Prague, Czech Republic

Lace up your best walking shoes. You are about to explore one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Prague has so many fascinating and historic landmarks on both sides of the picturesque Vltava river. From the world’s largest castle to Medieval tower gates and squares. This travel guide is a walking tour of all the places to visit in this Czech capital designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Introduction to Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is historic, beautiful and quaint. These are a few of the countless reasons why the capital of the Czech Republic attracts eight million visitors a year, ranking it among the top European cities to visit. There are three main districts you will want to explore. They are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Along the east side of the Vltava river (top of photo) is Staré Město (Old Town). When you cross the Mánes Bridge (Mánesův most), you enter the Malá Strana region. In Czech, this means “Little side of the river.” In the foreground is Valdštejnský Palác. Wallenstein Palace dates from the early 17th century and is now the Senate of the Czech Republic. The third key neighborhood is Hradčany (Castle District). This photo was taken from the Lobkowicz Palace within the Prague Castle complex. The 16th century Lobkowický palác is now an art museum. This travel guide will highlight the major places to see in Staré Město, Malá Strana and Hradčany. Have a memorable time in Praha.

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1 Orientation to Vltava River Flowing thru Prague, Czech Republic

The best way to get oriented to Prague is by a sightseeing cruise along the Vltava. This series of five photos provides a riverside tour of the city’s historic core traveling north to south. Vltava is the country’s largest river at 267 miles. There are 18 bridges spanning the 19 miles of river flowing through Prague. In the distance is the Čechův Bridge (Čechův most). Built in 1908, this Art Nouveau bridge connects to the Prague Jewish Quarter (Josefov) in the distant right. Next to it is the Mánes Bridge (Mánesův most) leading to the Concert Hall (Rudolfinum) within Old Town. Along the bridge’s 610 foot span is the Walk of Fame. This is a growing number of brass stars with names of famous Czech composers.

Vltava River, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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2 Old Town along Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

Continuing your sightseeing cruise upstream takes you to this panoramic view of Old Town (Staré Město). Clustered at the eastern entrance to the famous Charles Bridge are three landmarks: the large dome of Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Old Town Bridge Tower and the smaller dome of St. Salvator Church. To the right of them is the dramatic tower of the Old Town Waterworks. Several operators offer sightseeing trips along the Vltava river, ranging from one-hour excursions to dinner packages. Prague is also a popular port-of-call for seven day cruises connecting with Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest or 14 day itineraries with a terminus in Amsterdam.

Vltava River, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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3 Old Town Waterworks along Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town Waterworks deserves a closer look. Prague began harnessing the flow of the Vltava river with wooden waterworks and lead pipes in the 15th century. The first one to serve Old Town was Staroměstská built in 1489. It suffered significant damage 14 times during fires and wars. The current Neo-Renaissance structure – with its Neo-Gothic paneling – and the water tower were built in 1883 based on the design of Antonín Wiehl. Staroměstská vodárna stopped supplying water to Old Town (Staré Město) in 1913 when the new Káraný water plant became operational. Old Town Waterworks is now the Bedřich Smetana Museum. Inside are displays celebrating Bedřich Smetana. The 19th century composer is often called the father of Czech music.

Vltava River, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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4 Confusing Names for Prague and Czech Republic

This is one of two weirs parallel to Old Town. They control the flow of the Vltava river. To get around it, your sightseeing boat must enter the Smíchov Chamber Lock. This lengthy passage gives us time to discuss the confusing names of where you are visiting. The city’s name is Prague in English, Praha in Czech and Prag in German. Now for the country. The formal name is Česká republika (yes, with a lower case r). In English it is the Czech Republic, in German it is Tschechien and the French call it Tchéquie. But people love shortening names. So, the locals call their homeland Česko. In 2016, the government decided to confuse things further by adopting the simple English name of Czechia. And don’t make the mistake of calling it Czech. That is an adjective and not a noun.

Vltava River, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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5 National Theatre along Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

The last sight along your short virtual tour on the Vltava river is the National Theatre. This landmark is part of New Town. Nové Město was founded outside of Old Town in the mid-14th century. The National Theatre (Národní divadlo) opened in 1883. This performing arts venue hosts opera, ballet and plays. On the right is Legion Bridge (Most Legií). This 1901 span connects to Střelecký Island in the center of the river and then the west bank.

