Prague is rightfully the most popular tourist city in Europe. Numerous travelers are attracted here by the indescribable atmosphere of the Middle Ages and numerous sights of Prague, surrounded by legends. You can come here again and again, but even then you won’t be able to explore all the interesting monuments and places. This is the city that opens up something new every time. Prague has everything a tourist needs, from excellent Czech cuisine and the best beer in the world, to numerous festivals and celebrations that take place in city squares. According to statistics, about 6 million tourists come here every year. In this article I will tell you about what attracts such a huge number of people to the capital of the Czech Republic. So let’s start our tour of the most prominent sights of the city.
Numerous tourists associate Prague with a historical complex of buildings in the city center. Due to its colossal size, Prague Castle was placed in the Guinness Book of Records. The whole complex is included in the list of protected world heritage sites of UNESCO. Prague Castle includes palaces, cathedrals, museums and many other objects. The Czech government still holds its meetings here. Archaeological excavations are underway on the territory of the complex, thanks to which many interesting discoveries have been made. Praguers call this place a city within a city for a reason. Prague Castle for Chekhov is associated with statehood and is its key pillar.
Franz Kafka Museum
This landmark of Prague will be of interest not only to admirers of Franz Kafka’s work, but also to ordinary tourists due to its unusual design and sculptures. The history of the creation of the Franz Kafka Museum, which began with an exhibition organized in Barcelona, is also interesting. She proved so popular that she moved to New York and then returned to her permanent residence in Prague. A historical building was allocated for the museum, where today an exposition about the life and work of the famous philosopher is shown. As soon as you get into the courtyard of the museum, then immediately pay attention to the unusual sculptural composition with pissing figures. It becomes clear that visiting the museum will be interesting…
This majestic Gothic cathedral is located on the Old Town Square. Its history dates back to the 14th century, but it took almost two centuries to build. Not only the exterior of the Tyn Cathedral is interesting, but also what is inside. Under several dozen altars, the remains of important personalities in the history of Prague are buried. You will be able to recognize this cathedral from afar by its 80 meter spiers, towering above the rest of the buildings in the city center. Do not miss the chance to visit this place with a guided tour, which takes place at any time of the year.
Museum of Alchemy and Magic
Around Prague there is an atmosphere of mysticism and mystery, so it is not surprising that there is a museum of alchemists and magicians here. This is a very popular place, which is unfairly ignored by some tourists. And even though the Alchemists Museum is not included in the list of mass landmarks, it will be very interesting for anyone who wants to get to know the atmosphere of the Middle Ages better. The architectural structure in which the museum is located is also noteworthy. This house is considered one of the oldest in Prague, the first mention of which was back in the 900s. When visiting the sights of Prague, be sure to include this place in your plan.
Wenceslas Square in Prague
Wenceslas Square is located in the new city and is the starting point for all excursions in Prague. This is not only a cultural, but also a political center, where important events often take place. Luxurious Prague hotels, famous restaurants and shops, as well as offices of the world’s leading companies are concentrated here. At the most important point of the square, there is a sculpture of the patron saint of the Czech Republic, Wenceslas. Today, crowds of tourists roam here, but in the Middle Ages, executions were often held on the square. However, over time, this tradition has sunk into oblivion. On both sides, houses of wealthy merchants and prominent figures of the Czech Republic grew up.
Prague is not only old, but also modern architecture with art. Museum lovers will definitely like the Kampa Museum, which reflects the latest trends in Czech art. Here you will find a number of extremely unusual exhibits, including unusual figures, structures made of strange materials and many other things that are unlikely to be found in real life, not to mention the exhibitions of other classical museums. Despite the modern theme, the Kampa Museum retains the style of the Middle Ages inherent in Prague.
The Charles Bridge
The most recognizable landmark of Prague is the medieval Charles Bridge over the Vltava River. The bridge connects the Old and New Towns, having received its name in honor of Emperor Charles IV. Over the centuries, there have already been attempts to build several structures of a similar plan, which were destroyed by floods. The emperor decided to radically influence the situation and ordered the construction of a capital Stone Bridge. So the Charles Bridge appeared, along which the emperor could get to his castle. Today it is one of the most visited places in Prague where life is always in full swing. Also noteworthy are the sculptures along the bridge depicting Czech saints and statesmen. On the Charles Bridge, musicians constantly perform, paintings and souvenirs are sold.
