Prague is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and fortunately didn’t go through much of the destruction that Europe withstood in the 20th century. The city has been a political, economic, and culture centre of Europe for most of its 1,100-year existence, and its architecture and cultural attractions reflect this. For example, Prague was the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors during the Gothic and Renaissance eras, was important during the Hamburg monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian rule, and played a crucial role in modern times as well.
1. Prague Castle. This is the largest ancient castle in the world, and rises like a dream above the city, providing spectacular views of the city below. St. Vitus Cathedral with its awe-inspiring lookout tower is on site, as well as several palaces and museums, and the stunning Royal Gardens. The Presidential Guard changes duty each hour. It costs 350 CZK to purchase a ticket.
2. Charles Bridge. The construction of this old bridge began in the 14th century; today, it’s a busy centre of trade and entertainment as musicians busk and artists sell their wares. It connects Old Town with Lesser Town, so it’s a great stroll and an even better to see the city on foot.
3. Astrological Clock. Constructed in 1410, this is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the only one still in working condition. It’s located in Old Town, and mounted on the southern wall of City Hall. It displays among its clockworks: the sun, moon, and other astronomical details; the figures of Christ’s apostles and other moving sculptures; a figure of Death represented by a skeleton; and a calendar dials with medallions that represent the twelve months of the year.
4. The Lennon Wall. Located near the Charles Bridge in Lesser Town, this wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime of the 1980s and the source of student protests. Young people of Prague would write grievances, usually John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from Beatles songs, on the wall. It remains a symbol of youth ideals, and of freedom and peace.
5. The Dancing Building. Also called “the Ginger and Fred Building,” it is located in downtown Prague and is an example of Prague’s newer architecture. Designed by American architect Frank Gehry and completed in 1996, it resembles two dancers—thus its nickname. It stands out against the Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau buildings that has made Prague famous, and worth seeing up close.