travel

10 Reasons To Visit Prague (Part 1)

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Prague is a city of alchemy and magic, of history and intrigues, and, as former resident Marlet Le Roux reveals, it sustains body and soul with hearty fare and free-flowing drink

Description: Prague City

Prague City

1.    Beefing up

Flanked by exquisite Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic architecture, the cobbled Old Town Square dates back to the 12th century when it was the central marketplace of Prague. Today, it is the undisputed heart of the city and, since there’s no shortage of historical sights to see, is peppered with a miscellany of pavement cafés and bars from which thirsty, foot-weary folk can watch the world go by. Situated on Celetna Street. U Pavouka (www.krcmaupavouka.cz) is the perfect spot to take a load off and refuel with a hearty plate of svicková na smetané, a traditional rib-sticking Czech dish comprising roast tenderloin of beef served with a thick vegetable gravy, bread dumplings and cranberry sauce.

Description:  
The Old Town Square

The Old Town Square

2.    Whale of a time

Leading up to the imposing National Museum is Wenceslav Square, a wide avenue where Czechs famously rattled their keys in victory at the culmination of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. There are beautiful examples of Art Nouveau architecture to be found here, including the Grand Hotel Evropa (www.evropahotel.cz) —just the place to enjoy a strong coffee with a slice of cream-topped chocolate cake. Behind the museum, In winding Opatovicka Street, you’ll find one of Prague’s most famous bars, Velryba (www.kavarnavelryba.cz) — or The Whale — which is a beloved haunt of artists for its pocket-friendly pub grub and pints. Order a platter of nakiadany hermelin (Camembert marinated in oil with garlic, onion, peppers and spices) and wash it down with a refreshing bottle of local Zatec beer before heading downstairs for a peek at the contemporary art in the cellar gallery.

Description: Leading up to the imposing National Museum is Wenceslav Square, a wide avenue where Czechs famously rattled their keys in victory at the culmination of the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

Leading up to the imposing National Museum is Wenceslav Square, a wide avenue where Czechs famously rattled their keys in victory at the culmination of the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

3.    The whole hog

The steeply spired St Vitus Cathedral and majestic Prague Castle stand sentinel on a hilltop over the city. The castle — the biggest in the world — was founded in 880 and today houses the offices of the Czech president. Be sure to witness the changing of the guards for your daily fix of pomp and ceremony. Once you’ve taken the prerequisite amount of happy snaps and worked up a sufficient appetite, wander down the hill to U Prašného Mostu street, and pay a visit to Lvi Dvûr (www.lvidvur.cz), a menagerie for lions, tigers and bears until the mid-18th century and now a modern, country-style eatery specialising in traditional Czech fare. Try the house specialty: spit-roasted suckling pig served with a spicy white-wine sauce, fried potato crisps and lettuce salad.

Description: St Vitus Cathedral and majestic Prague Castle stand sentinel on a hilltop over the city - the biggest castle in the world

St Vitus Cathedral and majestic Prague Castle stand sentinel on a hilltop over the city - the biggest castle in the world

4.    Rock the boat

Connecting the old town with Malà Strana (the lesser Town”), Charles Bridge crosses the Vitava River and is a popular stomping ground for artists and musicians peddling their trade to tourists. There is a veritable fleet of cruise boats, all vying for one’s attention. Climb aboard and view the bridge from a different angle while tucking into a complimentary buffet meal and sipping a glass of local Moravian wine. If you don’t mind giving your arms a workout, you could also hire a rowboat and paddle among the swans while watching the sunset behind the ancient rooftops.

Description: Vitava River

Vitava River

5.    Wandering jew

Arguably the most magical part of Prague, the Old Jewish Town certainly warrants setting aside the better part of a day. Leisurely amble the maze of narrow streets, stopping now and then to buy a souvenir or to refuel on snacks such as cinnamon-sugar dusted trdlo (doughnuts) or sýr5ma2ený(crumbed deep-fried Edam served with a dollop of tartare sauce). Highlights on your meanderings will include the Jewish Cemetery, which dates back to the 15th century and contains 12 000 gravestones, piled twelve layers high, as well as the Synagogue and the Town Hall.

Description: Highlights on your meanderings will include the Jewish Cemetery, which dates back to the 15th century and contains 12 000 gravestone

Highlights on your meanderings will include the Jewish Cemetery, which dates back to the 15th century and contains 12 000 gravestone

 

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