Národní divadlo, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
To our left is Most Legií, a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and connects the city center with the Smíchov district. It's one of the many iconic bridges in Prague and is known for its stunning architectural design and picturesque views of the river and the city.
The bridge was originally built between 1901 and 1908 and was named to honor the Czechoslovak legions who fought in World War I. It features Art Nouveau and Baroque Revival architectural elements, making it a unique and beautiful landmark in the city.
Most Legií is an important transportation route in Prague, connecting the historical and cultural center of the city with the area around the National Theatre and the Prague Castle complex. Its central location means it's often used by both pedestrians and vehicles.
Follow your navigation as we will continue on Narodni Avenue, also known as National Avenue.
Národní has played a significant role in the history of Czechoslovakia, particularly during the events of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The Velvet Revolution was a non-violent uprising that led to the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia. The street was a site of large-scale protests and demonstrations during this period, which eventually led to the downfall of the communist government.
Národní is also an important commercial and cultural hub in Prague. The street is lined with various shops, restaurants, theaters, and other establishments. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering a mix of historical architecture and modern amenities. The avenue is also home to several important theaters and cultural institutions. The National Theatre, (Národní divadlo), is one of the most famous and prestigious theaters in Prague and is located near Národní třída. It hosts a wide range of performances, including opera, drama, and ballet. The street is known for its stunning architecture, with buildings that reflect various architectural styles from different periods in Prague's history. The National Theatre itself is a prominent example of neo-Renaissance architecture.
We will be passing by the Franz Kafka Rotating Head, a notable sculpture created by Czech artist David Černý, and is one of the several sculptures and murals dedicated to Franz Kafka in Prague.
The sculpture is a kinetic artwork that features two large mirrored busts of Franz Kafka, each connected to a mechanical system that causes them to rotate and twist independently. This creates a mesmerizing and surreal visual effect, as if Kafka's head is constantly morphing and transforming.
The installation captures the essence of Kafka's writing, which often delved into themes of existentialism, metamorphosis, and the absurdity of human existence. The ever-changing and distorted nature of the rotating heads reflects Kafka's exploration of the complexities of the human psyche and the elusive nature of reality.
Palackého 43, Nové Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Wenceslas Square to your right is one of the most prominent and historic public squares in Prague. Despite its name, it is more of a boulevard or long rectangular plaza than a traditional square.
Wenceslas Square has played a significant role in the history of Prague and the Czech Republic. It has been a site of many important events, demonstrations, and celebrations throughout the centuries. The square is located in the New Town of Prague, just a short walk from the Old Town Square. It is a central hub for both locals and tourists, surrounded by shops, restaurants, hotels, and cultural attractions.
The square is dominated by a statue of Saint Wenceslas riding a horse. Saint Wenceslas, or Svatý Václav in Czech, is the patron saint of Bohemia and a symbol of Czech statehood. The statue is a popular meeting point and a landmark in the city.
At the top of Wenceslas Square, you'll find the grand National Museum, (Národní museum) building. This neo-Renaissance structure houses extensive collections of art, history, and natural science exhibits. It's an iconic symbol of Czech culture and heritage.
Now is a good time to tell you about some of the cuisine unique to Prague, as we will be passing many places to get a bite to eat. Perhaps the most well known is goulash, a hearty and flavorful stew made with tender chunks of beef, pork, or sometimes game meat, cooked with onions, paprika, and other spices. It's often served with bread dumplings or potato pancakes.
Czech cuisine features a variety of hearty soups, such as kulajda (a creamy potato and mushroom soup with a poached egg) and bramborová (potato soup). Another favorite is dršťková, a tripe soup that might be an acquired taste for some.
Later we will discuss the significance beer plays as part of the culture here, so what food is helpful for the occasional hangover? Utopenci, which translates to "drowned men," are pickled sausages or sausages in vinegar, onion, and chili. They are often enjoyed as a savory snack with beer in pubs.
Lastly, consider giving trdelník a try. Also known as chimney cake, it is a popular Czech pastry made by wrapping dough around a cylindrical mold, grilling it over an open flame, and then rolling it in a mixture of sugar and nuts. It's a sweet and indulgent treat often enjoyed as street food.
