Prague is a truly unique city. A number of breathtaking sites can be overwhelming. It is one of the few big cities that was spared from the bombardment during the WWII and most of its amazing architecture was preserved. You can reimagine the history of the city just by wandering through the streets.
So, how is it possible to single out five top places in a city like that? - You may ask. Well, not an easy task - I can assure you. Nevertheless, I present you five places that stand out and should not be missed by any circumstances.
1. Prague Castle
This medieval castle is the No.1 tourist attraction of the city. The largest castle in whole Europe was built around 880 AD and, in the beginning, it was just a wooden fortress. After the time, the building outgrew its main purpose, and today consists a cathedral, a royal palace, a monastery, stables, towers for defense, outstanding gardens. The cathedral is considered as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture.
This is a place where some important decisions are still made. The President of the Czech Republic has his office here. Besides galleries, museums and art galleries, you should check out the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička), a 15th-century street that consist 11 houses where the artisans lived and worked. They are reconstructed so the visitors can be introduced to the life and work of these skilled craftsmen.
2. Charles Bridge
This is the oldest preserved bridge in Prague’s history. It was originally called Stone Bridge (Kamenný Most) for almost five century until it was renamed Charles Bridge, in honor to its founder, King Charles IV. It was built at the beginning of the 15 century on the remains of the old Judith Bridge, destroyed by the severe floods. The “new” bridge stood the test of time and today, this pedestrian-only bridge is crowded with artists, street performers, musicians and, of course, visitors from all around the world. Two towers on both ends of the bridge provide a great view of the cities landscape.
This site should be on everybody’s must-see list.
3. The Old Town Square
Prague’s Old Town Square was once a host of the town’s marketplace and it originates from the 11th century. It is situated between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge. Nowadays, it is flooded with tourists and locals. The square is a mixture of broadest architectural styles: Baroque, Gothic Romanesque, and Renaissance. There is no better place to start your touring at. The square is the home of some of the most spectacular buildings in whole Prague: Church of Our Lady before Tyn, with towers in Gothic style perfectly contrasts with baroquesque St. Nicholas Church, Old Town Hall Tower, and the famous Astronomical Clock. If you want the best view of the Prague’s old town, just climb up the Old Town Hall Tower.
4. Astronomical Clock
The amazing medieval clock is the oldest functional astronomical clock in the world and it dates from 15th century. The legend says it was built by clockmaker Hanus, who refused to give away the construction plans. Supposedly, he planned to build an even better clock, but the city official got jealous and blinded him. Beside the ingenious design, what catches the attention of visitors is "The Walk of the Apostles". The small door traps on the clock open every hour and Jesus and his apostles march in front of the spectators. Josef Manes made an addition to the clock in 1865 – twelve medallions that represent the zodiac signs that gives the Clock even more impressive look.
5. The Jewish Quarter
This quarter, known as Josefov, is situated between Old Town square and Vltava River. The first Jewish community in Prague dates from 10th century, but this settlement was founded in the 13th century after Jewish people have been ordered to leave their homes and populate this part of the city. Most historically important buildings were preserved. The Old-New Synagogue is the oldest one in Central Europe and the stonework is simply incredible. This quarter has a history of bright moments but also had gone through most horrific events. You can almost feel it as you walk through this area. It is a quite unique experience.