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Prague

Nalynn Dolan Caine |
Outflanked by each new war and known by its gilded towers for centuries, Prague is one giant museum under the open sky.

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In the 14th century Charles IV, the king of Czech Republic and the owner of many other important titles, gave the order that all towers in the city have to be gilded so that anyone can see the beauty of the city from a big distance. In the 19th century, a Czech composer Bedřich Smetana gave it his final touch. He composed Vltava, one of the most beautiful symphonies about the river which divides the city in two halves.

To see The Golden City take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon, two hours drive in an antique car, a lazy river boat cruising or start on foot followed by a sound of cobble stone streets.

Now, imagine a huge castle, so huge that covers a whole district forming almost a small town. It is Prague Castle, a home of Czech crown jewels and the president of Czech Republic. The first walled buildings built in the 9th century were enlarged during centuries with new gorgeous palaces and churches built in many architectural styles to finally form Prague Castle. It will take days to see them all.

Famous pedestrian Charles Bridge built in Gothic style, protected by three bridge towers and decorated with 30 baroque statues, will take you to the other side of the river. And here you are, in the Little Quarter, a district recognizable by beautiful Baroque church St. Nicholas, amazing gardens and splendid palaces where nobility and aristocrats used to live.

Don't forget to touch one of the statues before you leave the bridge. A legend says that it brings good luck and ensures your return to Prague.

With a luck in your pocket stroll the city all the way to the Old Town, a district of narrow streets, small shops, galleries, cafes and Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Amazing Astronomical Clock situated in the Old Town Square (a market place once) would keep your attention for a while. The clock shows the position of the Sun and Moon has figures of the Apostles, Zodiac rings, calendar and many other things.

After you figure out what time it shows, visit Klementium, the oldest meteorological observatory in Prague. Exactly 172 steps lead to the top of the tower and your efforts will be rewarded with 360 degrees view over Prague.

Pink and white Goltz-Kinsky Palace, situated on the square as the only building not in line with other buildings, could attract your attention. A story says that city council didn't want to issue a permit to build it on that place but the count bribed three councilmen and got what he wanted. When other councilmen saw it standing there in all its beauty they gave up of destroying it.

Parizska Street which runs off the Old Town Square to the river is a place for luxury shopping. It besects Jewish quarter where you can find The Jewish Museum which hosts one of the most extensive collections of Jewish art. In Jewish quarter you can take lunch break, taste famous Czech beer and after that visit some of the expensive shops.

The New Town, actually relatively old district of the city, hosts Charles Square. That is a place were church was showing sacraments and the imperial jewels in the ancient times while Wenceslas Square, a horse market place once, is the main Prague's artery today. Here citizens of Prague celebrate New Year, Easter, hold Christmas market, watch sport games on huge screens and have a good time.

Surrounded by Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings stands The Dancing House, unusual house shaped to look like a couple dancing together. It hosts offices and a French restaurant with magnificent views of the city and river Vltava. It is yours and our last stop before we say farewell to Prague.


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