Na Příkopě 388, Můstek, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
We will be approaching on our left The Stavovské divadlo, also known as the Estates Theatre. It is a historic theater located here in Prague that holds significant cultural importance and is one of the most iconic theaters in the city.
The Estates Theatre was founded in the late 18th century and officially opened its doors on September 21, 1783. It was commissioned by Count František Antonín Nostitz Rieneck and built in a Neoclassical style. The theater was designed by Anton Haffenecker and built by architect Josef Heger.
The theater features a distinctive Neoclassical façade adorned with statues and reliefs. The interior is equally impressive, with elegant decorations, ornate chandeliers, and opulent design elements.
The Estates Theatre is famously known for hosting the world premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni" on October 29, 1787. The opera's success at this theater contributed to its lasting reputation.
Coming up ahead is Prasna Brana, otherwise known as The Powder Tower. It is one of the original city gates that once served as a part of the defensive fortifications of the Old Town. The tower is one of the most well-preserved and significant remnants of the medieval fortifications in Prague. The name is derived from the 17th century when the tower was used to store gunpowder. During this time, its role as a defensive structure diminished, and it was repurposed for safer storage of gunpowder, hence the name.
The Powder Tower was built in the late 15th century, under the reign of King Vladislav II. It was originally named the "New Tower" to distinguish it from the Old Town Bridge Tower on the other side of the city.
The Powder Tower is situated at the beginning of the historic Royal Route, a path that Czech kings would take for their coronation processions. The Royal Route led through the Old Town to Prague Castle, symbolizing the connection between the Old Town and the seat of power. The tower is a beautiful example of Gothic and Late Gothic architecture. It features a distinctive design with a tall central spire and ornate decorations.
Celetná 569/34, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Now that we’ve glanced up, and then walked under the tower, let’s make our way to one of the most recognizable structures in the city, and more eye candy for the soul. The Church of Our Lady before Týn, is a Gothic church that dates back to the 14th century. It has played a significant role in the history of Prague and the Czech Republic. This iconic church is a prominent landmark located here in the Old Town of Prague.
The church features a distinctive twin-tower façade, which has made it one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in Prague. The towers are of different heights, adding to the unique visual appeal of the church.
The interior of the Church of Our Lady before Týn is equally impressive, featuring intricate Gothic architecture, vaulted ceilings, and stunning altarpieces. The main altar is particularly noteworthy, as it is adorned with sculptures and intricate detailing.
Adjacent to the church is the Týn Courtyard, a small square with a tranquil atmosphere. The courtyard offers a quieter space away from the bustling Old Town Square.
The church has been the final resting place for several notable historical figures, including the astronomer Tycho Brahe, who lived and worked in Prague. Brahe created detailed mathematical tables that astronomers used for centuries. He also was known to buck the norm, and kept a pet Elk. See what we did there? More on the Church.
The Church of Our Lady before Týn has served as an important religious and cultural center in Prague. It has been a place of worship, a symbol of the city's heritage, and a site for various events and ceremonies.
Due to its central location and architectural grandeur, the church is a popular destination for tourists visiting Prague. Its towers also offer panoramic views of the city, making it a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.
Visitors can explore the interior of the church, attend Mass services, and also take guided tours to learn more about the history and significance of the church.
Staroměstské nám. 1/3, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Up ahead is yet another iconic spectacle, the Astronomical Tower, which offers panoramic views of Prague. The tower houses the Prague Astronomical Clock and is accessible to visitors who wish to climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the city. It was installed on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall in 1410, making it one of the oldest functioning astronomical clocks in the world.
One of the most captivating features of the clock is the hourly show known as the "Walk of the Apostles." At the top of each hour, a procession of wooden figures representing the twelve apostles emerges from two windows above the clock dial. Another unique feature is the figure of Death, which rings a bell at the beginning of each hour. This motif serves as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death.
We will also pass through Staroměstské náměstí, also known as the Old Town Square, which has been a focal point of Prague's history for centuries. It has witnessed many historical events, including political gatherings, executions, and celebrations. The square's architecture reflects different eras, from medieval Gothic to Baroque styles.
The statue you will see, situated in the center of the square, commemorates Jan Hus, a Czech religious reformer and philosopher who was a precursor to the Protestant Reformation. The monument serves as a symbol of Czech national pride and resistance.
We will be heading north on Parizka, and making our way to the next destination on our tour today, The Jewish Quarter.
