Picture Perfect Prague

Trip Start Mar 06, 2012
Trip End Sep 06, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, July 21, 2012

What an absolutely beautiful city Prague is.

The food mainly concentrates on meat (pork) and dumplings but Prague has a thriving café culture and it was a pleasure to peoplewatch from one of the coffee houses. Food and particularly beer were inexpensive in comparison to Western European (and particularly Australian) prices. The range of Pilsner's was fantastic and I took the opportunity to stock up before we left for Germany.
 It was under Charles IV in the 14th century that Prague had its golden age.  He had come from Paris and was a patron of the arts.  He built the Charles Bridge, St Vitus' Cathedral and an entirely new quarter of the city, as well as founding the university.  You see his name everywhere; a statue, parks, squares, he was obviously well regarded!

Prague is split in two by the river Vltava. On the north side sits Prague Castle and the skyline is dominated by the Cathedral.  I climbed the tower's 285 steps to take the aerial photos of the city.  Joyce sensibly did not do the climb and waited for me at the bottom.  Around the main square of Staromesktska, which has been a market place since the 11th century, is the Astronomical Clock and the Gothic steeples of Tyn Church as well as the white Church of St Nicholas.
Just north-west of the square lies the Jewish Quarter, which houses Europe's oldest Synagogue (built around 1270), which funnily enough is called the New Synagogue!!  This area was a ghetto and even in death the cities authorities afforded so little space to the Jewish cemetery that the dead (100,000) are buried 12 deep there.  The area was cleared in the 1890’s and some streets were made into wide boulevards which today are lined by all the well-known designer stores.

 Most of our sightseeing is done during the daylight hours but on the day we decided to go into the city it was 32c so we chose to go into the city late afternoon, have a nice dinner and stroll around to see how the city looked at night.  We walked along the river and enjoyed a coffee at a riverside cafe which overlooked the illuminated Castle and Cathedral; it was a magical sight and it really hit home as to what we miss in Australia.  From a sightseeing point of view we were disappointed with Wenceslas Square.  I had imagined it to be a quaint medieval place, like Staromesktska described earlier, but it’s basically a pedestrianised street full of shops and department stores including Marks and Spencers and Debenhams!  However it was here that protesters gathered during the "Velvet Revolution" to topple  Communism in 1990.

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