Day 13 Topdeck Tour - Historical Gothic Prague
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We headed down from the Castle and headed towards the river. We did walk pass a very impressive statue which were off two men peeing on what looked like Czechoslovakia. More impressively they were holding their penises which moved up and down and their hips moved left to right. Was hilarious.
Then we got to the stunning Charles Bridge which is the most spectacular bridge crossing Vitava river. It’s construction started in 1357 but was only completed in the 15th century. It is decorated by 3 bridge towers and 30 statues all replaced by replicas now. There is apparently gold coins hidden on the bridge which move due to them being magical but we couldn’t find any!
As we walked into the old town and then into the Old Town Square we hit the jackpot with Christmas markets! Massive Christmas tree in the centre also to complete the mood. By the square is the famous Astronomical Clock, it is the third oldest being first installed in 1410 and the only one still working
Walking away from the square we headed to Wenceslas Square which is the main city square in Prague and leads up to the National museum. The square was the site for the student riots in the velvet revolution which resulted in 120 deaths and has a memorial cross to Jan Palach which set himself on fire to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968.
The walking tour ended here and Joel and I stopped in to have a coffee and make a plan for the day. Great coffee but unfortunately cultural clashes resulted in people smoking inside which was bit gross. We headed back through Old Town Square and went to the Jewish Ghetto. Tickets were bit expensive so we just walked around the walls which surrounded the neighbourhood where Jews were confided before WW2. The main part I wanted to see was the Jewish Cemetery which is the most remarkable in Europe and results from numerous graves being stacked on top of each other due to the lack of space and a confusing array of head stones. There is a total of 12 layers of graves and could be as many as 100,000 burials although only 12,000 tombstones can be seen dating as far back as 1439. Fortunately as we walked around the wall I had a few glimpses into the cemetery which satisfied my curiosity.
Joel and I crossed the Vitava River via a different bridge so we had some great views of Charles bridge. We headed to a church that wasn’t on our itinerary but my sister Lindi recommended to us. Saint Nicholas Cathedral is a Baroque church built in the 1700s dedicated to Saint Nicholas. This was an amazing church and great example of Baroque architecture. The inside has elaborate designs and the alcoves had lavish tombs and sculptures leading to a magnificent altar and 70m high dome with frescos. The altar has 4 large popes looking to protect it and a massive organ with over 4,000 pipes up to 6 meters which Mozart played in 1787. We were allowed to take photos fortunately and walk up into the gallery on the second floor and look up over the balcony into the church which was really spectacular and the first place we were allowed entry into this level. Was well worth a visit and the best Cathedral in Prague. Thank you for the recommendation Lindi!
We were tired and starving so we stopped for lunch. We read the menu outside and headed in but ended up at a bit more fancy place than we thought and was bit more pricey. But in saying that the mushroom soup served in bread and the beef goulash was amazing.
Well rested we headed up the hill to Hradcany Castel and had a walk around
Out group had previously decided to meet Sarah in the city for a night out so Joel, Gemma, Amanda and I caught a tram into the city and walked across Charles bridge at night. It was stunning with the lights and there was a fine misty rain which I secretly think was snow. We got to the old town square and Joel went up the clock tower to get nice views of the square. It was nearly 8pm so we saw the hourly chiming of the astronomical clock which had the parts moving as was well worth the wait.
In a back street we found a local brewery pub and got out of the cold and into the warmth of food and beer. Joel had dumplings filled with pork and I had beef goulash. Pretty epic pub food.
As we waited in the square by the giant Christmas tree, freezing out toes off, we thought the others had bailed. We were pleasantly surprised when Sarah arrive with about 7 other people. A lot of people were to sick and didn’t want to come out in the cold but the rest of us made an effort. We went to a few bars had a few drinks. I tried elderflower cider which was very refreshing. One place even had a dancer in a small sparkling bikini dancing on a stage. At about 12 we called it and hailed some taxis to go home. A few people decided to stay out and party bit longer but sleep sounded like a better idea.