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10 Reasons To Visit Prague (Part 2)

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Ornately adorned, the Municipal House is a great example of Art Nouveau architecture and houses the magnificent Smetana concert hall, which regularly hosts symphony orchestras. It also contains a couple of restaurants catering to the varied appetites of visiting culture vultures. The swanky fine-dining Francouzska Restaurant (www.francouzskarestaurace.cz) features hearty French-inspired fare such as coq au vin with mashed potatoes, while the more rough-and-ready Plzenska Beer Hall (www.plzenskarestaurace.cz) is the perfect venue to nurse an ice-cold Pilsner and feast on a plate of peasant-style potato gnocchi with sauerkraut and smoked pork neck while tapping your feet to live oompah music.

Description: Smetana concert hall

Smetana concert hall

Description: Francouzska Restaurant

Francouzska Restaurant

7.    Cafe culture

If Café Slavia’s (www.cafeslavia.cz) walls could talk, they’d have quite a story to tell. Situated on the bank of the Vitava River, the café, a favourite of Franz Kafka and the site where former president Václav Havel plotted the Velvet Revolution, it’s a popular haunt for the artsy set and is perfectly positioned for some serious people-watching. Indulge in a cup of the legendary hot chocolate and a plate of palacinky (a Czech take on crêpes).

Description: Café Slavia’s

Café Slavia’s

8.    Pulling pints

Situated an hour’s drive from Prague, the city of Pilsen is home to the world-famous Pilsner UrquelL Brewed since 1842 according to a recipe brought to Bohemia from Bavaria, the beer’s unique flavour was originally attributed to the fact that is was made from Pilsen’s pure fountain water, a point of substantial pride among the city’s inhabitants. Not surprisingly, it came as quite a shock to the Czechs when the PlIsen Brewery was bought by South African Breweries 12 years ago but, thankfully, the recipe has remained unchanged Peckish quaffers should make a pitstop at the resident Na Spilce Restaurant (www.naspilce.com), which offers traditional Czech dishes like beer ghoulash with dumplings, as well as all the pints of freshly pulled Pilsner you could ask for.

Description: Pilsner UrquelL

Pilsner UrquelL

9.    King of the castle

Located 25 kilometres southwest of Prague, the Gothic castle of Karlstejn (www.hradkarlstejn.cz) was built in 1348 by Czech King and Roman Emperor Charles IV. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is enclosed by the castle grounds, has walls encrusted with precious stones and until 1420 housed the actual Bohemian crown jewels. Unfortunately, Karlstjen is flooded with tourists, so you’ll end up with a severely depleted wallet if you choose to visit one of the overpriced restaurants in the village below. Instead, pack a light lunch and bring your walking shoes to go for a hike in the tranquil forested surrounds.

Description: Gothic castle of Karlstejn

Gothic castle of Karlstejn

10. Stowing bones

A pleasant daytrip can be made to Kutna Hora, a Unesco World Heritage Site that lies 65 kilometres east of the city. Because of its silver mines, it once housed the mint where the groschen, the currency of medieval central Europe, were struck. Today, the town boasts a number of noteworthy sites, including the Italian Court (originally the Central Mint), St Barbara’s Church and the slightly macabre Sedlec Ossuary, which is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints and is said to contain 70 000 human skeletons.

Description: Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora

Description:  St Barbara’s Church and the slightly macabre Sedlec Ossuary, which is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints and is said to contain 70 000 human skeletons.

St Barbara’s Church and the slightly macabre Sedlec Ossuary, which is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints and is said to contain 70 000 human skeletons.

 

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