Dancing House of Prague
The Dancing House is another modern landmark of the Czech capital, which has long caused massive controversy among local residents. The President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel insisted on the construction of such a modern building, thanks to which the building appeared. At first glance, it is difficult to understand the intricacies of its forms and lines, but the architect’s idea implied the image of a couple of lovers merged in a passionate dance. As often happens, over time, this building has merged into the architectural appearance of Prague and no longer causes such rejection among the Czechs. The Dancing House is included in the list of many city tours as a popular architectural monument of Prague.
Karlštejn is a popular castle around Prague. It is located three dozen kilometers from the city and is an impregnable defensive structure, where important documents were kept from ancient times, and the royal treasury was also located. Karlštejn Castle was built for the Emperor of the Roman Empire, Charles IV, who independently managed the work and oversaw the process. During a tour of Karlstejn, you can immerse yourself in the world of the past, observing the life of the rulers and their sacred artifacts.
Petřín Hill is not only the highest point in Prague, but also an important historical place. Since ancient times, pagans have performed their rituals here, bringing sacrifices to their gods. Today this place is a popular point on the map of Prague. Among the sights of the Hill, it is worth noting the tower visible from afar, along with the observatory and gardens. Many also visit the famous mirror maze, trying to solve the puzzle and find a way out. This is an attraction for persistent tourists, as many cannot withstand the complex interweaving of turns and experience strong fear.
Old Royal Palace
The Old Royal Palace was the residence of Czech kings in the 12th-16th centuries. But even before the construction of the castle, there were already other buildings on this site, which was repeatedly proved by researchers. A powerful fortress with defensive structures appeared in order to protect against enemy attacks. Subsequently, reconstructions and additions were repeatedly carried out, which was reflected in the buildings of the Gothic style on the site of former Roman houses.
The Prague Zoo is one of the most popular and visited in Europe. It was founded in the twentieth century as the Zoological Garden, but gradually increased in size and became a full-fledged zoo. Here you will find many enclosures with a variety of species of animals and birds. The Prague Zoo also has a rather unusual enclosure, where conditions are almost identical to the jungle. What is even more interesting, visitors have the opportunity to enter there and immerse themselves in the world of wildlife, having studied everything thoroughly. The zoo also breeds animals, including many rare species that have virtually disappeared from their natural habitats. This Prague attraction is very popular as a destination for family excursions. children are always interested in close communication with animals and representatives of the feathered world.
Another palace in the vicinity of Prague — Troja Castle was built in the Baroque style and is surrounded by magnificent well-groomed gardens. In its style, it is somewhat reminiscent of familiar Italian palaces. Initially, the palace was owned by the famous Sternberg family, but then changed hands several times. Today, inside there is a Museum with an exhibition of paintings by masters of the 19th century. During the tour, you will be able to walk through the rooms and halls of the Troy Castle, but the Imperial Hall with frescoes in honor of the exploits of the Habsburg rulers deserves the closest attention. When visiting the sights of Prague, it is sometimes useful to deviate from traditional routes and explore similar places.
Vysehrad is the most important fortress in the history of the Czech Republic, as well as the historical center of Prague. Already in the tenth century, an impregnable fortress was built on this territory, around which Prague gradually formed, getting upset block by block. Here you will find Prague’s unique architectural landmarks, including the Roman rotunda and the Peter and Paul Basilica. Many connoisseurs of Gothic architecture also visit the Vysehrad cemetery, where tours of the dungeon are held. During this trip you will get a lot of thrills. From the observation terrace of vysehrad, a magnificent view of Prague and its architectural ensemble opens up. There are so many places where you can sit and admire one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Professional guides advise you to go on a tour of Vygeshrad early in the morning, when the streets are covered with a haze of fog, and the crowds of tourists have not yet left their hotels.
St. Vitus Cathedral
A lot has already been said about this place on LifeGlobe. St. Vitus Cathedral is the main cathedral of Prague and is located on the territory of the Prague Castle. It is actually dedicated to three saints at once: Vitus, Wenceslas and St. Voytek. Already in the tenth century, a small basilica was built on this territory, which was subsequently upset and expanded. The construction of St. Vitus Cathedral took several centuries and the final work was completed only in 1929. During the tour, do not miss the chance to climb the stairs to the highest point of the cathedral, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city. Given that this is one of the city’s most popular monuments, get ready to stand in line in front of the cathedral gates.
