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davidx Prague - A travel report by David
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Prague,  Czech Republic - flag Czech Republic -  Hlavni Mesto Praha
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davidx's travel reports

Prague AGAIN? There's plenty left to be said.

  26 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
It seems almost arrogant to try a report on Prague, with such outstanding reports already on the site. However the one thing we agree exactly about is the beauty of the city. Beyond that we all have our favourite spots and our individual emphases.


From Old Royal Palace - hazy morning light
From Old Royal Palace - hazy morning light
There is so much and it’s hard to know what to sacrifice. I largely sacrificed the ‘New Town’, which is not very new at all, unless you include Visehrad. [See favourites]. I found the idea of the Jewish Museum special to Prague and that is also below, as is the Castle area.

Disappointments first: The National Museum has no lift and many stairs – no good to me. Wenceslas Square, not really a square at all, did nothing for me. Worst of all, I only really like Charles Bridge from a distance – the statues close up I found unpleasant and the crowds were beyond the limit; however it is fine when floodlit.

That’s it! Now to just some of the positive: OLD TOWN SQUARE – This is beyond words. Find time somehow to just sit and look all around you. Then try to see the ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK at an appropriate hour. [11.00 in my case.] Go around the OLD TOWN HALL.
LESSER TOWN SQUARE – Walk here from the castle area and then over Charles Bridge.

STRAHOV MONASTERY – beyond the Castle on the 22/23 tram routes. The Library ceilings are stupendous. Great walk down to Lesser Town.

MUSEUM OF DECORATIVE ARTS – Very cheap and limited on quantity but great on quality – near Old Town side of Charles Bridge.

MUNICIPAL HOUSE – A great art nouveau building this time, in the New Town but near Old Town Square.

METRONOME – This is the huge replacement for a statue of Stalin, who used to look over the city. I’ve only seen it from the art nouveau bridge, Cechuv Most.

Now for some GENERAL ADVICE. You will find http://www.expat s.cz/cgi-bin/go.cgi?trams-metro [no break after expat] an outstanding resource for planning your way around the city. I used the 3 day pass but it depends how long you’ve got.
Use public transport from the airport – no problems and MUCH less expensive.



Favourite spots:
Charles Bridge from up river
Charles Bridge from up river
I think after the crowds of visitors in other places [yes – I know – I was one too] it was the peace of VISEHRAD, where most of the people seemed to be Czech locals enjoying their lovely city, that made it a favourite. The St Martin Rotunda from the 11th century is small and plain but enormously attractive. From there I took the wrong route [my fault – there was a good map on a notice board.] That gave me a longer walk than I expected and far more uphill than I would plan but it was absolutely peaceful off the beaten track. Other than that I have to agree with another report that walking almost anywhere along the old streets and admiring the buildings should be built into any visit but DON’T make the mistake I did and think it might be good to go up to the castle when it’s floodlit. To my amazement the only people there were the guards, in threes with suspicious faces and yours truly – really spooky, especially as a mist had come down.

What's really great:
Old Jewish Cemetery
Old Jewish Cemetery
Info on tickets http://www.jewishmus-eum.cz/aindex.htm. Approaching from Old Town Square and keep your eyes UP for some of the most splendid art nouveau façades in Prague. The museum consists of four synagogues, the Memorial Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery. The last dates from the time before the reign of Joseph II in the 18th century. Prior to this Jews were the personal property of the Emperor and were kept in the Ghetto. The Cemetery was the only place where Jews could be buried And the tombstones are piled up about 12 high. I had to leave the memorial quickly as the pictures and writing done by Jewish children in one of the camps were more than I could bear. Also terribly emotive is the Pinkas Synagogue, inscribed with the names of all the Jews murdered during the Nazi period. [concluded in last section]

Sights:
Chancel, St Vitus Cathedral
Chancel, St Vitus Cathedral
The area called Hradcany contains more than just Prague Castle and Prague castle itself contains a number of separate buildings. I make no attempt to cover all of them.
Visible from just about anywhere in Prague, behind the castle walls is the imposing Cathedral of St Vitus. It was sadly covered in scaffolding when sen closer up but the interior was fine. The Old Royal Palace is something else. The Vladislav Hall on the ground floor, where the President of the Republic is chosen, is one of the most impressive non-clerical Gothic buildings I have seen anywhere and the outside gallery is a superlative point for viewing the city.
The interior of St. George’s Basilica comes as a surprise. The outside is Baroque and very much so but when you go in, you find a building in 12th century Romanesque style. The shops in Golden Lane, though a tourist trap, form a lovely historic picture from the outside.


