Geographic position: 5005' of northern latitude, 14?27' of longitude it orients them, altitude of 235 m (medium)
Timetable: Central European (GMT + 1), standard time - Central European + 1 (GMT + 2)
Climate: medium temperature: 15,0 C of summer, in July: 25,0 C of winter, in January: 0,9 C
River: Vltava (Moldava) crosses the city for the length of 30 km, its maximum width is of 330 m The historical center: Hradcany, Mala Strana (Small Quarter), To be Mesto (Old City) with Josefov, Nine Mesto (New City) and Vysehrad
When the New Town of Prague was built 600 years ago, it was meant to serve as Prague's main commercial district. And that is how it can still be characterized today. Numerous businesses, hotels and banks are located there, as well as department stores, boutiques and a few small shopping malls. The New Town is also rich with culture, offering many theatres, movie theatres, museums, and an opera house.
The Wenceslas Square is the bustling center of Nov?mesto and the district stretches northeast and southwest of it towards the river. Some other squares are Karlovo n?est? Senov??n?est? and N?est?republiky. The two boulevards that you will not want to miss are N?odn?and Na pr?ope, both separating the New Town from the Old Town.
All three lines of the metro run through the New Town: line A between Mustek and Muzeum, line B between Karlovo n?est?/i> and Florenc, and line C between I. P. Pavlova and Florenc.
The New Town was founded by king Charles IV in 1348 as a large new area between Vy?ehrad and the Old Town. The new district was to increase the size and population of Charles' beloved city in a time when Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. A lot of trade and business moved there from the already existing Old Town and Mal?Strana.
King Charles planned the street layout of Nov?mesto himself and personally kept an eye on the progress of the construction work, supposedly making sure that his street plan was being followed to the letter. The layout was quite modern for that time, employing large squares and wide boulevards. The three main squares all served as markets: the Horse Market (Konsk?trh) - now Wenceslas Square, the Cattle Market (Dobytc?trh) - now Charles Square, and the Hay Market (Senov??n?est?/i>) - still carrying the same name. All three markets were interconnected by today's Vodickova and Jindri?sk?streets.
Although the New Town was originally built in the Gothic style, much of its current architecture comes from the end of the 19th century when the majority of the original buildings were torn down in a sweeping cleanup of the slums into which the district had turned. New buildings were put up by the architects of the time and the result is a varied mixture of architectural styles similar to those that can be found in the neighboring district of Vinohrady.
The heart of the New Town is Wenceslas Square, which is a good place to start your tour and is easily reachable on foot from the Old Town and by public transportation from anywhere else. To get to the top of the long square (to the National Museum and statue of St. Wenceslas), take line A or C of the metro or tram 11 and get off at Muzeum. To get to the approximate middle of the square (near the Lucerna Passage and Hotel Evropa), take line A of the metro, get off at Mustek and follow the exit that says V?lavsk?n?est?Vodickova (not Mustek), or take tram 3, 9, 14, or 24 and get off at V?lavsk?n?est?/i>. To get to the bottom of Wenceslas Square (for Na pr?ope and N?odn?streets), take line A of the metro, get off at Mustek and exit at Mustek.
Just a block from the National Museum, the beautiful building of the State Opera finds itself lost and somehow invisible at its unfortunate location on the ever-busy Legerova thoroughfare and in the shadow of the Communist-built eyesore of the former Parliament building. The Opera was built by German architects and opened in 1888 as the Neues Deutsches Theater. The repertoire includes opera and ballet performances by renowned composers.Address: Legerova 75, Prague 1 - Getting there: Metro A/C to Muzeum www.opera.cz
The Dancing House (Tanc??dum, also called "Ginger and Fred" after the couple that inspired it) on the Ra??ovo n?re??embankment is one of Prague's rarities, admired and disliked at the same time. This eccentric building was designed by the American architect Frank Gehry and was finished in 1996. It strikes an odd pose in the orderly row of century-old architecture. To get there, walk down Resslova from Karlovo n?est? or take tram 17 or 21 to Jir?kovo n?est?/em>.
