Prague's bewitching must-sees

«Magic Prague», «Surrealist Prague», «Mysterious Prague»… Words are no longer enough to describe the Czech capital that reflects all the architectural, historical, and imaginary periods of our past. On the square of the Old Town, colorful Romanesque facades are a place among the narrow, narrow Art Nouveau and Baroque or Gothic towers. The saints of the Charles Bridge and the church Saint-Nicolas in the district of Malá Strana give the baroque era all its demeasurement when the astronomical clock of the xve century reminds all visitors that the old stone never dies. All those who went to Prague will tell you that it is a city full of charm, romantic, just like Venice or Florence. And like Berlin or Barcelona, Prague enjoys a contemporary cultural momentum and an unparalleled animation between art centers such as DOX, innovative and affordable gourmet restaurants and many underground bars. Prague never sleeps… From baroque to contemporary, from Gothic to Renaissance, Prague is a city full of contrasts of centuries of a preserved civilization. This town doesn't visit, she lives.

If you want to have the best view of Prague, it is probably from its gardens that go down to Mala Strana that you will get it. Overlooking the city, the castle is a stunning blend of architectural styles mainly Renaissance and Baroque. Every day at noon, don't miss the "great" guard at the entrance to the site, the gate Mathias, the oldest vestiges of the castle. In the center, a beautiful baroque fountain of 1686 and a Renaissance well are the most remarkable elements of this space developed by Pleč ˇ nik. In the southeast corner, the Sainte-Croix chapel unveils the treasure of Saint Guy Cathedral. Its 82 m arrow dominates the city and its stained glass windows allow light to pass, including those of Alphonse Mucha, the greatest Czech painter of Art Nouveau. Not to mention the Basilica and the convent Saint George. The castle visit would not be complete either without seeing the gold alley. Its picturesque character will surprise you. His colorful maisonettes were occupied, according to legend, by the alchemists who worked for Emperor Rodolphe II, who dreamed of discovering the famous elixir of jouvence or the philosopher's stone. Don't miss the maisonette at # 22 where the famous writer, Franz Kafka, found inspiration.

You won't come back from Prague without going through the Charles Bridge, if you can get a path in its crowd of tourists who never distil and its music orchestras. Even if, according to the season, you're taking Vltava into a desert space and dressed with a simple layer of snow. Rythmé by the statues signed by the greatest sculptors, framed by massive towers at its ends, it is not only a monument, it is above all the link between the old town and the "small side", the one borrowed from kings to join the castle: the famous Royal Route. Begun in 1357, the work will end only at the end of the fifteenth century and statues, illustrating the religious history of the city, will take place only in 1683. Connecting the two most beautiful districts of Prague, it also offers a sublime view of the city to the hundred bell towers and the prestigious monuments that border the Vltava. Until 1850, the Charles Bridge was the only bridge in Prague. Morning or night visits allow you to appreciate the details of each of his statues that will not leave you marble…

The square of the Old Town will certainly be your first contact with Prague, where the heart of the city beats. So many beautiful things per square meter… What makes you lose your head! Guided by the towers of the church of Tyn, Saint-Nicolas and that of the astronomical clock adjacent to the city hall, all three seem to draw a path to the statue of the reformers Jan Hus, work of Ladislav Šaloun. The houses framing the square have their say also, with beautiful frescoes and beautiful baroque or Renaissance facades such as the Stone Lamb, the Golden Licorne or the Goltz-Kinsky Palace, a rococo palace where Kafka's father held a shop. You will certainly focus on the astronomical clock, miracle of technique that has correctly indicated for almost 600 years not only the time and date but also the position of the sun, the phases of the month, the astronomical cycles and the Christian calendar celebrations. The clock animates all the hours with the apostles and statuettes moving until its imposing carillon at the top of the tower ends the agitation. This place offers an incomparable atmosphere during Christmas holidays, where it turns into a winter kingdom full of lights and perfumes.