Vltava River, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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6 Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town (Staré Město) was established during the 9th century as a walled-in settlement. Beginning in the 10th century, Old Town Square was the epicenter for merchants. Today, Staroměstské náměstí is the heart of tourism east of the Vltava river. This 4.2 acre plaza is encircled with history. The next several photos will introduce you to some of the major landmarks. A sneak preview shown here are the Jan Hus Monument and Church of Mother of God before Týn.

Staroměstské náměstí, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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7 Jan Hus Monument at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

In the center of Old Town Square is a tribute to Jan Hus. He was a priest and philosopher from Prague who dared to question many practices of the Catholic church. When the reformer was charged with heresy and burned at the stake in 1415, his martyrdom gave rise to the Hussites. They waged war against five Papal crusades until they won the right to practice their own version of Christianity in 1436. Hus is considered to be one of the early founders of Protestantism along with John Wycliffe from England. The Jan Hus Monument was created by sculptor Ladislav Šaloun in 1915.

Staroměstské náměstí, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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8 St. Nicholas Church at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

St. Nicholas Church at Old Town Square was founded in 1704 to practice the pre-Protestant teachings of Jan Hus, the early 15th century reformer of the Catholic church. The 161 foot Baroque structure was finished in 1737. Shortly after Austria-Hungary collapsed in 1918 and the Republic of Czechoslovakia became a sovereign state, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church was formed. The Church of Saint Nicholas is the parish church of its Prague diocese.

Chrám svatého Mikuláše, Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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9 Kinský Palace at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Soon after this pink, Rocco-style palace was built in Old Town Square in 1765, it was purchased by Štěpán Kinský from the House of Kinský. These nobles were princes during the Habsburg Monarchy (1526 – 1804). In 1949, Kinský Palace was acquired by National Gallery. Since it was established in 1796, Národní Galerie has become the country’s largest art museum. Their vast collection is housed in nine buildings around Prague. Each location displays a different period or genre of art. Inside the former Kinský Palace is a collection of Asian and African art.

Palác Kinských, Staroměstské nám. 1/12, 110 15 Staré Město, Czechia
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10 Týn Church at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Two successive churches were built during the 11th and 13th centuries to serve foreign merchants who conducted trade and paid customs at Týn Courtyard. This impressive Gothic replacement began in 1360 and was finished in 1511. Since then, the Church of Mother of God before Týn has been a dominant feature of Old Town Square. The 263 foot twin towers are named Adam and Eve. Mary is the oldest bell cast in 1553. After the Hussite Wars (1419-1434), Týn Church was controlled by the Hussites. They were avid reformers of the Catholic church and precursors of Protestantism. In 1620, Týnský chrám reverted back to Catholicism.

Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem, Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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11 Old Town Hall at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

In 1338, the Old Town councilors purchased the Volfin od Kamene house in Old Town Square and adapted it into Town Hall. The 172 foot Gothic clock tower was added in 1364. Adjacent homes were bought and extensions were added to Old Town Hall through the mid-18th century.

Staroměstské náměstí, 1, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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12 Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

At the base of the Old Town Hall tower is the most popular feature of Old Town Square. The first Prague Astronomical Clock by Mikuláš z Kadaně became operational in 1410. Eighty years later, it was replaced with the current masterpiece created by clockmaker Jan Růže (alias Hanuš). The calendar on the bottom displays the day, month and year. In the middle is the astronomical dial. It tracks hours and minutes in Babylonian time, Old Czech time and civil time. The sun and moon arms show their position in the sky and the zodiac. To see the third feature, stand here on the hour between 9 am and 9 pm. That is when the 12 Apostles rotate from the upper windows. The accuracy of Prague Orloj has been maintained for centuries by an assigned clock master and astronomer. Some men have served this role for decades.

Staroměstské náměstí, 1, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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13 Underground Tour of Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Next to the entrance to Old Town Hall is Staromĕstské Podzemí. This is an underground tour of the dark and dusty history of Prague. While walking through a labyrinth of brick passageways, you will learn the origin of different structures – some dating back to the 12th century – and how they morphed over time. You will read the names of prisoners incarcerated underground. You will hear the chilling tales of how citizens died while defending against the Germans during the Prague Uprising in 1945.