Pařížská 131/28, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
We are now making our way to the Jewish Quarter, known as Josefov, a historic and culturally significant neighborhood that holds a rich and complex history. It is one of the most well-preserved Jewish quarters in Europe and offers a glimpse into the centuries-old Jewish heritage of Prague.
The Jewish Quarter has its origins in the 13th century when Jews in Prague were ordered to leave their homes and settle in a designated area. Over time, the quarter became densely populated and a center of Jewish life in the city.
Josefov is home to several historic synagogues, each with its own unique architectural style and significance. The most famous synagogues include the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Europe. It was completed in 1270 during the reign of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. The Old-New Synagogue is a prime example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Its exterior is characterized by simple and austere design, while the interior features elements of both styles. The building's layout includes a rectangular main hall with a high ceiling supported by massive wooden beams. The women's gallery is located on the southern side, and the Torah ark is positioned on the eastern wall. The synagogue's most distinctive feature is its double-nave design, which means that there are two parallel naves separated by rows of columns. This architectural choice is unique and sets the Old-New Synagogue apart from others.
The Old-New Synagogue is surrounded by various legends and myths. One of the most famous legends involves the construction of the synagogue's attic. According to the legend, the attic was built with stones from the Second Temple in Jerusalem, brought to Prague by angels. This belief reflects the synagogue's spiritual and historical importance to the Jewish community.
Other places of worship in the quarter include the Spanish Synagogue, known for its stunning Moorish Revival architecture; and the Pinkas Synagogue, which now serves as a Holocaust memorial with inscriptions of the names of Czech Holocaust victims.
The Jewish Cemetery on the north end of the quarter is a poignant and atmospheric site with thousands of gravestones stacked on top of each other due to limited space. It is a powerful reminder of the long history and contributions of Prague's Jewish community.
Another structure dedicated to one of Prague's most famous figures, is situated near the Spanish Synagogue. The Franz Kafka Monument pays homage to the famous Czech writer who was born in Prague and had Jewish heritage. This was his birthplace and boyhood home. Across the street is The World of Franz Kafka museum, dedicated to his life and legacy.
Nám. Franze Kafky 17/7, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Coming ahead is the Klementinum, which holds significant cultural and architectural importance and has served various purposes throughout its history.
The Klementinum's origins date back to the 16th century. It was founded by the Jesuits, an influential Catholic religious order, and was initially established as a Jesuit college. The complex expanded over the centuries and became one of the most significant centers of education and scholarship in Central Europe.
The Klementinum is renowned for its stunning Baroque and Gothic architecture. The complex includes a mix of buildings, courtyards, and gardens, showcasing various architectural styles. The Klementinum's structures are characterized by ornate facades, decorative elements, and intricate details that reflect the artistic sensibilities of their respective eras.
The Klementinum is home to the National Library of the Czech Republic, which holds an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, maps, and other cultural artifacts. The library's historical Baroque Library Hall is particularly famous for its opulent design, including ornate bookcases, frescoes, and stucco decorations.
The Klementinum also serves as a venue for various cultural events, including classical music concerts and exhibitions. The Mirror Chapel, located within the complex, is a popular venue for musical performances due to its exceptional acoustics and elegant design.
Today, the Klementinum is a popular tourist destination in Prague, attracting visitors who are interested in its rich history, architecture, and cultural significance. Guided tours are available to explore the various parts of the complex, including the Astronomical Tower, Baroque Library Hall, and other historical spaces.
176, Seminářská 4, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Let’s talk about the suds, for which this incredible city is well versed in. Before we indulge, let’s make sure we are engaging in proper etiquette with those around us. When toasting, make eye contact and say "Na zdraví!" (pronounced "na zdra-vee"), which means, "Cheers!" It's customary to clink glasses with everyone at the table and maintain eye contact while doing so.
Ok, let’s drink! The beer scene in Prague is rich, vibrant, and deeply rooted in the city's culture and history. Here is the birthplace of the world-renowned Pilsner lager. The Pilsner style of beer originated in the city of Pilsen, located in western Czechia, in the mid-19th century. This style of lager has a pale, golden color and a crisp, refreshing taste.
