I am not even exaggerating this city is absolutely beautiful filled with juicy legends and rich religious history. I don’t even know where to begin so forgive me if this post is barely structured. I am just genuinely excited to share everything I learned with you guys.
So to start off I booked this trip which was a weekend in Berlin and Prague with Take a Trip with Tina at https://takeatripwithtina.com/ at a really affordable cost (£187 ) for the weekend and I did not regret it one bit. I had no clue what to expect I was just excited to get away from school. You would think I would research the place look up the main attractions or food or something, anything! But nope I did absolutely nothing just packed my bags jumped on the bus at London and journeyed to Prague.
It was the most tedious bus ride of my life but we not getting into that because this blog would never end. So anywho Prague or Praha is the capital city in the Czech Republic and the historical capital of Bohemia with the Vltava flowing through the city contributing significantly to its development. This city has literally been through it as it witnessed Nazi control, oppressive communism, capitalist democracy, the Velvet Revolution, independence you name it.
Legend has it that Libuse the daughter of mythical Czech ruler Krok stood on a rocky cliff above the Vltava River and said “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” and she ordered a castle to be built on the spot which is now called Vyšehrad and a great city called Praha. After the death of her father, she became queen and married a ploughman named Přemysl. Together, they went on to found the Přemyslid dynasty which ruled the Czech lands until 1306.
Legends are always juicer than historical recollections, however, history says that the region was settled as early as the Paleolithic age and around the 5th century the Celts established settlements in the area naming the place Bohemia which means home of boii. Fast forward to date after World War 1 and the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, Bohemia became a part of Czechoslovakia which later on split into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 and Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.
THE OLD TOWN SQUARE!
Exploring time now. Sooooo we got to Prague, I dropped off my bags and took to the streets. The first site we came upon was the old town square and I wasn’t ready. Apart from the numerous tourist that creepy man baby clown entertainer scared the crap out of me in no way was I ready for that. Entertainers were everywhere doing all sorts of madness but it was a pleasure to see and experience it nonetheless. However, I was more interested in the attractions and the history behind them.
The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) dates back to the century and started life as the central marketplace for Prague. Over the centuries buildings of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles were erected around the market, each bringing with them stories of wealthy merchants and political intrigue.
At the center of the Old Town Square is the Jan Hus statue which was built in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death. The groundswell of support for his beliefs during the 14th and 15th centuries led to the Hussite wars.
THE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK
As I was busy touristing through the town square, there was noise everywhere and people making a lot of commotion. Because I’m a Trini I had to know what was going on. I heard someone say something about a clock and I was like people could never be making so much fuss about a clock until I saw it myself.
The Astronomical Clock is on one side of the Old Town Hall Tower, dates from the 15th century. On the hour, every hour there is a procession of the twelve apostles, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples. Its a really cool clock believe it or not.
TYN CHURCH AND ST NICHOLAS CHURCH
Moving along next was the Tyn Church and the St Nicholas Church.
Ridiculously breathtaking right. The Church of Our Lady currently known as the Tyn Church dominates one side of the Old Town Square housing the oldest organ in Prague. The twin towers of this powerful looking Gothic church can literally be seen from all over Prague. This current gothic structure was founded in 1385 as the main Old Town church. In the early 15th century, Tyn Church came under the control of the Hussites however during this period the Hussites were being slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. In the end, Catholic Jesuits took control, recasting the bell, and replacing the Hussites symbolic chalice with a large figure of Mary nailed between the towers. In 1679 however, a fire destroyed the interior of the church and it was rebuilt in Baroque style. The towers of this church are not symmetrical as Adam (a tower) is taller than Eve (the next tower).
Why was Adam larger than Eve tho ????
Legend has it that the Tyn Church towers gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle I personally don’t see the connection between the two but that’s just me.
St. Nicholas is a Baroque church completed in 1735 , the interior was inspired by the chapel of St. Louis-des-invalides in Paris. In 1781 emperor Josef 2nd removed the decoration from the interior of the church & ordered the closure of all monasteries without a social function. In 1870, St. Nicholas then became Russian Orthodox. However, during the second World War Czech army units stationed at St. Nicholas were set to work restoring the church, working alongside professional artists. After the war, St. Nicholas was handed over to the Czech Hussite movement, with whom it remains.
THE CHARLES BRIDGE
After walking around the old town square there was a buzz about the Prague castle that we must see it so I set out to find this castle. The drama to get to this poor castle Pressure!!!!! But I couldn’t reach quite Prague and not see it right. But before we got to the castle we had to cross the Charles Bridge.
King Charles IV commissioned the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) in the 14th century and it’s a stone bridge linking the two sides of Prague and the main route connecting the old town to the Prague Castle with the Vltava River flowing beneath it.
This bridge was literally pumping, musicians everywhere, street artists, local artisans you name it! But the size and life of the bridge are not what got me its the religious statues every 2 steps that was absolutely amazing! The initial idea was to build a functional construction for knight tournaments, and for many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple crucifix. Later, on the Roman Catholics wanted ornaments everywhere which resulted in 30 statues being erected between 1600 and 1800. That wasn’t enough though because currently there are 75 statues with the oldest being John of Nepomuk.
I crossed the bridge so I reached the castle right ??? Nope, that walk was something else, every bone in my body wanted to turn back but how can I reach this far and see this castle. That’s just wrong! It was the most anti-climatic thing ever I was expecting this grand majestic fairytale looking castle only to find the complete opposite. Not that I wasn’t fascinated it just wasn’t what I was expecting after all according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.
The Prague Castle was founded by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid dynasty around 880. The Church of the Virgin Mary was the first stone building in the castle area however, only remnants can be seen today. In the 10th century, St. George’s Basilica was founded and the first Czech convent was established. The St. Vitus Rotunda was replaced by the St Vitus Cathedral which still stands to date.
During the 10th century, the Prague Castle was home to Czech princes and kings, and the seat of the Prague bishop. The Prague Castle experienced one of its greatest periods during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378) when it became the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. After 1989, many areas of the Castle were made accessible to the public for the first time in history, including the Royal Garden, Ballgame Hall, the south gardens, or the Imperial Stables. Today, the Prague Castle is the seat of the Czech president. A number of priceless art relics, historical documents, as well as the Czech Crown Jewels are stored there.
The view from the top as the Castle is overlooking the city was something you just have to experience on your own!
And this was the end of my sightseeing day in Prague. I would definitely be back again to see and do more and I would recommend you put Prague on your bucket list. This is not a place to sleep on at all!