I recently purchased my first SLR camera. With the pride of new ownership came unprecedented enthusiasm for shooting in my home town, Prague. The Golden City is an easy place to find artistic inspiration. Almost every street appears picture perfect: countless buildings are decorated with intricate stone engravings and gargoyles. Looking skyward reveals a plethora of red roofs and church spires. Some images of Prague (such as the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock) are almost iconic; Prague Castle especially so, as it glows luminous in the summer sun and sparkles in the snow and frost throughout the winter.
The only struggle for the novice photographer in a city this photogenic is seeking out the lesser known corners, to find a vantage point of your very own.
For this reason, I bring you Prague’s best alternative viewpoints.
1) A view of the Castle, from another castle
Prague’s ‘other’ castle at Vysehrad is virtually ignored by most visitors to Prague (and some locals) but is well worth a visit. Situated on a rocky outcrop just south of the centre, Vysehrad (which means “castle on the heights)” offers a stunning view looking back over the city and Prague’s ‘main’ castle. Vysehrad Park in the west of Vysehrad is a beautiful location for a peaceful walk on the winding path offering sweeping views. The area also houses the splendid Vysehrad cemetery where the likes of Mucha and Dvorak are buried.
V Pevnosti 159/5b, Praha 2, 128 00, +420 241 410 348praha-vysehrad.cz
Google map: bit.ly/oQihqR
2) Simply messing about in boats – the view from the river
One of the most relaxing ways to spend a summer afternoon in the Czech capital is to hire a pedalo and cruise the Vltava. For around 200 CZK (approx £7) for two hours, bring a cool drink and a good friend and take a leisurely peddle up and down the river (between the two weirs, before it gets too wild!). The river offers far more unspoilt views of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle than are possible to achieve at street level and so is great for landscape shots of these famous landmarks.
3) A view of history – the view from Vitkov memorial
Vitkov Memorial overlooks the red roofs of Prague from high up on Vitkov Hill. The Memorial’s café offers a spectacular view across the East of the city and the opposite end of this imposing structure is roof-top open air view point offering a stunning aspect of the whole of Prague.
As well as the view, Vitkov memorial offers a host of attractions including the world’s largest equestrian statue (standing proudly at around about 9 meters high), a very tourist-friendly exhibition of 20th century Czech history (The Crossroads of Czech Statehood), and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorial tends to be very quiet during the week, so you can enjoy the view in peace and quiet.
U Památníku 1900, 130 00 Praha 3
Nearest tram: Ohrada
Nearest bus: 175 or 133 to U památníku
80 CZK for access to the roof.www.nm.cz/
Google map: bit.ly/r5GjNp
4) Up close and personal – a closer look at Prague’s buildings
When walking around the city waiting for photographic inspiration to strike, don’t for get to look up from time to time. Prague is also known as ‘The City of One Hundred Spires’ and a glance skyward will show you why. Glancing up now and again will reveal a skyline dotted with church spires and medieval turrets, statues and gargoyles, red roofs and turquoise copper domes. The city is host to a staggering range of Art Nouveau edifices, sculptural decoration and mosaics.
For an in-depth look at some of Prague’s architecture, take a look at http://
, which is an online attempt to comprehensively record the architectural features of the Czech capital
If all else fails, take time to look at someone else’s work. This summer Prague hosts two interesting photography exhibitions:
Through My Window: Along the Path of Passing Time and Changing Seasons is on at the National Gallery
(Veletržní Palace) until 14 August - an exhibition of photographs by the Korean photographer Ahae, featuring a selection from the almost one million photographs he has taken in the last two years.
Dukelských hrdinů 47,
170 00 Prague 7 - Holešovice
Nearest metro: Vltavská
Nearest tram: Strossmayerovo nám (1, 5, 8, 12, 14, 17, 25, 26)www.ngprague.cz/
Entry is 250 CZK
For something more local, the Václav Špála Gallery
’s current exhibition is titled Pictures from the History of Czech Photography – a selection of Czech Modernist and contemporary photography.
Václav Špála Gallery
Narodni 30, Prague 1
Open daily – 11.00 to 19.00
Nearest metro: Narodni Trida
Nearest tram: Narodni Trida (6, 9, 18, 21, 22, 91)
Google map: bit.ly/pfTxU1
As well as larger museums and galleries, Prague is chock-a-block with smaller and more intimate spaces. The Leica Gallery Prague
is one such gallery, run by a not-for-profit organization with the aim of providing high quality photography exhibitions and workshops, seminars and lectures.
The small but airy gallery space is well accompanied by a book shop and small café serving very good coffee as well as other soft drinks and wine.
Its very full exhibition schedule and central location means this is a great place to see the work of some Czech and international photographers and enjoy a drink and browse some art books.
Entry is usually 50 CZK.
Školská 28, 110 00 Praha 1
Nearest Metro – Musek
Nearest Tram – 3, 9, 14 or 24 – Vodickovawww.lgp.cz/
Helen is the Been there local for Prague
. You can follow her tips here
and read her full profile here
. She also has her own blog: czechingin.wordpress.comBeen there locals homepage