Prague – City of 100 Spires
Within the spider’s web of medieval narrow cobblestone streets of Prague’s Old Town are churches, cathedrals, and synagogues, with their beautiful domes and spires that make the view from above the Old City a favorite subject for artists and photographers.
Prague – capital of the Czech Republic – is perfectly preserved having suffered little damage during the Second World War. Today, magnificent old buildings house art galleries, cafés, pastry shops, stores selling crystal, tee shirts, and unfortunately loads of kitsch. At the heart of the Old Town is Prague Square, one of the most beautiful city squares in the world. It’s filled with flowers and surrounded by gorgeous Gothic and Baroque buildings. Besides the cafés, hawkers, and entertainers – one of the most popular attractions of Prague Square are the hourly mechanical performances of the Astronomical Clock when wooden apostles appear in the windows and statues come to life. The Astronomical Dial and Calendar Dial are beautiful works of art.
A short walk from Prague Square is the old Jewish Quarter where six synagogues, a cemetery, and a Jewish Town Hall – attest to the fact that Prague had a vibrant Jewis community prior to the Second World War. Most notable is the Old-New Synagogue, a Gothic structure, with a twin nave design, one of the city’s best-preserved Gothic architectural treasures.
The Charles Bridge, which spans the Vltava River, attracts musicians, jewelry makers and artists from all over the world. It’s supported by stone arches, lined with 30 Baroque statues of saints, and flanked on either end by a fortified tower. The bridge is a magnet for visitors and locals, who are drawn by its beauty, and as a lively location to meet, greet, and people watch.
Cross the bridge into the Lesser Town and don’t miss a visit to the Baroque St. Nicholas Church, where resident guides are happy to take one on a tour. Then begin the steep climb to Prague Castle which stands watch over Old Town Prague. A must see stop on anyone’s itinerary, it’s actually a vast complex comprising the magnificent Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, exquisite gardens, and a little jewel – the Golden Lane – with its diminutive houses.
Wherever one finds oneself in Prague, there is music, from classical to jazz to heavy metal and everything in between. One hears music in concert halls, on the bridges, in the squares, and the cafés.
Talking of cafés, when I think of Prague, I salivate at the memory of our daily afternoon treat. After hours of walking and uncovering the sights, we would settle into wicker chairs at a café on the Old Town side of the Charles Bridge and order raspberry crepes with vanilla ice cream and frothy steaming, cappuccinos. Simply delectable!!