Staroměstské nám. 1/3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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14 House at the Minute at Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

House at the Minute was originally built in the 15th century. This was the boyhood home of Franz Kafka from 1889 until 1896. At the time of his death in 1924, few of his short stories and novels were published. The collection later achieved critical acclaim for their surreal plots. “Metamorphosis” is his most famous work about a man transformed into a large insect. The mythological, Renaissance and religious decorations on this Czech Renaissance structure (Dum u Minuty) are equally impressive. Among the Biblical motifs are Adam and Eve and Cain killing Abel. This artistic technique is called sgraffito. It is achieved by covering the façade with layers of different colored plaster then etching the surface to reveal the shades and create the images.

Staroměstské nám. 4/1, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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15 V. J. Rott Building at Malé Náměstí in Prague, Czech Republic

Follow the cobblestone street a short distance from Old Town Square to Malé náměstí. The triangular “Little Square” was established in the 14th century. The colorful facades that once housed chemists (pharmacists) are now restaurants, cafes and bars. Hard Rock Café occupies the V. J. Rott Building. It was built in 1890 for Ladislav Rott, founder of the V. J. Rott Company. The decorative frescos featuring common Bohemians are the work of Mikuláš Aleš. This prolific painter’s famous project is the façade of the National Theatre in Prague. Aleš is often called “the artist of his people.”

Malé nám. 142/3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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16 Idyllic Riverside Stroll in Prague, Czech Republic

A delightful street in Old Town for a picturesque walk is Smetanovo nábřeží. The Smetana embankment is named after 19th century Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. This short riverside esplanade stretches from Legion Bridge to Charles Bridge (Most legií to Karlův most). Along the way you will enjoy panoramic views of Malá Strana (Lesser Town) and Hradčany (Castle District) across the Vltava river. Anchoring this right bank is the Old Town Waterworks and Tower on the Novotny bridge (Novotny Lávka). Clustered around it are former mills. Are you hungry after your stroll on the Smetana waterfront? A few steps away is the Bellevue (means beautiful sight). The restaurant’s excellent cuisine with stunning scenery makes it one of the best places to eat in Prague.

Smetanovo nábř. 329/18, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
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17 St. Salvator Church at Křižovnické Náměstí in Prague, Czech Republic

On your way to the Charles Bridge, take a moment to stop at Křižovnické náměstí (Crusaders’ Square) to appreciate several of its historic features. This is the intricate Baroque façade of St. Salvator Church built in 1602 by the Jesuits. It is dedicated to Saint Salvator of Horta. He was a 16th century Franciscan brother who frequently healed the sick with a sign of the cross. The sandstone statues of saints by sculptor Jan Jirí Bendl were added in the mid-17th century. In the center is the Virgin Mary. St. Salvator Church regularly hosts wonderful organ concerts.

Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora, Křížovnické náměstí, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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18 St. Francis Church at Křižovnické Náměstí in Prague, Czech Republic

You will need to look up 135 feet to fully appreciate the dome of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The church was built in 1686 by the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star, members of the Third Order of Saint Francis. The O.M.C.R.S. is a small Catholic order established in Bohemia in 1233 to provide medical aid. Their motherhouse next to the church was constructed in the mid-13th century as a hospital. This religious order is the namesake for Crusaders’ Square. Křížovnické náměstí means Knights of the Cross Square.

Křížovnické náměstí 3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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19 Charles IV Statue at Křižovnické Náměstí in Prague, Czech Republic

Between 1346 and 1378, Charles IV was Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic). During his reign, he made Prague his capital. This resulted in significant growth and prosperity for the city. He also ordered the construction of the nearby Charles Bridge and New Town (Nové Město) plus established Charles University. This 13 foot bronze monument of the 14th century emperor – often called the father of the country – was created by sculptor Ernst Julius Hähnel and erected at Křižovnické náměstí in 1848.

Křižovnické náměstí 191/3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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20 Old Town Bridge Tower at Křižovnické Náměstí in Prague, Czech Republic

On the west side of Křižovnické náměstí is the Old Town Bridge Tower, the grand entrance to the Charles Bridge. Commissioned by Roman Emperor Charles IV and designed by Petr Parléř, this late 14th century, Gothic gate is among the finest in Europe. The Latin inscription above the arch was a dire warning to potential attackers. “Be told and watch out; he who touches me dies.” The sandstone Staroměstská mostecká věž stands 154 feet. Climb the 138 steps for a magnificent view of Old Town, Charles Bridge and the vista across the Vltava river.

