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What Prague is Known for and Famous for
Prague is an old and revered city in the Czech Republic, with centuries of history and culture built into it. There is a lot of beauty within Prague, and it is easy to see what makes the city so famous when you look at its structures. However, the city is not famous for its architecture alone. Prague shines in many other ways as well.
Prague is known for its ancient architecture from cathedrals, medieval squares, and cobblestone streets to its museums. Well known attractions in Prague include the Charles Bridge, the Grand Clock, and the Prague Castle. The party scene in Prague is famous throughout Europe and many people flock there to partake in the good times.
There are countless reasons one might plan a trip to the European city. Prague’s attractions have made it a major destination for many history buffs from all over the world. Keep reading to learn all about Prague and what has made it a famous, well-known destination for centuries.
The Charles Bridge
The Charles bridge is one of the foremost impressive pieces of architecture that you can find in Prague. Not only is it one of the city’s most remarkable works of architecture, but it is generally recognized as the most famous landmark within Prague. It makes for a great picture, and it is an iconic structure that Prague’s culture is built around.
Like most structures from its time, the Charles Bridge is named after the medieval ruler Charles IV. This name did not come about until the 1800s, and it was initially called the Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge. The bridge was started in the late 1300s and was finished by the early 1400s, and has weathered the elements for nearly 600 years.
Stretching across the Vltava River, you can find 30 Baroque-style statues along the entire length of the bridge. Each statue is a sculpture of a different saint, proving the Catholic influences of medieval Europe. Walking beneath the great statues helps enforce the idea that the saints are truly godly people who ascended to the heavens.
The final elements of the Charles Bridge are the Gothic-styled watchtowers positioned at each end, completing the almost fantasy-like aesthetic. These massive towers were used as a defense measure by the medieval people, and though they no longer serve that purpose, you can still go inside of them to look out across the city.
The Grand Clock or the Prague Astronomical Clock
One of the most outstanding achievements seen in the city is the Prague Astronomical Clock. This great clock was created 600 years ago by the medieval people that lived in Prague. It is counted as a technological wonder even to this day due to the complexity and craftsmanship put into its design.
The Grand Clock was built in the 15th century and is the oldest working astronomical clock to exist in the modern world from medieval times. It is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding achievements that any medieval city has produced and is one of Prague’s most iconic structures. The clock attracts visitors from all over the world.
The clock comes with an astronomical dial that can still tell the current time accurately all these centuries later. Even modern-day clocks and watches do not last as long as the Prague Astronomical Clock. This is because when medieval people created something, they tended to value its endurance to the test of time above anything else.
You can also find a ring on the clock with the signs of the Zodiac carved into it. These signs represent the stars, and it is quite likely that ancient astrologers would have used this to not only keep the time but help them with their practices. Today, however, it is appreciated as just another piece of amazing art created by medieval people.
The Prague Castle
If you are going to visit Prague, one of its best-known landmarks is Prague Castle. This castle was built in the 9th century, and, instead of being just any old lord’s castle, it was home to the kings and presidents of the Czech Republic. It is one of the oldest standing castles to still exist in Europe.
The castle spans over 70,000 square meters, making it the largest castle complex to exist from the ancient world. The castle is also not limited to one type of architectural style. Due to additions added over the centuries, the castle features all kinds of architecture from Baroque to Gothic.
This massive castle comes with an entire mini-village to itself. If you were to attempt to explore the full vastness of the grounds, it would take you several days. The grounds include:
- Massive gardens
Old Town Square
When it comes to famous landmarks within Prague, Old Town Square is one of the best known. This town square is one of the most beautiful town squares that exists within Europe, making it well worth a visit if you are ever visiting Prague. It perfectly exhibits the medieval feel that the entire city has.
Between the cobblestone streets and the Gothic spires that dominate the town square, walking around the square makes you feel like you are back in medieval Europe. Even though the entire city feels like a medieval city, few parts convey that feeling as strongly as the Old Town Square.