The famous Grand Caf?Slavia, located across from the National Theatre, opened in 1881 (the same year as the theatre) and became a meeting place of artists and intellectuals, including former president V?lav Havel who was a frequent customer during his dissident years. The caf?was closed in 1991 due to ownership issues, and reopened six years later, having been restored to its 1930s Art Deco look. It is a nice place to go for coffee and dessert at the end of the day or after a night at the theatre. Beautiful views of the Prague Castle can be enjoyed from the caf?s riverside windows.
Address: Smetanovo n?re??2, Prague 1 Getting there: Metro B to N?odn?tr?a or tram 6, 9, 17, 18, 21, 22 or 23 to N?odn?divadloHours: 8.00 - 23.00 www.cafeslavia.cz
Wenceslas Square was established as the Horse Market (Konsk?trh) by Charles IV in 1348 and received its present name during the Czech National Revival in 1848. The square holds great historical significance as the center of gatherings, demonstrations and important events of Czech history since the Middle Ages. Some of the events that took place on Wenceslas Square were the declaration of the First Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, protests against the Soviet invasion in 1968, and the fall of Communism in 1989.V?lavsk?n?est?(abbreviated as "V?lav?" by the locals) is not your typical town square. The wide, sloping boulevard is some 700 meters (0.4 mile) long and 60 meters wide - a size almost unheard of at the time it was built. It is now a busy array of stores, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and casinos. During the day, Wenceslas Square is bustling with locals, tourists and traffic (watch out for pickpockets!). At night, it becomes the center of entertainment as people stream into the many nightclubs, discos, and movie theatres that line both sides of the square.The equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas at the top of the square was created by Josef V?lav Myslbek and placed there in 1912. It is the locals' most popular meeting spot - "at the horse" (u kone) or "under the tail" (pod ocasem). The statue is a historically important monument. A plaque nearby is dedicated to the victims of Communism.The buildings around the upper part of Wenceslas Square are interconnected with a system of passages, the most famous of them being the Lucerna (Lantern) Passage. It was built in 1907 - 1921 and one of the architects was the grandfather of former president V?lav Havel. The large passage connects Vodickova and ?tep?sk?streets and houses numerous stores and restaurants, a movie theatre, music bar, and a prestigious concert hall - the Grand Lucerna Hall.
Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the Old Town and Mal?Strana. It was actually called the Stone Bridge (Kamenn? most) during the first several centuries. Its construction was commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and began in 1357. In charge of the construction was architect Petr Parl?#345; whose other works include the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge.
Charles Bridge is one of the many monuments that were built during Charles' reign but it is not the first bridge that ever connected the Prague banks of the Vltava. Another bridge used to stand in its place - the Judith Bridge, which was the first stone bridge over the river. It was built in 1172 and collapsed in a flood in 1342.
Unlike its predecessor, Charles Bridge has survived many floods, most recently in August 2002 when the country experienced the worst flood in the past 500 years - so the egg yolks must not have been such a bad idea.There is a tower standing on each end of the bridge. Both the Staromestsk?ve? on the Old Town end and the Malostransk?ve? on the Mal?Strana end can be climbed for a view of Prague and the bridge from above.Baroque statues (a total of 30) began to be placed on either side of Charles Bridge in the 17th century. Now many of them are copies and the originals can be seen in the Lapidarium (see Prague Museums). The most popular statue is probably the one of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown into the Vltava from the bridge. The plaque on the
statue has been polished to a shine by countless people having touched it over the centuries. Touching the statue is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.
Charles Bridge is on the top of every Prague visitor's must-see list. It is also popular with Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge year-round. A great time of day to come to the bridge is at sunset when one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the fully lit Prague Castle against the evening sky. The bridge is now a pedestrian zone (although both tram and car traffic were allowed there in the past) and is almost constantly filled with people. If you want to have it all to yourself, go there at night or very early in the morning.
Exteriors: Daily 5 a.m. - midnight Interiors: Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica, Powder Tower, Golden Lane, Daliborka Tower) Prague Castle gardens and Deer Moat: Daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
? Winter season (November 1 - March 25)
Exteriors: 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. Interiors: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica, Powder Tower, Golden Lane, Daliborka Tower) Prague Castle gardens and Deer Moat: Closed
Records indicate that Prague Castle is the largest castle area in the world. Its three courtyards and a number of magnificent buildings cover over 7 hectares (18 acres), so be prepared to see a lot and do some walking. Depending on the time you have and your interests, you can decide which interiors to visit.
