ll be going again down.
Prague New Metropolis Corridor, Mariánské nám. 2, praha.eu/jnp. Open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. Admission is free.
7. Petrín Tower
In 1889, a bunch from the Membership of Czech Vacationers went to Paris to see the World Exposition. They have been awestruck by the brand new Eiffel Tower so the impressed Czechs went again house and raised sufficient cash to erect the same tower on Petrín Hill, close to the middle of Prague.
Petrín Tower isn’t precisely a reproduction of the Eiffel Tower, however you may simply acknowledge that the tower was closely impressed by the Eiffel Tower. Guests as we speak can trudge up the 299 stairs to get a surprising view of Prague.
Petrínské sady 633. Open each day 10am-8pm. Admission is 150 CZK.
8. Different Prague Strolling Tour
I really like strolling excursions. They cowl loads of floor and might get you off the vacationer path with the assistance of an professional native information. This Different Prague strolling tour will introduce you to among the metropolis’s finest road artwork and illuminate what occurred throughout the Velvet Revolution in 1989. You’ll additionally go to a steampunk underground membership, discover hidden cafes, see secret neighborhood theaters, and even study an underground crypto-anarchist hacker institute!
If you wish to get a style of the varied distinctive communities and artists on the margins of Prague, this tour shouldn’t be missed.
Excursions final 3 hours and value 623 CZK per individual. You’ll be able to e book your tour right here.
9. Cubist Structure
Between 1911 and 1914, a small group of Czech architects determined to see what it will be like in the event that they utilized Cubism — normally present in work, akin to within the early-Twentieth-century work of Picasso — to structure. And so up went a couple of buildings which are lovely, odd, and putting. You’ll be able to stroll across the Vyšehrad neighborhood, about two miles south of Outdated City, and discover a few of these buildings.
One different centrally situated Cubist web site you must search out is on Jungmannovo námestí (Jungmann Sq.), simply off the underside of Václavské námestí (Wenceslas Sq.). It’s not solely probably the most lovely Cubist lamppost on the earth — it’s the solely Cubist lamppost on the earth.
To study extra concerning the Cubist model, you may take the Artwork Nouveau and Cubist Structure strolling tour. It’s 3 hours and covers all the primary highlights.
Ovocný trh 19, grandcafeorient.cz. Open each day 8am-10pm. Admission is free.
10. St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
On October 28, 1941, two Czech paratroopers who had been residing in exile in Nice Britain covertly parachuted into Prague beneath the duvet of night time. Their purpose was to assassinate prime Nazi official and head of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich. The key mission was referred to as Operation Anthropoid.
On Could 27, 1942, Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubiš ambushed Heydrich’s automobile, spraying Heydrich with a bathe of bullets. Heydrich died a couple of days later, the one prime Nazi official to be assassinated.
After that, the Nazis needed vengeance, so that they went on a manhunt round Prague. The paratroopers went into hiding within the crypt of the medieval-era Cathedral of St. Cyril and Methodius for 3 weeks. Sadly, somebody snitched on them, and shortly sufficient, the Germans had the church surrounded. However as soon as they lastly broke into the crypt, they discovered Gabcik and Kubiš useless from self-inflicted bullet wounds.
You’ll be able to go to this church as we speak and nonetheless see the Nazi bullet holes within the exterior partitions. You can too take a World Conflict II strolling tour that covers this story — and way more round Prague.
Resslova 9a, katedrala.data. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday 8am-2pm. Admission is free.
11. Prague Metronome
In case you’re crossing the Charles Bridge and look to the north up the Vltava River towards Letná Park, you may see a large metronome. As odd as it’s, it’s not as bizarre as among the different issues which were in that spot. For instance, in 1955, Communist authorities erected the world’s largest statue of Josef Stalin.
Stalin fell out of favor a couple of years later, and in 1962 the monument was blown up. In 1991, Prague erected the 75-foot functioning metronome in the identical place. Its designer, Czech sculptor Vratislav Karel Novák, envisioned the monument as representing “the relentless passing of time.” A plaque on the base of the construction reads, “In time, all issues cross.”
In case you go to the metronome within the warm-weather months as we speak, there’s an outside bar promoting beer and cocktails, typically a DJ is spinning tunes, and there’s all the time a gaggle of skaters hanging round.
Letná Park. Open 24 hours. Admission is free.
12. Day Journey to Bohemian Paradise Geopark
Bohemian Paradise Geopark is a UNESCO-listed panorama and residential to beautiful geological formations which are hundreds of thousands of years previous. The deep pine forests and rocky panorama have been well-liked with painters and artists for hundreds of years. There are additionally a handful of historic lodges and different buildings right here too, some that date to the Center Ages.
Only one hour away from Prague by automobile, day trippers can go to the park to soak up the attractive panorama, hike, see native people villages, and benefit from the surroundings away from the crowds of the town.
Excursions from Prague usually final 8 hours and embrace visits to native artisan retailers in addition to lunch in a small native restaurant within the park.
Day excursions from Prague value round 4,000 CZK. You’ll be able to e book your tour right here.
13. Žižkov TV Tower
This 700-foot tower was erected within the latter half of the Eighties, and there have been rumors that the Communists constructed it to dam out radio transmissions from the West. Locals have hated the construction since day one.
It wasn’t till Prague allowed well-known Czech artist David Cerny to put in ten large crawling black infants on the shaft of the construction that public opinion started to melt a bit. It’s value getting an up-close take a look at it. You can too get a fantastic vista of Prague if you happen to take the elevator as much as the viewing platform.
Mahlerovy sady 1, towerpark.cz. Open each day 8am-midnight. Admission is 300 CZK and you will get your ticket right here.
14. Sapa Praha
Prague has a big Vietnamese neighborhood. That’s as a result of, throughout the 41-year Communist interval, the Czechs took in loads of visiting Vietnamese alternate college students (Vietnam was additionally a Communist nation). That signifies that there are a plethora of (nice) Vietnamese eating places in Prague.
If you wish to dive in, the perfect place is known as Sapa, also called “Little Hanoi.” Even Anthony Bourdain made some extent to go to this huge market complicated when he filmed a TV episode in Prague. It has loads of low cost items on the market, however the true purpose to come back right here is to eat at one of many wonderful northern Vietnamese eating places.
Libušská 319/126, sapa-praha.cz. Open each day 8am-6pm. Admission is free.
15. Franz Kafka statue
Across the flip of the final century, the Prague-based Kafka Society held a contest for a brand new statue of Franz Kafka that might be erected within the heart of Prague (Kafka was born in Prague and was a serious contributor to Twentieth-century literature). Most of the entries have been comparable, that includes the German-speaking Jewish author standing on a pedestal. However Czech artist Jaroslava Rona did one thing extra artistic along with his entry: he had Kafka sitting on the shoulders of a headless man carrying a swimsuit, an allusion to his brief story “Description of a Battle.”
Not solely did Rona’s surrealist sculpture win the competitors, however the Kafka Society’s annual prize to writers can also be a small model of the statue. You’ll be able to see the unique on show within the Jewish Quarter, the place Dušni and Vezenská Streets meet.
Vezenská and Dušni Streets. Open 24 hours. Admission is free.
Prague is a magical vacation spot value taking the time to discover. Whereas the primary highlights are spectacular, to me, the town really involves life when you get off the vacationer path and expertise Prague’s much less visited, extra obscure sights.
Even if you happen to go to within the hectic summer time months, you’ll discover far fewer crowds at Prague’s offbeat sights, making certain a extra stress-free (and extra genuine) go to.
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