Overview

At the end of the day, Prague is a city of magic. Prague isn’t sterile the way most Western European capitals are, but it’s not a post-communist wreck either—it’s caught in the middle, somewhere in between daily reality and the realm of legends. And we don’t just mean “legend” legends, like the one about the Golem of Prague. We mean the legends of people—these cobblestone streets were once walked upon by Franz Kafka, after all. There’s also the legend of Charles IV, the ambitious Czech king who dreamed up Prague the way it looks today (aside from the fast food restaurants, those came later). And then there’s the far more recent specter of communism, which left the entire country in a hangover that still hasn’t ended. Speaking of hang- overs, we haven’t even told you about the beer which is cheaper than water, about the cafés which teem with easy-going locals, and about the art, which creeps around in all forms, from the subtlest of jazz melodies to the heaviest of modern sculptures. There will be moments in between, when all you see are other tourists breathing at your neck, Western shops turning the city into just another European capital, and the Czechs either not speaking English or speaking it in an offensive way, but it’s the moments of magic for which you came here. For these, the entire trip is worth it.

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The Prague Top 5

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  • Dancing House

    Its symbolic location—on a lot leveled after the Bombing of Prague—and deconstructivist architecture remind visitors of the horrors of the past century, while the charming playfulness of the angles and materials symbolize the hopeful future.

  • Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

    It houses Prague’s oldest organ but, more importantly, contains the remains of the astronomer Tycho Brahe, who revolutionized astronomy and allegedly peed himself to death.

  • Alfons Mucha Museum

    Sure, the famous Parisian posters (with Ms. Bernhardt) are here, but be sure to pay equal attention to the Czech posters, photos of Paul Gauguin playing the artist’s piano and of models dressed up as Greek Orthodox monks, and Mucha’s sketchbooks, along with his window design for the St. Vitus Cathedral.

  • John Lennon Wall

    Western songs were banned during the Communist years, so when someone painted John Lennon’s face on this wall after the iconic singer was shot in 1980, it was an act of defiance against the regime.

  • Prague Castle

    The Castle should be almost as crucial to your trip to Prague as the buildings have been to the city’s history (read: very important).

Sights

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Food

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Nightlife

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Accommodations

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