In the heart of the Jewish quarter, north of the old town, the Jewish cemetery keeps alive the wonderful legend of Golem, this clay being shaped by Rabbi Loew and with an superhuman force whose mission was to defend the ghetto. Visit the graveyard early in the morning to enjoy the magical and enigmatic atmosphere of the site, and start searching for the tomb of the rabbi, hidden among the 12,000 guinea pig stacks, because this graveyard founded in the xve century on a restricted terrain sees the graves tangling and superseding ask in deafening chaos. The silence of the place and the cries of crows sitting on the trees contributing strongly to its darkness. Some 100 000 dead are buried in the land of this cemetery. That is why some stalls are considered and even half fallen. The oldest tomb, dating back to 1439, is that of the writer Avigdor Kara. The decoration of tombstones makes it possible to discover belonging to the family or the profession of the deceased, because the sculpted symbols always have meaning. A but located at the corner of the cemetery indicates where the dead children were buried before the age of one year. To take full advantage of the visit, start your day early by discovering the Jewish Museum, an entry point for this enchanting sanctuary.

The Wenceslas Square reflects the architectural evolution of the Czech capital. There are all styles: Renaissance, Art Nouveau (in Prague, "Secession"), Art Deco, functionalism… Every building seems to bear part of the history of the city! But don't expect a place, rather to a avenue, with its 750 m long and 60 m wide! It rises or descends through the middle promenade, between traffic routes, and is dominated by the very imposing National Museum (Národní muzeum) in a cohesive architectural unit. This place is also the weight of history. At the foot of the museum, Jan Palach was immolated by fire in 1969 to protest against the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. Lower, on the balcony of the Melantrichova building, Havel spoke a certain day of November 1989, and it was the Velvet revolution. Some buildings bordering it are remarkable by their architecture, but do not pass alongside the amazing covered passages, especially the one of Lucerna, the most spectacular.

John Lennon never set foot in Prague, but he was at the time a symbol of freedom and peace for Czech students, censored by the communist regime. After the assassination of the former Beatles singer in New York in 1980, someone drew his face on this wall of a small square in Prague (Lazenska Street) to pay tribute to him. But the police hasten to erase it. Then it is drawn again. The police erase it again. And this little game of cat and mouse lasts until the end of the diet. But the maneuvers of power will not have discouraged the Praguois from filling every parcel of that wall. Today, graffiti has taken the proportion of a wall of fifteen meters. Very colorful, the words of love and peace replaced slogans against the regime: Free love, freedom, revolution and pop music, this wall represents much more than John Lennon's memory, it also embodies freedom of expression, hope and dreams of a generation. John Lennon's original portrait has long been erased behind the layers constantly renewed, but if you persist, you can still find tributes and a yellow submarine!

At the end of Karlova Street, just before crossing the Charles Bridge, the Klementinum is the largest architectural ensemble in Prague after the castle. Built on the site of a former Dominican monastery, this complex is named after a former Romanesque shrine, the church Saint-Clément. A very small part is open to the public, but fortunately it is not the least interesting. Following the guided tour, we discovered the splendid Baroque library and its historical collection of land and celestial globes, founded by Charles University in 1800, with a total of nearly three million volumes constituting the National Library fund. Then direction the astronomical tower where many astronomical instruments of different eras are rushing up to the top, from where a panoramic view is spread, the Charles Bridge at the forefront. Among the three churches of the complex, Saint-Sauveur (Sv. Salvátora) is the one closest to the Charles Bridge with its Renaissance façade dating back to 1659. The baroque church Saint-Clément was built in 1711. Finally, the chapel at the Miroirs (Zrcadlova Kaple), built in 1724, visited concerts.

As the music is the venery of the cultural and social life of Russia, the extraordinary museum devoted to it, in the district of Mala Strana, is an exciting visit even for the neophytes. Modern and highly interactive, among the approximately 3,000 instruments exposed, unique pieces of their kind, even fully experimental, imagined by the best craftsmen of the Czech Republic, and even the rest of the world, are made accessible. Especially luxurious harpsichords, painted with orientalizing motifs and trimmed with scales of scales, nacre or ivory, the pianos, squares and pyramidals, so different depending on the times or the majestic Empire-style lyres. With the audio helmets, you can listen to the tonalities they produce (or produce) and report on the differences between the song and the song with which it is played. Copper, stringed instruments and wind instruments. In the former church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, whose nef has been transformed into a reception hall, concerts are regularly given in season, benefiting from the excellent acoustics of the building.

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