Staroměstská mostecká věž, Křižovnické náměstí, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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21 Charles Bridge and Old Town in Prague, Czech Republic

This iconic view of Prague shows the Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava river as it connects with Old Town. Staré Město became a walled-in settlement after it was founded in the 9th century. Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV commissioned this namesake bridge after its predecessor, the 12th century Judith Bridge, was crippled by floodwaters in 1342. The designer was Petr Parléř, the same architect who created its eastern gate, the Old Town Bridge Tower in the center of the photo. Construction of the 16-arch bridge was finished in 1402. After an extensive restoration ending in 1978, Karlův most has been restricted to pedestrians. This very popular landmark is typically packed with camera-ready tourists taking photos of the 30 sculptures lining its 1,692 foot length.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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22 St. Ivo Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

30 statues of saints were placed along the balustrades on both sides of the Charles Bridge from 1683 to 1714. Most are now replicas. Seven originals are displayed in Lapidarium, a gallery maintained by the National Museum of Prague. Knowing these are copies does not detract from their impressiveness. The statue nearest the bridge’s eastern terminus is St. Ivo, created by Matthias Braun in 1711. Ivo of Kermartin (1253 – 1303) was initially a priest who became a judge of the Ecclesiastical court. This patron saint of lawyers is depicted protecting orphans, widows and the poor.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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23 Madonna Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

There are two statues of the Madonna along the north side of Charles Bridge. This statuary is the work of Matěj Václav Jäcke. It was unveiled in 1708. On the left is Saint Dominic (1170 – 1221). While a Catholic priest, Dominic of Caleruega founded the Dominican Order in 1216. Holding the Bible is Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274). This Dominican friar was a great philosopher and theologian. His doctrines included the nature of God, sin and the Trilogy.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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24 St. Xavier Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

The original statue of St. Francis Xavier on the Charles Bridge was sculpted by Ferdinand Brokoff in 1711. In 1890, this and another sculpture plummeted into the Vltava river when three arches collapsed during a major flood. It was reproduced in 1913. Francis Xavier (1506 – 1552) was a Spanish Jesuit and founder of the Society of Jesus. This sculpture portrays his extensive missionary travels throughout Asia and India to convert people to Christianity.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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25 John the Baptist Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

John the Baptist was a preacher and prophet who, according to the New Testament, baptized Jesus. His image was produced by Josef Max and placed on the Charles Bridge in 1857. Frankly, when standing at this spot, your eyes are diverted to the enormous Prague Castle with the spires of St. Vitus Cathedral in the middle. Your excitement and anticipation build for visiting them in Hradčany, the Castle District.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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26 St. John of Nepomuk Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

In 1683, this likeness of St. John of Nepomuk with a five-star halo was the first statue to be placed on the Charles Bridge. It marks where he was tortured and then thrown off the bridge in 1383. His “crime” was not telling Wenceslaus IV, the King of Bohemia, the confessions of his wife, Queen Johanna of Bavaria. John of Nepomuk was canonized in 1729 for his willingness to die versus betray the Seal of the Confessional. The sculpture was created by Matthias Rauchmüller and Jan Brokoff and unveiled 300 years after John of Nepomuk’s martyrdom.

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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27 Lesser Town Bridge Towers in Prague, Czech Republic

At the west end of the Charles Bridge are two gates created in the Late Middle Ages. The taller one, built in 1464, resembles the Old Town Bridge Tower designed by Petr Parléř. It stands 143 feet and offers a great viewing platform toward the top. The smaller tower dates from 1172 when it was part of the Judith Bridge. After crumbling in 1342, it was rebuilt in 1591. Collectively, they are called the Lesser Town Bridge Towers. This is the English translation for Malá Strana, the district of Prague you are now entering. In the center are the dome and clock tower of St. Nicholas Church, not to be confused with the one of the same name in Old Town.