Coming up on our right is the Prague Beer Museum. Here you can sample a large selection of various beers and learn about the history and brew making process. Here you will learn about “hospody.” What is that you ask? Beer is not just a drink here; it's a way of connecting with friends and family. Pubs (known as "hospody") are central to this culture, and they serve as gathering places for locals and tourists alike.
Czech beer is brewed according to strict standards outlined in the Czech Beer Purity Law, similar to the German Reinheitsgebot. This law ensures that only high-quality ingredients, such as water, malt, hops, and yeast, are used in the brewing process.
The city boasts a wide range of pubs, beer halls, and beer gardens. Some of the historic pubs have been around for centuries, offering an authentic experience. U Fleků is one of the oldest pubs in Prague, dating back to 1499.
Everyone had their fill for now? Great! Let’s move on.
Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
Time to cross the river, and make our way to the Prague Castle you see up on the hill. We will be crossing on The Charles Bridge, one of Prague's most iconic and beloved landmarks. It is a historic stone bridge that spans the Vltava River, connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town in the heart of the Czech capital. The bridge's construction began in 1357 during the reign of Emperor Charles IV and was completed in the early 15th century.
The Charles Bridge is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It stretches for 516 meters (approximately 1,690 feet,) and has 16 arches and 30 Baroque statues lining both sides of the balustrade. The bridge is flanked by two fortified towers. On the Old Town side is the Old Town Bridge Tower, and on the Lesser Town side is the Lesser Town Bridge Tower. Both towers are accessible to the public and offer stunning panoramic views of Prague.
The bridge is adorned with a series of statues, mainly depicting saints and religious figures. Most of the statues are replicas; the originals were gradually replaced with copies to protect them from weather damage. The most famous statue is that of St. John of Nepomuk, recognized by the inscription "touching" the base of the statue for good luck.
The Charles Bridge is a pedestrian-only zone, making it an ideal place for leisurely strolls and enjoying the breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding landmarks, including Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. The bridge is often alive with street musicians, artists, and vendors selling souvenirs, paintings, and handmade crafts. Their presence adds to the lively and vibrant atmosphere of the bridge.
Hroznová 494/10, Malá Strana, 118 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia
Wasn’t that something? Such a great ambiance on the Charles Bridge. Now that we have crossed the Vlata River, and found ourselves in what's called Lesser Town, let’s imagine a yellow submarine, and let's shake it up baby!
Next up on our tour of Prague, is Lennonova Zed, otherwise known as the Lennon Graffiti Wall, which became a symbol of peace and freedom during the communist era and remains an iconic landmark in the city.
The Lennon Wall's history dates back to the 1980s, during the period of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. After John Lennon's assassination in 1980, he became a symbol of peace and resistance against the oppressive regime. In the years following Lennon's death, the wall became a canvas for young Czechs to express their hopes for peace, freedom, and political change. They covered the wall with Lennon-inspired graffiti, lyrics from Beatles songs, and messages of love and peace.
The Communist authorities viewed the Lennon Wall as a symbol of dissent and continuously whitewashed the graffiti. However, the graffiti would reappear, and this cycle of painting over and re-graffiti continued for years.
During the peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1989, which marked the end of the Communist regime, the Lennon Wall served as a focal point for protesters expressing their desire for change and freedom.
In 1998 the wall had to go through reconstruction of its crumbling facade but the spirit of the wall lives on. It used to be covered in anti-Communist graffiti, now it is covered in messages of love and peace. The original portrait of Lennon is long lost under the layers of new paints but if you look hard enough you can still find tributes to Lennon and a yellow submarine!
Today, the Lennon Wall remains a symbol of free expression and peaceful resistance. It continues to attract artists, musicians, and visitors who add their own graffiti, creating a constantly evolving mural of art, messages, and colors.
Prokopská 21, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana, Czechia
We are now walking through the heart of Lesser Town, also known as the Lesser Quarter. Located on the left bank of the Vltava River, it lies directly below Prague Castle and across the river from the Old Town. Lesser Town is one of the city's most picturesque neighborhoods, characterized by its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and Baroque architecture.
Lesser Town Square is the central square at the heart of the district and is surrounded by historic buildings, cafes, and shops. The striking St. Nicholas Church with its impressive dome dominates the square. This stunning Baroque church is one of Prague's architectural masterpieces. Its grand interior features ornate decorations, frescoes, and a magnificent organ built by Johann Heinrich Mundt. The organ has over 4,000 pipes and is known for its exceptional sound quality. The church's acoustics are considered outstanding, making it a popular venue for classical music concerts. The church regularly hosts musical performances and other cultural events.
