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Prague Tourist Guide - Things To See And Do
Transportation: Buses, trams, and subway. Tickets at tobacco shops and newsstands. Validate your ticket on the bus or tram, or in the turn-style, as you enter the subway.

Crime: Prague is a major haven for pick-pockets. Be especially alert on public transportation or at any tourist attraction.

Old Town (Stare Mesto): One of the most interesting parts of Prague... with a great many medieval exteriors.

Powder Tower (Prasna Brana): This is the gate to Old Town... once used to store gunpowder. Built in 1475, the Czech kings departed from here on their coronation route. Climb the 185 steps for a great view.

Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti): This is the delightful center of Old Town. The statue in the center is the national hero John Huss, erected in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. The landmark Astronomical Clock, built in 1490, is on the Old Town Hall. Observe the procession of the 12 apostles on the hour, when a small trap door will open and Christ will march out ahead of the disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk. Below are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac. The Old Town Hall tower is one of the most striking buildings in Prague, built in 1338. Inside is a staircase where you can climb to the top for wonderful views. In 1364, the tower was joined to a private house beside it, which in turn was knocked into other houses to create the Old Town Hall as we know it today. It's now the main tourist center of Prague.

Old Jewish Quarter: The ancient buildings here comprise the State Jewish Museum. This ghetto is one of the oldest in Europe, dating from the 10th century. The major buildings are Old-New Synagogue (1270), the Old Jewish Town Hall, the Maisel Synagogue, with excellent examples of artifact used in worship, and the most interesting part... the Old Jewish Cemetery, where graves are superimposed on top of each other. The oldest tombstone reads 1439. One need not be Jewish to appreciate this section.

New Town (Nove Mesto): dating from 1348... established by King Charles IV. In this area will be:

Vaclavske Namesti (Wenceslas Square): This is the central thoroughfare of the city, and a large portion of the boulevard is a pedestrian mall. It was laid out over 600 years ago during the reign of Charles IV and was originally used as the main Prague horse market. Today it is where Czech's come to let off steam because it comfortable holds up to 400,000 people. At the top of the square is the imposing National Museum (Czech artists) with the statue of King Wenceslas on horse-back guarding the square at the front of the Museum. To the left is the Prague State Opera.

Flek's Inn (U Fleku): The city's most famous pub... in existence from before 1499.

Dvorak Museum: Mementos of the composer. Sculpture garden in back. The building is not well maintained, but the artifacts are interesting. Closed Monday.

Charles Square (Karlovo Namesti): This quiet park is surrounded by old buildings, and is the center around which Prague was planned in 1348. See the New Town Hall... Faust's House, named because the occult sciences were practiced.

Charles Bridge: This grand bridge is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Europe, dating from 1357. Open to foot traffic only, it is lined on both sides with statues, and you'll have great views of the castle area, the Vltava River, and the island of Kampa. Many souvenir stands on the bridge. Cross the bridge to Lesser Town.

Lesser Town (Mala Strana): This is Prague's Baroque soul, and the city's most picturesque quarter... full of old palaces, and a maze of crooked, cobble-stoned lanes, old churches, museums, etc. Wander around on foot. There are hills, but the stroll is worth it.

Lesser Town Square (Malostranske Namesti): Surrounded by 16th century houses... and dominated by the 13th century Baroque church of St. Nicholas, which has a noteworthy dome, nave, and frescoed ceiling.

Neruda Street (Nerudova Ulice): One of the most beautiful streets in Lesser Town. The Morzine Palace is at #5 ... the Thun-Hohenstein is at #20. There are also foreign embassies on this street.

Maltese Square (Maltezske Namesti): A maze of small streets with 17th century buildings. The main reason one goes here is to visit the church of Our Lady of Victories, dating from 1611. Its major religious relic is a small doll of the Christ child, which is dressed in elaborate costumes... and is said to have miraculous powers.

Wallenstein Palace (Valdsterjnsky Palace): North of St. Nicholas's church, this magnificent Baroque palace dates from 1623. There are really several buildings, five courtyards, two gardens, and a lake.

Prague Castle (Hradcany): Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in Europe and the ancient seat of Czech kings throughout the ages. It's an intriguing mix of palaces, churches and fortifications and a 'must see' for tourists. The first building on the site of Prague Castle was erected in the 9th century. In the 12th century this was replaced by a Romanesque palace, and in the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. A further reconstruction of the Royal Palace then took place under the Jagellons at the end of the 15th century. Following a fire in 1541, Prague Castle underwent further works during the 16th century. The Spanish Hall was added during the reign of Rudolf II and final alterations were made by Empress Maria Theresa. Today, Prague Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic and serves as the historical and political center for both city and state. See St. Vitrus Cathedral, the mausoleum of the Czeck kings, and the vault for the crown jewels. Its towering spires are Prague's most recognizable landmark. Sternberg Palace which is the National Art Gallery with works by Goya, Ribera, El Greco, Breughel, Rubens and Dureer. It's a small collection and few tourists seem to go there. Bladislau Palace is to the side of the cathedral. It has a hall so large that knights on horseback once jousted in it. The Changing of the Guard at the front gates takes place every hour. At noon the ceremony includes a fanfare.

Golden Lane (Zlata Ulicka): South of the Castle... a charming short street with very small houses and shops from 1541. The street is lined by 11 historic houses. Interesting gift items on sale. One hardly has room to move. Be sure and purchase a combined ticket to gain entrance to the Golden Lane.

Gardens of the Ramparts: Continue walking downhill from the Golden Lane, and you arrive at the Ramparts... Spectacular views over the river and Prague. Continue walking down the long flight of steps, and you'll end at a square near the river, where you can take public transportation to another area. Don't miss the Ramparts.

Strahov Monastery (Strahovsky Klaster): West of the castle... high above Petrin Hill. This is a gigantic monastery whose gardens provide a lovely view of Prague. The collection of old manuscripts is excellent.

Archbishop's Palace (Archbiskupsky Palac): The imposing Archbishop's Palace dates back to the 15th century. It boasts a splendid rococo façade and the interior is also impressive.

Funicular Railway (Lanova Draha): Ascending Petrin Hill from the lower terminus at Ujezd, the funicular stops midway at Nebozizek with excellent views of Prague. Running every 10-20 minutes.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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