Malostranská mostecká věž, 57, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
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28 Bridge Street in Prague, Czech Republic

After walking beneath the arch shared by the Lesser Town Bridge Towers, you enter Bridge Street (Mostecká). This cobblestone street is flanked by colorful houses built from the 14th through 18th centuries. They display Renaissance, Baroque and sometimes Rococo facades. The lower levels are occupied by boutique shops, restaurants and bars all catering to passing tourists

Malostranské nám. 38/24, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
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29 Lesser Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Lesser Town Square (Malostranské Square) has been the cultural and social center of Malá Strana since the 10th century. This also used to be an Italian market. Its visually dominate landmark is St. Nicholas Church. But the modest plaza is also defined by Kaiserstein Palace (rebuilt in 1700) and this former city hall constructed in 1478. Malostranska Beseda housed the mayor and town council members. In 1868, it was converted into a cultural center. The three cupolas were added in 2008 to resemble those from the 17th century. The historic Renaissance building hosts a music and theatre club plus a restaurant and cafe.

Malostranské nám. 35/21, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
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30 St. Nicholas Church in Lesser Town in Prague, Czech Republic

St. Nicholas Church in Lesser Town is considered to be the finest example of High Baroque architecture in Prague. The church was commissioned by the Jesuits and placed next to the late 17th century Jesuit college in Lesser Town Square, now part of Charles University. Phase one of the church’s construction began in 1673. This wave-like western façade was completed in 1711. Among its nine statues is the likeness of Saint Nicholas in the central niche. It was sculpted by Jan Bedřich Kohl. St. Nicholas Church was not finished until 1775 … over 100 years in the making. Inside is an organ with over 4,000 pipes installed in 1747. The instrument was once played by the famous composer Wolfgang Mozart.

Kostel sv. Mikuláše, Malostranské nám., 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
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31 Spires and Dome of Churches in Lesser Town in Prague, Czech Republic

This elevated view shows the magnificent copper dome and bell tower of St. Nicholas Church. They define the skyline of Lesser Town at 259 feet. The 66 foot diameter dome was finished in 1752 and the belfry was added within three years. On the left are the twin towers of St. Thomas Church. It was founded by Wenceslaus II for Augustinian hermits. He was the King of Bohemia from 1278 until 1305. Several versions of the church were built and destroyed until this Baroque structure was consecrated in 1731. Kostel svatého Tomáše was designed by Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer. He was also one of the architects for St. Nicholas Church. This vista of Lesser Town is from the 16th century Lobkowicz Palace within Prague Castle. Lobkowický palác is an art museum containing over 1,500 paintings.

Vyhlídka u Černé věže, Jiřská, 119 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
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32 Historical Overview of Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

In the Hradčany district is the world’s largest castle. It measures 1,870 feet long. The interior is an incredible 750,000 square feet. Prague Castle began in the late 9th century while Bořivoj I was the Duke of Bohemia from 867 until 889. It was extended several times over the centuries. Major expansions were commissioned by King Ottokar II of Bohemia (13th century), Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (14th century), Vladislaus II of Hungary (1471 – 1516), Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I (16th century) and Empress Maria Theresa (mid-18th century). Prague Castle was partially destroyed during the Hussite Wars (early 15th century), a fire in 1541, the Second Defenestration of Prague and the subsequent Thirty Years Wars (first half of 17th century) plus the War of the Australian Succession (mid-18th century). The castle was also occupied by the Germans during World War II and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia after the coup d’état in 1948. The Czech Republic was formed in 1993 when Václav Havel became the first president. This is the castle’s First Courtyard, built in 1765.

První nádvoří Pražského hradu, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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33 Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

The presidential guards change hourly at Prague Castle. The best ceremony is at noon when throngs of people press along the First Courtyard fence to witness the formation and subsequent parade. Afterwards, tourists fan out into the castle complex to explore the numerous churches, palaces, towers, halls, historic buildings and gardens. Your options are to purchase a two-day pass or tickets for a long or short tour. Regardless of your choice, you will be amazed at this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site.

První nádvoří Pražského hradu, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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34 Guard at Entrance of Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle is the official residence of the Czech Republic’s president. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are also stored inside. Protecting both are the jobs of 660 Castle Guards. They are an elite division of the Czech army established in 1918 when Charles III, the last King of Bohemia, abdicated the throne and Czechoslovakia became a sovereign state. This sentry is standing in front of a watch house outside the First Courtyard, also called the Square of Honor. He is wearing the blue summer dress uniform for lower officers. The 52/57 semi-automatic rifle is used for ceremonial purposes.