Strahov Monastery in Prague
The Strahov Monastery is open to tourists as a museum, a library, and a religious shrine. Everyone knows that this is one of the oldest monasteries in the Czech Republic, built in the 12th century. Strahov in Czech means “guard”, which is not surprising, since it was the territory of the defensive Prague outpost. The monastery has been reconstructed and rebuilt throughout its history, thanks to which a number of eras have been reflected in its architectural style. If you like religious architecture, then you must visit this place.
The National Theater of Prague has become a real symbol of the cultural renaissance of the Czech Republic. For many, it is a commemoration of the struggle against the Austro-Hungarian authorities, which in every possible way prevented the formation of the Czech people. Funds for the construction of the theater were collected throughout the country, and the opening finally took place in 1871. This landmark of Prague is located on the embankment of the Vltava River. You will be impressed not only by the façade, but also by the interiors of the magnificent building.
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is in no way inferior to Wenceslas Square in its significance. It is located in the heart of the old town of Prague, in the very historical center. The square was founded in the 12th century, merchants gathered here and it was always crowded. Today, many monuments from different periods are concentrated around the Old Town Square, which are definitely worth exploring. Of particular interest is the tower with the legendary Astronomical Clock, around which crowds of tourists gather.
National Museum in Prague
The Neo-Renaissance building of the National Museum in Prague was designed by the outstanding architect D. Schultz. This is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of the Czech Republic. The exposition includes many collections with historical exhibits, as well as coins, medals, sculptures and weapons. The museum also houses a library with collections of rare books. The main building of the museum is a work of architecture, and its facade is in no way inferior to medieval castles and palaces.
Among the most famous tourist corners of Prague, it is worth mentioning the district of Hradcany in the west. Hradcany was founded to accommodate the palace servants, but the household premises were destroyed by fire, and magnificent palaces and villas of wealthy Praguers appeared in their place. Over the centuries, Hradcany has become strongly associated with an elite residence. Many religious buildings appeared here, as well as the Old Town Hall along with other sights of Prague.
Monument to the Victims of Communism
The Monument to the Victims of Communism is one of the most modern in Prague. It was created in 2002 by the architect Zubek. According to his idea, the monument depicts the hardships of the life of political prisoners during the period of communist rule in the Czech Republic. The composition of the memorial includes 7 sculptures descending the stairs. Each of them has some kind of defect, which intensifies as you descend.
Zizkov TV Tower
The Zizkov TV Tower is visible far beyond Prague. This is a working television tower several hundred meters high. Such an unusual sight caused a lot of controversy among architectural critics. Someone considers it a masterpiece of engineering, while others call it ugliness on the body of a magnificent city. However, it is a very popular tourist destination. People come here for the observation deck at a height of 93 meters, an excellent restaurant with panoramic windows, as well as a hotel where you can book a room for a few days.
Many lists of Prague landmarks unfairly miss the Powder Tower. This Gothic structure once served as the main city gate, and in the eighteenth century it housed a gunpowder store. Today, the gate serves as the entrance to the Old Town, and also houses a museum with a small exhibition of photographs and a viewing terrace. The facade of the tower is a clear evidence of the harsh architecture of the Middle Ages. Most tourists pass through the gate and do not linger at the tower, following to the heart of Old Prague. But I recommend that you explore the Powder Tower in more detail.
The street-museum, unique within Europe, is located on the territory of the Prague Castle. Here are small houses with fabulous figures. In the sixteenth century, numerous jewelers and chasers from the Czech treasury worked in the area, which is why the street got its name. It is not surprising that there are many legends around the Golden Lane. The most common of these speaks of alchemists who could turn any other material into gold. People lived here until the Second World War, after which the street became a museum and a popular tourist attraction in Prague.
Continuing the theme of Prague streets, it is definitely worth mentioning Vinarna Chertovka. This is the narrowest street in Prague, where several people are unlikely to disperse. Its width reaches only 70 centimeters. For this, a unique solution was invented — to put a special traffic light, which indicates the possibility of passage in one direction or another. You probably have a question, where did the name of the street come from? Quite simply, Vinarna Chertovka was named after a nearby winery.
Prague’s Jewish Quarter has a number of unique sights, including the old Jewish cemetery. The history of this place, based on the site of the Jewish ghetto of the 11th century, is also interesting. Now it is an elite residence in the city center, although once the poorest segments of the population lived in a densely populated area. During the tour of the Jewish Quarter, the guide will certainly tell you the legend of the Golem — one of the most popular Prague stories for tourists.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of Prague. Each of these places has a separate story on the pages of LifeGlobe, which will help you plan your trip and visit interesting landmarks in Prague.