Prague is arguably one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The capital of the Czech Republic, it is the place over two million people have chosen as home, and millions of people choose to visit each year. The architectural creations that feature throughout the city are reasons in themselves to visit. There is a fusion of old and new that ensures there is something for every taste, and gives us both an insight into the history of the city and a dose of modern culture and architectural flair.
The Charles Bridge is renowned as the city’s most famous attraction. This incredible construction crosses the Vltava River, reaches a height of 13 meters and stretches 515.8 meters in length. Work began on the bridge under the orders of King Charles IV in 1357 and it was finally completed in 1402, replacing the previous Judith Bridge that had been damaged by a flood. There are now 30 statues that line the wide bridge, most of which are baroque, depicting saints and patron saints, and creating a very impressive sight.
On a recent trip to Prague, I discovered that the Charles Bridge is just one of the many, many sights the city has to offer. Wandering through the streets, you discover a city full of charm. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with good reason, and the Old Town Square is a beautiful architectural masterpiece home to the Astronomical Clock created by Master Hanuš in 1490. The Vyšehrad Citadel is another sight not to be missed. Set atop Vyšehrad Hill, this historic monument, comprised of various buildings that date back centuries, has been part of the city’s history for over 1,000 years. Similarly, the historic Church of Our Lady Before Týn, with its distinctive twin Gothic spires, is a definite must, as are both the Wallenstein and Star Summer palaces.
The Jewish ghetto, and its synagogues with moving tributes to victims of the Holocaust, are incredible to see both on an architectural level and on a more emotional level.
Prague offers a superb blend of old and new. Alongside the incredible historic buildings that date back years stand more recent creations, such as the Dancing House, a veritable modern masterpiece also known as the ‘Fred & Ginger’ building designed by Milunić and Gehry.
One of my favorite architectural offerings in Prague is a budget B&B complex composed entirely of giant beer barrels. Incredibly unique, the barrels have 2 bunks and are quite cozy, and are essentially small bungalows on logs. With their red detailing and green roofs, photos of these bungalows will make your “European Tour” slideshow a lot more entertaining for your friends and neighbors. Throughout Prague, architecture fans will be amazed at the sights on offer, and will want to capture every corner on camera.