We will be making our way towards and then walking along Nerudova Street. This is one of the most famous streets in Lesser Town, characterized by its colorful houses and cobblestone pavement. The street is lined with various shops, restaurants, and quaint buildings. Don't miss the "House at the Two Suns," a Baroque building with two sun symbols on its facade.A historic and picturesque street named after the famous Czech writer Jan Neruda. It is lined with colorful houses, small shops, and traditional Czech restaurants.
On the north end by the Prague Castle is a charming street adorned with facades and cobblestone paths, known as"Valdštejnská." is derived from the prominent noble family of the House of Wallenstein, who owned properties and played a significant role in Czech history.
At the western end of Valdštejnská Street stands Wallenstein Palace. This magnificent Baroque palace, built in the 17th century, is a grand architectural marvel and is now home to the Czech Senate. Albrecht von Wallenstein was born in 1583 in the Kingdom of Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic). He rose to prominence during the Habsburg monarchy and became a military leader under Emperor Ferdinand II during the early stages of the Thirty Years' War. Wallenstein's military successes and growing influence led to suspicions from the Habsburgs about his political ambitions. As a result, in 1634, Emperor Ferdinand II ordered Wallenstein's assassination, fearing he might become too powerful and challenge the monarchy.
Radnické schody 1, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
Ok, we’ve seen it in the distance all day, and you’ve read about it before you got here. And now, we’re finally here!
Prague Castle has been the seat of power for Czech rulers for over a millennium. It served as the residence of Bohemian kings, Holy Roman Emperors, and later, Czech presidents. The castle's history is closely intertwined with the history of the Czech lands, making it a symbol of national identity and continuity. It is also one of the largest castles in the world, covering an area of about 70,000 square meters. The castle is perched on a hill overlooking the city and the Vltava River, providing breathtaking views of Prague's skyline.
Fair warning. The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman known as the "White Lady." According to legend, the White Lady appears during times of impending disaster or political upheaval. If anybody is too scared, now is your chance to turn back. No? Ok, let’s continue.
The majestic St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the most iconic structures within the castle complex. This Gothic masterpiece took centuries to complete and houses the tombs of many Bohemian kings, emperors, and saints. It is an important religious site and an architectural gem. This cathedral took nearly 600 years to complete, and its intricate design, rose windows, and towering spires make it an awe-inspiring sight. The cathedral is the final resting place of many Czech kings, emperors, and saints.
The Prague castle's fortifications included ingenious medieval defense mechanisms. For example, the castle had a stone-throwing machine known as the "Vladislav's Hurling Machine" to protect the entrance. The Castle also has a vineyard within its grounds, which dates back to the 10th century. It is one of the oldest vineyards in Bohemia and produces wine used for ceremonial purposes.
The Prague Castle underwent numerous expansions and renovations over the centuries, resulting in a mix of architectural styles, from Romanesque and Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque. It serves as a living testimony to the evolution of architectural trends and the artistic achievements of different historical periods.
The reign of Emperor Rudolf II in the late 16th century brought a flourishing of Renaissance architecture within the castle. The Spanish Hall in the Old Royal Palace is a prime example, featuring elaborate stucco decorations and frescoes.
The Old Royal Palace complex dates back to the 12th century and has been the site of numerous historical events, including royal ceremonies, coronations, and political gatherings. The Vladislav Hall within the palace is particularly noteworthy for its grandeur and was used for banquets and tournaments.
The Basilica of St. George is a fine example of Romanesque architecture within the complex. Built in the 10th century, it features simple and sturdy forms, thick walls, and rounded arches.
Finally, be sure to check out the Golden Lane. This charming lane of colorful, small houses was built into the castle walls in the late 16th century. It is named after the goldsmiths who once lived here. Visitors can explore the houses, some of which are set up as small historical exhibits, showcasing various aspects of daily life during different periods.
Well that about wraps it up. We hope you have enjoyed this tour of Prague. Once again my name is Dave, and it was a pleasure showing you around this wondrous city. Have a wonderful day!
Nerudova 223/40, Malá Strana, 118 00 Praha-Praha 1, Czechia