Accommodations:
Cechuv Most, the only art nouveau bridge
Cechuv Most, the only art nouveau bridge
Read on – don’t let the boring name deter you! The Pension Standard is not much more expensive than it sounds but far and away better. It is an art nouveau building situated opposite the River Vltava with only 11 rooms. If you want a swimming pool or sauna, look somewhere else. If you want a comfortable and conveniently situated place with en-suite rooms, phone and TV which includes CBS, with a tram stop only about 100 metres away, look no farther.
Particularly useful trams are the 17 which you can use to connect to the 22 or 23 to get to the castle - or continue on the 17 to the park below the metronome and the 7 which goes over the first bridge and, as soon as you have crossed other tram routes, takes you to a huge shopping complex.


Hangouts:
St Martin Rotunda, Visehrad
St Martin Rotunda, Visehrad
Not about pubs but beer. I think there may be a connection! When I reached Prague, my family insisted that I should get transport direct to my hotel so I had booked. The driver was English with a Czech wife and has a small share in a small brewery. He explained that the exported [and highly esteemed] Czech beers contain various preservatives which are banned in beer for home consumption there. He said how much better it tastes there.
I am strictly limited on the amount of alcohol I can take but I did enjoy mightily the beer with my meals.


Restaurants:
From opposite the Pension Standard
From opposite the Pension Standard
I ate in the Pension Standard, where breakfast is included in the price by the way. It’s a really comfortable little restaurant which would only seat about twenty if full. A delicious soup followed by a main course with a large beer never approached £4 equivalent!


Other recommendations:
Freezing morning view up to the castle
Freezing morning view up to the castle
JEWISH MUSEUM continued
Of the other three synagogues the most striking is the so-called Spanish Synagogue, not Spanish but very reminiscent of Spain.

OLD-NEW SYNAGOGUE – This synagogue isn’t part of the Jewish Museum and is older than other in Europe, dating from the 13th century. The ‘New’ bit of the name was to distinguish it from an even older building, no longer extant. Here you are required to wear a paper skullcap, lent on entrance. I was approached by an attendant, who offered to tell me about the museum. If you can, get the same attention – she was so interesting.

I conclude with two general remarks.
Never have I been to a place with so many concerts of classical music every day – and so many people pushing information about them!
Unlike the Alcázar at Segovia or the Cité at Carcasonne, there is nothing ‘Disneylike’ about Prague. It is full of buildings from ancient to ultramodern that are representative of the best of their times and wholly real

Published on Wednesday January 19th, 2005


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Fri, Feb 16 2007 - 02:06 AM rating by fieryfox

Superbly written and most informative. Thank you.

Mon, Jan 22 2007 - 06:02 PM rating by mrscanada

My favorite cities in Europe. I'm glad you went to see the Jewish Cemetary.

Sat, Sep 16 2006 - 11:49 AM rating by dorischua

Hi David... you are a fluent and creative writer.. I've got so much to learn from you. Your Prague report was vivid and a great resource to any visitor!

Thu, Oct 27 2005 - 12:52 PM rating by isaacmolina

for me you are the best report writer in globo

Tue, Jan 25 2005 - 06:00 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report with excellent pictures

Fri, Jan 21 2005 - 01:57 PM rating by marianne

Hi david,
Another perfect report. We will have to include Prague in our itineray one day. (But we will, don't know when)
Marianne

Thu, Jan 20 2005 - 02:47 PM rating by bear495

Wonderful report, Advid. Keep writing and informing us of these wonderful locations.

Russ

Thu, Jan 20 2005 - 07:56 AM rating by rangutan

Excellent, so much new information not in the other reports and more tipps too!

Thu, Jan 20 2005 - 04:41 AM rating by gloriajames

not just another report on prague, but a very good report indeed! keep it up! 5*

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