The Prague Castle (Pra?sk?hrad) was founded around 880 by prince Borivoj of the Premyslid dynasty. The first stone building in the castle area was the Church of the Virgin Mary of which only remnants can be seen today. In the 10th century, St. George's Basilica was founded and the first Czech convent was established there - St. George's Convent, which now houses a gallery. St. Vitus Rotunda, also from the 10th century, was replaced by St. Vitus Basilica in the 11th century, and it is where St. Vitus Cathedral stands today.
Starting in the 10th century, the Prague Castle served as the seat of Czech princes and later 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. The Royal Palace was rebuilt, the fortifications were strengthened, and the construction of St. Vitus Cathedral was initiated, following the style of Gothic French cathedrals of the time.
The expansion of the Castle continued during the reign of Charles' son Wenceslas IV, but the Hussite wars (1419 - 1437) and the subsequent decades during which the Castle was abandoned lead to its deterioration.
King Wladislaw Jagellon moved into the Castle after 1483 and the complex grew once again. New fortifications and guard towers (the Powder Tower, New White Tower, and Daliborka) were built. The Royal Palace was further remodeled and expanded by the grandiose Wladislaw Hall, one of the first demonstrations of the Renaissance style in the Czech lands.
By the time the Habsburg dynasty took over the Czech throne in 1526, the Renaissance style was in full swing in Europe. The seat of power moved to Vienna and the Prague Castle served mainly for recreational purposes. The Royal Garden was built and entertainment sites such as the Belvedere and Ballgame Hall were added in the 16th century. The Cathedral and Royal Palace were modified. New residential buildings were built to the west of the Old Royal Palace.
The reconstruction of the Castle culminated during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II who became Czech king in 1575 and moved his court back to Prague. He wished to turn the Castle into an elegant center of power that would attract foreign artists, scientists and diplomats. The north wing of the Palace and the Spanish Hall were added to house the emperor's vast collections of art and science.
The Prague Defenestration of 1618 initiated a long period of wars during which the Prague Castle was damaged and looted, rarely serving as the seat of power.
The last large reconstruction of the Castle took place in the second half of the 18th century when it took on a style of a chateau. However, the seat of power was again in Vienna and the Castle continued to deteriorate.
In 1848, emperor Ferdinand V moved to the Prague Castle. The Chapel of the Holy Cross on the Second Courtyard was rebuilt and the Spanish Hall and Rudolf's Gallery were remodeled.
With the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the Prague Castle welcomed the first president of independent Czechoslovakia, Tom?Garrigue Masaryk. Some needed remodeling was commissioned to the Slovenian architect Josip Plecnik. The construction of St. Vitus Cathedral was finished in 1929.
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 and the most important National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic. A number of priceless art relics, historical documents, as well as the Czech Crown Jewels are stored there.
? Getting There on Foot
If you would like to walk, you have several options:
Nerudova street - walk up the picturesque (and quite steep) Nerudova street from Malostransk? n?est?and at the top take a sharp right onto Ke Hradu. You will end up in front of the main entrance to the Castle.
Castle Stairs (Z?eck?schody) - start up Nerudova from Malostransk?n?est?and take a quick right onto Z?eck?street. Then turn left to climb the romantic Castle Stairs, which will take you to the Garden on the Ramparts (Zahrada na Valech).
Old Castle Stairs (Star?z?eck?schody) - the stairs start near the Malostransk?metro station and will put you at the beginning of Jirsk?street. You will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views of Prague. Old Castle Stairs
? Getting There by Tram
Taking the tram will save you a walk uphill or up the stairs, and the ride is quite scenic. Take tram 22 or 23 (e.g. from N?odn?tr?a or the Malostransk?metro station) and get off at one of these stops:
Kr?ovsk?letohr?ek - if you get off here, you can start with the Royal Garden, Belveder and Ballgame Hall, then cross the Deer Moat bridge to get to the Second Courtyard Note: The Royal Garden and Deer Moat are closed from November through March
Pra?sk?hrad - get off here if you would like to start at the Second Courtyard
Pohorelec - getting off here will enable you to walk to the Castle through Hradcany and arrive at the main entrance. Probably the nicest route.
A good way to go is to take the tram up to the Castle and walk back down when you're done.
