Posted: 2/13/2023 | February Thirteenth, 2023
Prague is certainly one of Europe’s hottest cities. Owing to its gorgeous medieval structure, it has developed a popularity as one of many continent’s must-see locations.
Sadly, its recognition means it will get packed in the course of the summer season. In 2019, practically seven million vacationers descended on Prague, a metropolis of simply 1.3 million individuals!!!! And the crowds have now returned post-COVID.
However, whereas Prague could also be battling overtourism, town has so much to supply intrepid (and repeat) guests who wish to see one thing aside from the identical outdated highlights.
For instance, do you know that a couple of hundred years in the past, a gaggle 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 continuously 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 crushed path, right here is my checklist of the most effective distinctive issues to do in Prague that will help you see one thing totally different:
1. St. Jacob the Better Church
The Church of St. Jacob the Better will get missed as a result of it sits within the shadow of Týn Cathedral on Previous City Sq.. However, for the curious who do enterprise inside this Thirteenth-century basilica, when you search for 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 could 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.
If you happen to 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 in addition 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 spiritual objects of essential significance). Now, it’s a gorgeous sq. few individuals go to however is a superb place to people-watch.
3. Bethlehem Chapel
Situated on a nice and intimate sq. in Previous 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 of radical. Hus was some 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 to 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 Previous City and also you’ll be rewarded with a superb 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, individuals like Žižka took up his trigger. He fashioned a military, and shortly sufficient, warrior-crusaders representing the Pope have been marching into Bohemia (the western half of right now’s Czech Republic) to attempt to quash his reform-minded riot. A couple of 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
If you happen to’re a fan of spiritual historical past, one spiritual oddity value searching 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 (typically referred to in Italian as Il Bambino di Praga) was dropped at 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 in regards to 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 this time there’s a cult of worship of the Toddler of Prague in Catholic communities everywhere in the world. In Eire, for instance, it’s notably auspicious for a soon-to-be bride to be given a miniature duplicate 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 Loss of life,” 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 Previous City.
Head by the entrance doorways and stroll the lengthy hallway to the again of the constructing. There you’ll discover the slow-moving elevate. Bounce in (fastidiously) and benefit from the experience. If you happen to don’t get off on the highest flooring, don’t have 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 gaggle 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 dwelling and raised sufficient cash to erect an identical 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 right now can trudge up the 299 stairs to get a shocking view of Prague.
Petrínské sady 633. Open each day 10am-8pm. Admission is 150 CZK.
8. Various Prague Strolling Tour
I really like strolling excursions. They cowl a variety of floor and might get you off the vacationer path with the assistance of an knowledgeable native information. This Various Prague strolling tour will introduce you to a number of the metropolis’s greatest avenue artwork and illuminate what occurred in the course of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. You’ll additionally go to a steampunk underground membership, discover hidden cafes, see secret group 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 price 623 CZK per individual. You’ll be able to ebook your tour right here.
9. Cubist Structure
Between 1911 and 1914, a small group of Czech architects determined to see what it could be like in the event that they utilized Cubism — often present in work, resembling within the early-Twentieth-century work of Picasso — to structure. And so up went a number of buildings which might be stunning, odd, and placing. You’ll be able to stroll across the Vyšehrad neighborhood, about two miles south of Previous City, and discover a few of these buildings.
One different centrally situated Cubist website it’s best to hunt down is on Jungmannovo námestí (Jungmann Sq.), simply off the underside of Václavské námestí (Wenceslas Sq.). It’s not solely essentially the most stunning Cubist lamppost on the planet — it’s the solely Cubist lamppost on the planet.
To study extra in regards to 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 dwelling in exile in Nice Britain covertly parachuted into Prague below the quilt 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 number of days later, the one prime Nazi official to be assassinated.
After that, the Nazis wished 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 lifeless from self-inflicted bullet wounds.
You’ll be able to go to this church right now and nonetheless see the Nazi bullet holes within the exterior partitions. You may as well take a World Warfare II strolling tour that covers this story — and rather more round Prague.
Resslova 9a, katedrala.data. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday 8am-2pm. Admission is free.
11. Prague Metronome
If you happen to’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 a number of the different issues which have been in that spot. For instance, in 1955, Communist authorities erected the world’s largest statue of Josef Stalin.
Stalin fell out of favor a number 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.”
If you happen to go to the metronome within the warm-weather months right now, there’s an outside bar promoting beer and cocktails, generally a DJ is spinning tunes, and there may be 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 gorgeous geological formations which might be tens of millions of years outdated. 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 absorb the gorgeous panorama, hike, see native folks villages, and benefit from the surroundings away from the crowds of town.
Excursions from Prague typically 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 ebook your tour right here.
13. Žižkov TV Tower
This 700-foot tower was erected within the latter half of the Nineteen 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 big crawling black infants on the shaft of the construction that public opinion started to melt a bit. It’s value getting an up-close have a look at it. You may as well get an awesome vista of Prague when you 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 may get your ticket right here.
14. Sapa Praha
Prague has a big Vietnamese group. That’s as a result of, in the course of the 41-year Communist interval, the Czechs took in a variety of visiting Vietnamese change 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 most effective place is named Sapa, also referred to as “Little Hanoi.” Even Anthony Bourdain made a degree to go to this massive market advanced when he filmed a TV episode in Prague. It has a variety of low cost items on the market, however the actual purpose to return 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 will be erected within the middle of Prague (Kafka was born in Prague and was a significant contributor to Twentieth-century literature). Most of the entries have been related, that includes the German-speaking Jewish author standing on a pedestal. However Czech artist Jaroslava Rona did one thing extra inventive along with his entry: he had Kafka sitting on the shoulders of a headless man carrying a go well with, an allusion to his quick 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 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, town actually involves life when you get off the vacationer path and expertise Prague’s much less visited, extra obscure sights.
Even when you go to within the hectic summer season months, you’ll discover far fewer crowds at Prague’s offbeat points of interest, making certain a extra stress-free (and extra genuine) go to.
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