Prague: city of gold and eternity: the "hundred towers'capital" offers to an increasing number of tourists a spectacular show, featuring old stones, "Art Nouveau" architecture, and extraordinary spectrum of colours. In any season, Prague remains magic.
After confirming a reservation in an HOTEL located in the Old City (STARE MESTO) or in the Castle Area (HRADCANY), one should visit as a priority the Church of Our Lady of Tyn, directly linked by centenary and picturesque lanes to the Old Town Hall, whose Astronomical Clock is the most exciting attraction. The Powder Tower is just a few meters away, in the center of this exquisite area making the visitor feels like transported in another century. The jewel of the old City, linking the two banks of the River Vltava, is of course the world famous Charles Bridge and its romantic statues.
The Jewery (JOSEFOV) is one of the richest and best preserved ghetto in Europe. Very curious, indeed, are the hands of its City Hall Clock, turning backward. The Old-New Synagogue is the oldest in Central-Europe. The most interesting spot is the neighbouring Pinkas Synagogue's Cemetery, visited by hundred thousands of tourists despite of the inflated entrance fee.
The arrows of both St.Vitus and St.Nicholas Churches indicate the Castle Area: the most enjoyable quarter in Prague, with its twisty streets and green parks. Overlooked by the majestuous Prague Castle, is the St.Georges Basilica, considered to be Prague's oldest surviving church. A few meters away one can walk down the legendary Golden Lane (ZLATA ULICKA), with its beautiful pastel houses where the Kings of Bohemia jailed alchemists...till they get able to convert stone into solid gold. Nobody knows if they ever set free !
On the southern part of HRADCANY is MALA STRANA, its romantic paths, and St.Nicholas Church, one of the most attractive masterpiece of the baroque architecture.
The real heart of Prague is Wenceslas Square (VACLAVSKE NAMESTI), one can run in a two-horse carriage on the way to the castle: like a king ! This is actually the very best way to discover the city. Prices are fixed and moderate.
Prague, capital city of worldwide alchemists still meeting here secretly, is also a superlative cultural center, with novelist Kafka and playwright-President Vaclav Havel as leading figures. Night can be elegant and even glamorous: should it be in the Opera House, in the LATERNA MAGIKA, or for a Mozart concert (Don Giovanni was first performed in Prague, and the Austrian musician is venerated by all Czech opera lovers).
The preliminary reading of a good
guide is indeed recommended. Atop our favourites ranks the excellent
PLANET: CZECH & SLOVAK REPUBLICS”. In addition to the
formidable surplus of information relating to the culture, the religion
and the tourist resources of the country, we particularly liked the widening
focus of Lonely Planet guides: tips are now aiming everybody . The traveller
on a very tight budget, just like the one able to draw liberally from his
reserves of dollars, will both find custom tailored information in this
Bible: from the suburban hostel to the best suites at Hotel
Savoy, from the tramways to the rent-a-limo agencies, or from the picturesque
beer houses to the awarded French restaurants in
Prague. Very useful for those not concentrating only to the Czech Republic,
but touring neighbouring countries, we also make good use of the “LONELY
PLANET: EASTERN EUROPE” which offers an overflight not only of the
Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also of the somehow more exotic Albania,
Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia
and Yugoslavia. A must!
If a brief description of Prague and the Bohemian thermal spas suits you, the thin pocket size ”BERLITZ: CZECH REPUBLIC” would be a convenient choice. Its 144 pages reproduce useful maps, with more than acceptable historic, geographic, social and practical guidelines. The “BERLITZ: PRAGUE” is perfect for a week-end. Moreover, those travel books are among the cheapest available in shops. The linguists will like their “CONVERSATION GUIDEBOOK: EASTERN EUROPE”.
Last but not least, the new ”MICHELIN
GREEN GUIDE: PRAGUE” shows a most complete development about the
Czech capital, with some extra pages devoted to the main attractions upcountry
(Bohemian spas and castles, battle fields of Austerlitz, Terezin concentration
camp, Brno...). The practical blue pages gather relevant advise to
the traveller. Sometimes even impertinent: since the recommended hotels
and restaurants in Prague are different, in the order of the preferences,
from those ranked in the gourmet and Epicurious bible “MICHELIN
RED GUIDE EUROPE”…
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