Tickets can be purchased at the ticket counters or at the Prague Castle Information Center on the Third Courtyard (open daily 9.00 - 17.00/16.00 in winter). Each ticket is valid for two days. Admission to St. Vitus Cathedral is not included in any of the routes. A separate fee of 100 CZK/person is charged to visit the cathedral.
Route A: Old Royal Palace, 'The Story of Prague Castle' Exhibition, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, St. George's Basilica, St. George's Convent - National Gallery, Golden Lane & Daliborka Tower Full: 350 Kc Reduced: 175 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 520 Kc Free: children under 6
Route B: Old Royal Palace, Golden Lane & Daliborka Tower Full: 220 Kc Reduced: 110 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 330 Kc Free: children under 6
Route C: Golden Lane & Daliborka Tower Full: 50 Kc Reduced: --- Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 100 Kc Free: children under 6
Route D: St. George's Basilica Full: 50 Kc Reduced: 25 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 100 Kc Free: children under 6
Route E: Prague Castle Picture Gallery Full: 150 Kc Reduced: 80 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 200 Kc Free: children under 6
Route F: St. George's Convent - National Gallery Full: 100 Kc Reduced: 50 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 150 Kc Free: children under 6
Route P: 'The Story of Prague Castle' Permanent Exhibition Full: 140 Kc Reduced: 80 Kc Family (2 adults and at least 1 child): 260 Kc Free: children under 6
The following monuments are wheelchair accessible:
Old Royal Palace - Wladislaw Hall entrance St. George's Basilica Ballgame Hall Imperial Stables Rudolf's Gallery and Spanish Hall Prague Castle Picture Gallery Prague Castle Gardens St. Vitus Cathedral St. Vitus Cathedral restroom
Vinohrady is a beautiful residential area of Prague that carries a reputation of prestige and elegance. It covers portions of Prague 2, 3, and 10. Most of its grand Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Pseudo Baroque, and Neo-Gothic buildings come from the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, and many have been and continue to be restored in an amazing array of color and architectural detail.
Vinohrady is approximately defined by the Riegrovy sady park on the north, Havl?#269;kovy sady park on the south, Legerova street on the west, and Jir?o z Podebrad square on the east, from there continuing east between Vinohradsk?and Rusk?streets all the way to the Vinohrady Cemetery. In metro talk, Vinohrady stretches from I. P. Pavlova to ?elivsk?o stations of line A. The district's main arteries are Vinohradsk? Korunn? and Francouzsk?streets, all served by trams. The two main squares are N?est?Jir?o z Podebrad and N?est?M?u. The name Vinohrady means "vineyards". The area was indeed covered with vineyards starting in the 14th century when Czech king Charles IV had them planted there, right around the time when he had the New Town built. The vineyards lasted for some four hundred years and were later replaced by rose gardens, orchards, and residential buildings.
An independent community of Vinohrady was established in 1849, encompassing the area of today's Vinohrady and ?i?kov. The area was divided into Kr?ovsk? Vinohrady (Royal Vinohrady) and ?i?kov in 1875. Kr?ovsk?Vinohrady received the status of a city in 1879. A tram line between Muzeum and Flora started running in 1897. Kr?ovsk?Vinohrady was incorporated into Greater Prague as a district in 1922 and its name was shortened to Vinohrady in 1968.On your walk around Vinohrady, you can also take advantage of its several parks and gardens. The largest ones are Riegrovy sady on the north and Havl?#269;kovy sady on the south.
To get to the heart of Vinohrady, take line A of the metro and get off at Jir?o z Podebrad. Or, to take a slower ride above ground, get on tram 11 at Muzeum and take it up Vinohradsk?to Jir?o z Podebrad. See below for specific locations.
The rich artistic heritage of Prague and the Czech lands can be admired in Prague's many museums and galleries. The numerous expositions of the National Gallery, Municipal Gallery, National Museum, and other institutions contain extensive collections of art of all styles and eras, ranging from fine art to applied arts to sculpture, and spanning over two millenniums.
- National Museum - N?odn?/span>museum
V?lavsk?n?est?68, Prague 1 - Metro A/C or tram 11 to Muzeum www.nm.cz/english/ - The City of Prague Museum - Muzeum hlavn?o mesta Prahy