Prague is a rich city : history and sights. It is no wonder why the Czech Republic capital is getting more popular every year. As the number of tourists in the city grows yearly, Prague is a thrilling destination not to be missed. Its history makes it even more exciting. There is plenty to see and learn!
What should we know about the country before going?
To truly enjoy Prague, it is important to know a little bit about the country’s more recent history. There is no way to escape the country’s rich and heavy past. Here is a really light summary.
At the end of World War I, there was the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic. Prague was the capital and it was a prosperous place. It had lots developed industries. When World War II began in 1939, Adolf Hitler entered the city with his army. From there, it went downhill. The whole country became occupied by Nazi Germany and remained under their control during most of World War II. Because Prague was considered a “Nazi” city, it was attacked by the US Army Air Forces near the end of World War II. In 1945, the Germans capitulated. The city was liberated of the Germans.
Then, Prague was under the control of the Soviet Union during the Cold War because of its location and its territory. Then, there were Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution to fight for democracy. This period was from 1945 to 1990. In the 1990s, the Czechoslovakia “fell”. The new Czech Republic was created and Prague became the capital. In the 2000s, the country became greatly influenced by globalization. And here we are today!
What are there to see in Prague?
As any European city, Prague is full of historical sites. Considering Czech Republic’s heavy communist history, there are many historical museums to learn about the Velvet Revolution, the Prague Spring and more. History and political geeks will love the city! For the more romantic visitors, Prague will not disappoint.
Here is a list of the main attractions :
- The Old Town Square
- The Wenceslas Square
- The Farmer’s Market
- The Vltava River
- The Charles Bridge
- The old Jewish Ghetto
- The Jubilee Synagogue
- The Karlštejn gothic castle
- The Treasures of St-Vitus Cathedral
- The Dancing House building
- The Astronomical Clock Strike an Hour
- The Golden Lane
- The backstreets of Mala Strana
- The 299 Steps to Petrin Hill
And the list goes on… When visiting Prague, visitors should stay at least one full week to really enjoy all the main attractions and to discover all the many secrets the city has to offer.
What to eat and drink?
A traditional Czech meal is like any other country’s meal from Central European : boiled, baked or fried meat… And lots of bakery, stew and potatoes. Czech food is amazingly creamy and filling! Also popular, a meal comes typically with… Beer. There is no escaping beer’s presence at a Czech table. It is impossible to be hungry after a Czech meal unless one has a black hole instead of a stomach.
Some of the meals worth trying are :
- Svickova : A Czech concept of serving meat with a sauce and with… Whipped cream. It is weirdly addictive.
- Knedliky : They are dumplings served as a side dish (in the main sauce or stew) made with wheat or potato flour.
- Polevka : They are soups. They are an alternative for a lighter meal : sauerkraut soup, garlic soup, garlic soup, spicy soup, etc.
- Klobasy : Tourist can find those sausages everywhere.
- Bramborak : They are potato pancakes made with grated garlic or onion and other seasoning.
Anything close by worth seeing?
Visitors must visit the skull church near Prague : the Sedlec Ossuary. Yes, it is a church made covered with… Human bones. It is not as gore as it sounds. The Sedlec Ossuary is a roman catholic chapel. There is unexpected poetry in the church. The ossuary contains the skeletons of between around 50 000 people. No one could really count.
Plus, this church is located outside Prague. It is always nice to leave any capital and see another side of the country that is less glossy and staged.
Prague is European city worth seeing. The Czech Republic capital is beautiful and full of history. The food is comforting and there are plenty of beer to drink!