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This stunning Czech city is hands down one of Europe’s hottest destinations. Prague suffered little damage during the World Wars. After years behind the Iron Curtain, Prague's grand green spaces, soaring cathedrals, ancestral city squares and miles of cobblestone streets largely survive to this day. Here are some magical spots that earn Prague its name — the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’.
Prague’s castle is the largest ancient castle in the world! Its walls protect two cathedrals, a monastery, several palaces and countless other buildings. The president of the Czech Republic resides here, and the castle is protected by its very own Castle Guard. Don't miss a Changing the Guard ceremony, which takes place in the first courtyard of Prague Castle at noon daily. You'll see a formal handover carried out with a fanfare and banner exchange. The sentries at the gates of the medieval castle are changed every hour from 7am.
The magnificent Saint Vitus Cathedral sits inside in the protective walls of Prague Castle for a good reason: Treasure — and lots of it! The precious relics are kept in a part of the cathedral called the Chapel of Saint Wenceslas, an ancient vault adorned with thousands of precious stones and gold framed masterpieces. Perhaps the most valuable of all the treasures hidden here are the Bohemian Crown Jewels: a crown, sceptre, sword and orb all made of gold and packed with precious sapphires, emeralds and rubies. As they say, if you have to ask the price...
A must for any visit to Prague is an amble over the graceful Charles Bridge. The 621 metre span was completed in 1402, making it a real feat of engineering at the time. Now pedestrianised, the bridge is characterised by its cobblestone covered deck and no less than 30 statues of saints which line her sides. Charles Bridge is often voted amongst the most beautiful bridges in the world.
Not far from the castle is one of the most peculiar streets you'll come across, Golden Lane. Built along the lane a series of brightly painted miniature houses. Believe it or not, but these houses are actually the second lot built here, the houses here before were even smaller! It's believed goldsmiths and alchemists used to live, work and play here. A fantastic photo spot, especially in the right light.
Like most European cities, Prague has an Old Town. It sits on southern shores of the Vltava River and is thought to date back to the 9th century. The oldest remaining building here is the Old Town Hall, now one of Prague’s most recognised buildings that dates back to 1338. But it doesn’t end there, Prague has a second old town just across the river! Well actually, it’s called New Town, but it was founded only 10 years after Old Town and is full of yet more historic old buildings.
Prague has a long and interesting history, best discovered in the city’s many museums and galleries. The National Gallery is split up over several locations, but its three premises in the Old Town and Castle District all feature paintings by Picasso, Monet, van Gogh and Renoir to name a few. The beautifully ornate National Museum is a sight in itself, but also house millions of artefacts and details the complete history of Prague and the Czech Republic. As if that were not evidence enough, you’ll even find the world’s oldest working astronomical clock in Old Town, still ticking away after 600 years of service.
Dotted throughout Prague are dozens of beautiful town squares. Lesser Town Square is lined with gorgeous buildings of pastel blue, pink and yellow. Old Town Square hosts soaring church spires and clock towers. And the vast Wenceslas Square was the focal point of the Velvet Revolution where hundreds of thousands of Czech peacefully overthrew the old communist regime. The squares are still busy today, hosting markets, festivals and concerts.
Thankfully Prague’s early residents weren’t just set on building wonderful stone buildings, there was certainly a few green thumbs in the city. The Palace Gardens are nestled under the walls of the castle and feature beautiful fountains, winding staircases, plenty of blossoming trees and even a number of peacocks. Petrin Hill is another beautiful park and has a house of mirrors, ancient chapel and even a replica of the Eiffel Tower providing breathtaking views over the city.
Prague’s boulevards and avenues are lined with grandiose mansions and palaces. The monarchy is gone today, but in days past many of Europe’s royal families lived in and visited these palaces. Today you can have that very same privilege by having your House of Travel consultant book you into one of the palaces that have since been converted to hotels. Imagine waking in your luxurious room, perhaps overlooking the river or quiet town square, dine in banquet halls decorated with rich frescoes on every inch of the walls and ceilings, and walk the red carpet spilling out the main doors and down the steps to your waiting transport, perhaps a horse drawn carriage taking you on a tour of the city.
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