Tourist Travel

A Trip to Prague Covers History in a Big Way

Prague (Praha) is steeped in recorded history.  So much so, it is difficult to articulate its past without the likelihood of missing an element someone might find as foundational to the understanding of the city and its people. If this is the case, I apologize.

In 2024 Prague is the Capital and largest city (1.4 million) of the Czech Republic.  The Czech Republic is part of the 27 member country European Union (EU).  It is also a member of the 32 country North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  However, I will let you decide if this status is a good or bad thing.

Prague has been at the center (or in the mix) of things for 14 Centuries. If it is Baroque, Roman, Gothic, or Renaissance architecture you desire to experience, Prague has it in spades.  On the other hand, If you want to feel the influence of the Roman Empire, Bohemia, Church Reformation, Habsburg Empire, war, plague, monarchy, royalty, Soviet Communism, or Western democracy, Prague is the place to be.

Old Town New Town

The Old Town survives. This means Middle Ages old.  New Town survives. This means nothing newer than the 15th Century.  However, Prague is also a happening 21st century city with a wonderful transit system and a walking nature to it. The number of major (World Class) museums – currently considered to be 10 – is exceptional.  Each are, in my opinion, stand-alone astounding.  And, this count does not include the Prague Castle. Which may be equaled to but not surpassed on any spectrum.

Home Base and Travel in Prague

Prague Map of Trip
Travel in Prague. Yellow Star was our home. Blue is Transit travel. Red is walking travel.

Prague is a walking person’s type of city.  Travel via public transportation is quick, efficient, and inexpensive.  However, Linda and I like to walk.  We walked 4-10 miles each day in Prague.

Linda and I stayed in the condominium owned by a Member of HomeExchange.  The unit was part of set of buildings that were once a large estate.  The estate was converted into a retreat for nuns and other religious travelers.  It was sold and made into condominiums. The retreat was named Casa Edith Stein after the philosopher and Discalced Carmelite nun Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (once named Edith Stein).  Her fascinating story is [here].  The small unit was outfitted in memorabilia and documentation about Teresa Benedicta.

The Potential to be Overwhelmed

The amount of places and things worthy of your time in Prague could prove to be overwhelming.  Especially if you are traveling at the height of tourist season   Do not let this possibility stop you from visiting Prague. Linda and I filled four days and four nights.

So… what jumped out to Linda and I as Do Not Miss aspects of Prague?

Castle Quarter – Prague Castle, St. Vitas Cathedral, Art Museums

Entrance to Prague Castle

St. Vitas Cathedral

The Hall of Armor – Dated 1200 to 1510

The Senate Room

Virgin and Child By Donatello – ca 1450

Christ in Prayer By El Greco – ca 1590

This is a big area. Actually it is a huge area.  Linda and I walked up through the residential neighborhoods of Prague to the Castle Quarter.  It took us about 45 minutes one-way.  However, it was a great way to see the city.

A home in Prague on the way to the Castle Quarter.

An abandoned ticket booth.

Vaclav Hamel Stadium.

National Museum & Wenceslas Square

Jeff on stairs of National Museum of Prague

Linda on Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square looking to National Museum

National Museum looking down through Wenceslas Square.

Cane Toad. Only found in South America, Southeast Australia and Hawaii.  Venom is as deadly they come.

Fastest animals in the world. Cheetah @105 Km/h for 50-100 meters. Pronghorn (of Idaho) @102 Km/h for 5000 meters. Reindeer @80 Km/h for 1500 meters.

As can be seen, Wenceslas Square is more of a multi-block boulevard.  The National Museum’s Evolution of Nature Exhibit is considered one of the finest in the world.  I love these kinds of exhibits, and I would agree with the assessment. Ironically the Cane Toad appear in my front yard in Kauai and the Pronghorn wander in my yard in Idaho.

Prague Old Town – Tower and Clock

Below the clock strikes at 9AM.

Above the clock strikes at 10AM

Town Hall and the Astromical Clock (built in 1350) were interesting.  The walk up the stairs from street level to the tower (above the clock) was fun and you were able to see many rooms you would otherwise miss by taking the elevator.

We covered Old Town early in the day (before shops opened).  One advantage is we could easily soak in the architecture – which is remarkable.  Another is no large crowds. Virtually all the stores and such were cheap tourist traps kinds of things. Ugh!

Charles Bridge

View of the Charles Bridge

Looking from the Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge (built in 1350) for King Charles connects the two halves of Prague – Old Town and Lesser Town.  It was a great place to stroll.

*** Jeff’s Thoughts & Other Worthless Trivia ***

Visiting Prague was a great experience for me because of the museum’s and the ability to see the implications of recorded history first hand.  However, its people do not exude much warmth – so Prague did not feel to have much vibrancy.

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