První nádvoří Pražského hradu, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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35 History of St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

St. Vitus Cathedral is the country’s largest and most impressive religious structure. Its origin dates back to the first church built on this site in 930. It was replaced in 1060. The current structure began in 1344 and became the passion of Charles IV during his reign from 1346 until 1378 while the King of the Romans and Bohemia. Much of its Gothic design is attributed to Matthias of Arras. When he died, the massive project was assigned to 23 year old Petr Parléř, the same architect entrusted to build the Charles Bridge and Old Town Bridge Tower plus layout the New Town of Prague. Progress stopped during the Hussite Wars (1419 – 1434) and would not resume for over 400 years. These twin towers were among the last features to be added. In 1929, the construction of St. Vitus Cathedral was declared finished – 585 years after it began.

Hrad III. nádvoří 48/2, 119 01 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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36 St. Vitus Cathedral Tympanum at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

You will begin your tour of St. Vitus Cathedral at the western entrance. Lines are typically long, so you will have time to appreciate this tympanum below the large rose window and above the bronze doors. The central reliefs portray three stations of the cross: #10 Jesus is stripped of his clothes; #12 Jesus dies on the cross; and #13 Jesus is taken down from the cross.

Hrad III. nádvoří 48/2, 119 01 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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37 St. Vitus Cathedral Nave at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

You are humbled by the grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral’s nave as you walk down the center aisle. The crisscrossing ribs of the ceiling were unique during the 14th century, a design called Parler’s vaults after the architect. Equally impressive are the tall columns accented with wooden carvings. Along the sides are ornate chapels enhanced by the sunlight streaming through stained glass. Near the high altar is the Royal Mausoleum where several Czech leaders, patron saints and archbishops are encrypted. Don’t miss seeing St. Wenceslas Chapel where Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia, is buried after being assassinated in 935. Behind this chapel are the Bohemian Coronation Jewels.

Hrad III. nádvoří 48/2, 119 01 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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38 St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle has four churches. Most people focus on the visually dominate St. Vitus Cathedral. But St. George’s Basilica is also historically important. It was built in 920 and accompanied by a Benedictine convent 53 years later. The founder was Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia. He was the son of Bořivoj I who built the Přemyslid fort on Hradčany mountain that would become Prague Castle. This Roman Catholic church was extensively renovated during the 12th, 17th and early 20th centuries. It now doubles as a concert hall and houses the Bohemian Art Collection managed by the National Gallery of Prague.

Bazilika svatého Jiří, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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39 Maria Theresa Entrance at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle was heavily damaged during the 1742 Siege of Prague, part of the War of the Australian Succession. When the fighting ended in 1748 and Maria Theresa’s claim as Queen of Hungary was vindicated, the Empress hired Nicolo Pacassi to begin extensive renovations of Prague Castle. Among the additions was this Maria Theresa Entrance to Rosenberg Palace, an Institute for Noblewomen. The first abbess of this school in 1755 was the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa.

Nám. U Svatého Jiří 2/1, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
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40 Our Lady of Loreto in Prague, Czech Republic

Near the Prague Castle is Our Lady of Loreto, also spelled Loreta. It is worth visiting. You will hear the thirty bells ringing from the belfry – they chime hourly – long before you reach the Church of the Nativity. This site is a Marian pilgrimage maintained by Capuchin monks. Inside is a replica of Santa Casa, the house where the Virgin Mary experienced the Annunciation when Archangel Gabriel proclaimed she was pregnant with the Son of God. Loreto Prague also has an extensive collection of sacred art and treasures. The most impressive is the Prague Sun, a monstrance used to display the Eucharist covered with 6,222 diamonds.

Loretánské nám. 7, 118 00 Praha 1, Czechia
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41 Resistance Flag Monument in Prague, Czech Republic

German occupation of Czechoslovakia began in 1938. On March 16, 1939, Adolph Hitler sat in the Prague Castle and proclaimed Czechoslovakia to be part of the new Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Several resistance movements were initiated through 1944 but failed. In retaliation, the Germans arrested and killed thousands. The Prague Uprising was the final revolt on May 5 – 9, 1945, when citizens confronted the Nazis in bloody battle until securing Prague’s liberation. The Resistance Flag Monument is a tribute to those who fought and died during the German occupation. This Czech Republic flag sculpture was created by Vladimír Preclík and erected in Klárov Park in 2005.

