Just went over last weekend and it was one of the best short breaks I have had in a long time! The walk through the cobbled streets, over Charles Bridge, through the festive markets eating trodl, a hollow barrell-like delicacy made from caramel and almonds, a must to try with some warm grog!
The best thing for me was going to Cafe Slavia (opposite the National Theatre) and Cafe Louvre (Narodni 20). Try to get a table by the window and enjoy their great coffees, hot chocolate (the real deal) looking over Charles Bridge and taking in the atmosphere.
Whether you are travelling alone or with someone, it will definitely relax you and might even give you some inspiration. Cafe Louvre, though without a great view, has this unexplainable charm and has entertained the likes of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein. A city where the pace is slow but still with a vibrancy that touches your soul.
Commissioned by Charles IV to replace the earlier Judith Bridge the Charles Bridge was, until 1741, the only crossing over the Vltava.
The bridge links Stare Mesto and Mala Strana and on a trip to Prague you'll probably find yourself strolling accros it on much more than one occassion.
The bridge itself is a beautiful piece of architecture and engineering, lined with statues (get yourself a good guide book which lists the sculptures) and punctuated on either end with towers. The views from the towers, along the bridge and over Stare Mesto at one end and Mala Strana at the other, are wonderful. Indeed you won't be stuck for photo opportunities. The bridge itself and the views over the Vltava towards Petrin Hill and the Castle will have you reaching for your camera. There are also stalls saying a range of crafts and souveniers and plenty of buskers entertaining the crowds. And it does get very - and I mean very - crowded. Try and go early-ish in the morning to catch the views without too many people around
At night it is just magical. Lit by street lamps, the statues dark silhouettes against the sky, the lights of Prague illuminating the buildings and reflected in the river it can feel almost un-real. As if you have stepped back in time to the late 19th early 20th Century.
The church of St. Peter and St. Paul, whose spires dominate the Vysehrad skyline, is a wonderful example of neo-gothic architecture. The cemetery, founded in 1869, is a burial place for some of the Czech Republic's most famous people, for example Dvorak and Smetana. The monuments are quite stunning, expecially the Slavin (Pantheon) and the whole place exudes an atmosphere of calm, peace and serenity. There are also wondeful views of the Vltava from the park
Take Metro Line C to Vysehrad then it's a short walk.
The first statue to be placed on Charles Bridge was that of St. John Nepomuk in 1623. St. John Nepomuk was arrested by Wenceslas IV in 1393 after displeasing the King. He died under torture and his body was thrown from the Charles Bridge into the Vltava. On the base of the statue are bronze relief panels depicting his martyrdom. These have become polished over time as touching the reliefs is said to bring luck and there is usually a fair queue of people testing this out.
On the Charles Bridge - towards the Mala Strana side
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