Back in medieval Prague, this square would have been bustling with the activity of thousands of people as they went about their days. It was the main marketplace and was the best place in the city to go when you were looking for something. At the town square, you could find clothing, food, or some assorted trinket.
It endured as the major marketplace for Prague up until the 20th century, when it turned into more of a tourist attraction. Now the Old Town Square is the best place to take a break from sightseeing and decide which of Prague’s other impressive landmarks you wish to visit next.
No medieval city would be truly complete without a cathedral, and Prague does not fail to impress with its very own St. Vitus Cathedral. This cathedral is what gave Prague its reputation for possessing cathedrals and the majestic gothic spires that dominate much of the city’s skyline.
You can find this magnificent cathedral on the Old Town Square towering over everyone with its massive spires. The cathedral is open to visitors, so you should take advantage if you want to see the stained-glass windows, the impressive frescos that cover the walls, and the ornate ceilings.
The St. Vitus Cathedral took over six centuries to build, with construction ending in 1929, and it still stands tall and proud to this day. All of those long centuries of work were well worth it, though, as we can now see the wonders of the medieval religious people.
Make sure that you visit the St. Vitus Cathedral if you are visiting Prague. There are multiple other chapels that you can visit, as well, the most commonly visited one being the Chapel of St. Wenceslas. It is adorned with paintings and walls encrusted with jewels of all sizes and types that cause the whole thing to glitter and sparkle in the light.
Malá Strana or Little Quarter
Another major landmark of Prague is a small portion of the city known as Malá Strana or Little Quarter. Even though its name is Little Quarter, this portion of the town is not a small section. It got its name more so from being on the smaller portion of the city when it was first created.
- You can find Malá Strana to the west of the Vltava River, where it has existed since the creation of that portion of Prague.
- Malá Strana is filled with cobblestone roads, palaces previously used by the old kings and lords, and pastel-styled buildings, often complete with red roofs.
- This portion of the city was mostly created with Baroque-style architecture, while Gothic architecture can be found in the more modern areas within the city.
Even though Malá Strana boasts mostly only baroque-style architecture, it still gives off the feel of a medieval city. From the cobblestone roads that lie underneath your feet as you walk through the town to the churches and cathedrals with their massive spires towering over you.
Wenceslas Square: The Modern Version of Old Town Square
Another major attraction that Prague is well known for is Wenceslas Square. This is a second town square that is structured quite similarly to Old Town Square. It is not nearly as large as Old Town Square, but it is still one of the best places to visit whenever you are touring in Prague.
If you are looking to get a glimpse at what life in Prague is like in the modern age, then Wenceslas Square is the place for you. You can find a large assortment of businesses and forms of entertainment here, ranging from bars and nightclubs to restaurants and coffee shops. There are also plenty of beauty boutiques lined alongside the square.
The square is 60 meters wide and 750 meters long and can hold up to 400,000 people. It was originally used for festivals and events that required a large area for people to gather. Wenceslas Square was once a horse market as well.
Wenceslas Square has a long and colorful history, and it is one of the things that makes Prague the city that it is today. It may not be as famous as Old Town Square or some other parts of the city, but it is still well known and one of the most famous spots in Prague.
The Museums and Art Galleries of Prague
Prague has a lot of architecture that makes it so famous, but that is not the only thing for which it is well known. It is a thriving city that is known for its historical and cultural achievements, but it is also a city famous for its art and museums. You will be hard-pressed not to find something you love in Prague.
The museums of Prague boast a large assortment of historical wonders to peruse, and regardless of which period of history intrigues you, there will be a museum for you in Prague. There are natural history exhibits, exhibits based in ancient cultures such as Egypt and Rome, and of course, large exhibits showcasing exquisite art.
Two of the best-known museums in Prague are the National Museum, which can be found at Wenceslas Square, and the Prague National Gallery, which holds countless art pieces. The National Museum is where you can find over 14 million artifacts, including nearly every type of historical artifact that exists.
