If your time is limited in Prague, then you likely will focus your touring around the Old Town area and Prague Castle, the Disneyesque part of this historic city.
Prague Castle (above) and Charles Bridge (below)
900 years of architectural styles are visible with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Modernist and post-1989 Revolution.
The day before my ten mile walk I walked through Old Town Prague taking photos in the afternoon. Several of the photos from Charles Bridge and Old Town Square are from the day before with brighter lighting earlier in the afternoon.
One of the main highlights of Old Town is the Orloj astronomical clock from 1410, the oldest functioning astronomical clock in the world.
The most expensive beer prices I saw in Prague were at the cafe directly opposite the clock where 139 CZK buys a 0.5L beer. I don’t recall if it was Staropramen or another brand, but compared to average beer prices from 29 to 45 at most pubs, that is quite a premium to pay for sitting across from the astronomical clock, most likely with a hundred or so tourists standing between your seat at the outdoor heated cafe and the clock.
One of Prague’s 15th century city gates is the Powder Tower down the alley from Old Town Square.
14th century Charles Bridge is only 5 minutes walk from Town Square in the opposite direction from the walk to the Powder Tower Gate.
Charles Bridge is lined with statues.
Prague Castle in background.
However, several beggars, mostly prostrate with their hands outstretched for donations, and most with a large dog companion, also spanned the bridge working for change. None looked over 30 years old.
A plaque in the center of the bridge shows MDDDLVII or 1357 as the date of bridge construction.
Charles Bridge offers wonderful views of Prague Castle.
Castle View on west side of Vlatava River.
Old Town Square direction to east side of Vltava River.
From the east end Charles Bridge Tower, I turned right and followed the Vltava River back to my hotel at Park Inn Prague. There are several architectural attractions along the way.
There is a story about these buildings, in an interview with the author and friend of Vaclev Havel, about how Soviet spies monitored his house from the tower. Vaclev Havel was the first president of Czech Republic after the end of communist rule. Manes is an example of functionalist architecture from the 1920s.
The evening before my ten mile walking tour, I spied two mammals swimming together in the Vltava River. They reminded me of California sea otters, only smaller. I assumed they were river otters. After a web search of Vltava and mammals, I concluded I had seen coypu, aka nutria, aka river rats. Apparently, these large South American rodents, 15 to 30 pounds, were introduced to Europe in the 19th century for fur farms. During the 20th century coypu spread to many waterways around Europe. They are considered a pest due to their enormous appetites for riverbank plants.
I mentioned in my part one article for this walking tour of Prague about the accidental bombing of the city by U.S. bombers during the February 1945 raid on Dresden, some 70 miles away.
One of the fine examples of modern architecture in Prague is architect Frank Gehry’s The Dancing House (1992-96), constructed on one of the empty bomb site lots leftover from 1945.
Prague is a wonder of architectural styles spanning a millennium of European history.
For a lager lover, Prague is paradise with thousands of pubs. Beer drinking is part of the national identity. After a few hours in my hotel room I was back out on the streets exploring Prague nightlife on a Friday night and walking several more miles.
Finding a dozen interesting looking pubs as I meandered from my hotel towards Old Town was no problem. Finding a locals’ pub with an empty seat on a Friday night was the primary issue. And one warning to share about pubs in Prague. Most are filled with smokers. That was a little hard for me to take, but the price to pay for hanging out at Prague pubs drinking the best lagers in the world at bargain prices, especially if you are not too close to Old Town Prague.
Loyalty Traveler – Ten mile walking tour around Prague (part one)
Loyalty Traveler – Ten Mile Walking Tour around Prague (part two)