Klárov, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana, Czechia
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42 Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic

From the Resistance Flag Monument you leave Lesser Town (Malá Strana) by crossing the Mánes Bridge (Mánesův most). On the other side of the Vltava river is Old Town again. As you approach the Aleš Embankment, you can’t miss seeing Rudolfinum. Since 1885, this has been Prague’s main concert hall. It is also home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. On the backside of this Neoclassical building designed by Josef Zítek is Galerie Rudolfinum. This art museum features temporary and rotating exhibitions.

Nám. J. Palacha, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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43 Antonín Dvořák Statue at Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic

On Jan Palach Square in front of the Rudolfinum is this statue of Antonín Dvořák. He was born near Prague in 1841 and gained international acclaim as a composer of symphonies and operas during the late 19th century. He was also the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City towards the end of his career. He had the honor of conducting Rudolfinum’s first concert in 1896. He was also a teacher at the conservatoire. The Rudolfinum’s main concert hall is named in his honor. This bronze tribute was sculpted by Jan Wagner in 2000.

Nám. J. Palacha, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
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44 Powder Tower in Prague, Czech Republic

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, Old Town was encircled by a wall, moat and 13 gates. The moats and walls are gone but Powder Tower is part of the original fortification. The name reflects its former role for storing gun powder. Prašná brána was built in 1475 to protect the southern entrance to Old Town. Its design by Matĕj Rejsek resembles the Old Town Bridge Tower at the north end along the Vltava river. Powder Tower has a history of being the start of the Royal Route. This is the procession path to Prague Castle taken during the coronation of Czech monarchs. This demarcation between Old and New Towns stands 213 feet. You can enjoy the views from its observation deck by climbing 186 steps.

Prašná brána, nám. Republiky 5, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
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45 Municipal House in Prague, Czech Republic

The Royal Court once stood adjacent to Powder Tower. This was the residence of Bohemia kings from 1383 until 1515. The palace then became a seminary and later an army barracks before being torn down in 1903 to make way for the Municipal House. Six years after Měšťanská beseda was built, it witnessed history when the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence was announced here in 1918. Municipal House is primarily a concert hall but also a venue for exhibitions and conferences. It has a magnificent Art Nouveau design inside and out, thanks to the talents of Osvald Polívka. The façade is enhanced with a mosaic called “Homage to Prague” painted by Karel Špillar. The statues bearing lanterns on their shoulders are allegories for the humiliation and rebirth of the nation. They were created in 1911 by Ladislav Šaloun, the same artist who sculpted the Jan Hus Monument in Old Town Square.

Obecní dům, nám. Republiky 5, 111 21 Staré Město, Czechia
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46 Jindrisska Tower in Prague, Czech Republic

Jindrisska Tower is Prague’s tallest, free-standing bell tower at 216 feet. It was built with wood in 1475 and then stone 25 years later. Jindřišská věž was restored four times by the late 19th century after being damaged by war, fire and storms. The campanile was constructed for the adjacent Church of St Henry and St Kunhuta so some people call it St. Henry’s Tower. In the lower right is the copper-topped spire of the Catholic church. It was founded in 1348, the same year the New Town of Prague was established.

Jindřišská věž, Jindřišská, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
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47 East View of New Town from Jindrisska Tower in Prague, Czech Republic

Most tourists do not visit Jindrisska Tower. Fewer yet climb the stairs – an elevator is also available – to enjoy the panoramic views of Prague from the tenth floor. Also inside the tower is a museum, a restaurant and a unique chance to see the bells of a carillon. This is the eastern view of New Town. In the center is Žižkov Television Tower. Since the broadcasting transmission tower was built in 1992, it has been Prague’s tallest structure at 709 feet. Its observation deck is at 305 feet. Most of the city’s skyscrapers are located in the Pankrác district outside of Prague’s historic core.

Jindřišská věž, Jindřišská, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
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48 South View of New Town from Jindrisska Tower in Prague, Czech Republic

The New Town (Nové Město) quarter of Prague is hardly new. It was established in 1348 by the command of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia from 1346 until 1378. This expansion outside of the walls of Old Town was laid out by Petr Parléř, the same young architect entrusted to build the Charles Bridge and manage the expansion of St. Vitus Cathedral. This is the southern view of New Town from Jindrisska Tower. On the right is the National Museum. Below that dome is a collection of 14 million natural and historical items. The twin spires in the center are the crown of the Church of St. Ludmila, built in 1892.

Jindřišská věž, Jindřišská, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
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