The Food of Prague: Czech Republic Cuisine
Another thing that Prague is well known for is the cuisine of its homeland, the Czech Republic. The cuisine of the Czech is highly regarded, and that should come as no surprise, given what delicious ingredients make up its recipes. It is sure to make your taste buds burst with flavor.
- Most of the food found in Prague contains meat, much like the rest of the Czech Republic’s national cuisine. If you are a meat lover, then this is the place for you.
- The meats that tend to be used in the Czech Republic’s cuisine are pork, chicken, and beef. You may obviously find other meats in the cuisine, but these three are the main ingredients that you will find.
- If you get hungry while walking through the streets of Prague, fear not. Vendors exist all around the city where you can buy foods such as trdelník, which is a filled pastry.
The Shopping of Prague
Something that may surprise you about Prague is its well-known shopping district. Shopaholics from around the world come to visit Prague and its large variety of shops, boutiques, businesses, and other assorted stores where they can spend their money.
It is unlikely that you will be unable to find whatever it is that you are looking for somewhere in Prague. Whether you are looking for exotic or fancy clothing, assorted knick-knacks, or accessories, the businesses and shops of Prague have what you need.
There are two major sections in Prague that are known for their shops and stores, and which one you want to visit depends on your spending ability. Pařížská Street is the place to go when you have a large budget or if you want to treat yourself to a luxury item to show off to friends and family.
If you do not have a large shopping budget, then check out the Prague Thrift Store, which can be found in Vinohrady, or the Kotva Department Store located in the Náměstí Republiky. Both of these stores are great options, and these areas will give you great shopping selections at reasonable prices that will not break the bank.
Prague at Christmas Time
Prague is unforgettable during the Christmas season. The city outshines other destinations when it comes to celebrating the holidays. The extent to which the entire city of Prague goes to decorate and celebrate is unmatched anywhere else in the world. If you want to visit Europe for Christmas, Prague is the place you want to go to.
The city becomes a giant winter wonderland once November strikes, with Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and more decorations popping up all around the city. Photographs of Prague during the holidays look like the inside of a snow globe. Prague is famous for bringing the most fantastical holiday dreams to life.
The city puts on large festivals and activities for the whole city to attend if they so desire. Prague’s Christmas markets open up around the holidays, as well. There is an influx of visitors to the city during this time of year, so plenty of vendors are ready to sell holiday-related goods and gifts to locals and tourists alike.
- Mulled wine
- Christmas-themed handicrafts
- Children’s toys
- Hot cocoa and hot cider
The Vltava River
One final thing that Prague is famous for is the Vltava River. The Vltava River is just a river—there is nothing innately special about the river itself. However, the cruises that you can take on the river are what make it unique. What better way to see the city of Prague than by taking a cruise along the river?
The entire city looks stunning when viewed from the water, making a river cruise a great idea when you are touring the city. You can see nearly all of the major landmarks in Prague from the river, and you do not even have to waste energy walking.
A river cruise does not last long, so you can schedule it without having to sacrifice time spent at other attractions. It is also a very affordable way to experience a panoramic view of the city. A one-hour Vltava River cruise costs about $14 USD per person.
It is said that beer is cheaper than water in Prague at the local bars and visitor come from far and wide to party in this city in hopes of finding such cheap drinks. The Old Town, or Staré Město, is the best part f town to experience the city’s nightlife.
Czech beer is known around the world, the most popular being the Pilsner Urquell. The Pilsner was created in 1842 in the town of Plzen and has become a popular beer around the world. The original Budweiser beer is also native to Czech.
Prague is a beautiful city, and its worldwide fame is well deserved. From the extraordinary works of architecture to the cuisine and museums, Prague is a city unlike any other. Some of the older landmarks built with medieval ingenuity have a historic magnetism that draws people in.
It is no wonder Prague is one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit. There are more things to see than can be contained on one list, but the items above should tell enough about Prague to make anyone want to glimpse the skyline of “the city of a thousand spires.”
Not to mention, Prague is well known for being a more affordable European holiday destination.