I’ve been thinking about this blog post for the last few months as I’ve been living my life in Prague. And I’m finally ready to post the first installment. Here is part one of the things that I love (and not-so-love) about Prague! All the pictures are mine unless otherwise stated.
- Prague is ancient. I live in a city that was founded in the 8th century. Legend says that a Czech Duchess named Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava River and prophesied: “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” On this site she ordered the building of a castle and a town called Prague.
2. Prague has a castle. Yes, I actually live in a city that has a castle. Here’s something interesting, though. In all the pictures of Prague castle, you’ll see the spires of the Saint Vitus Cathedral, which many people assume is the castle. The castle itself is the complex surrounding the cathedral. It is the largest ancient castle complex in the world, occupying an area of nearly 70,000 square meters.
3. The Charles Bridge, one of the most popular tourist sites in Prague, was built in 1357. King Charles the Fourth laid the first foundation stone. It is for pedestrians only, and has 30 baroque and gothic style statues along it. It has survived various floods and mishaps for over six hundred years. At the height of the tourist season, you can barely cross it because there are so many people. Touching the statue of Jan Hus is supposed to bring you good luck, even though the poor fellow was martyred by burning at the stake.
4. Prague has amazing architecture. The old city has characteristic orange tiles on the roofs. Check out this picture taken from Riegrovy Sady (an amazing park only ten minutes from where I live in Vinohrady…)
And in the inner portion of the city, many of the city apartment blocks look absolutely incredible. Just walking down my street (Korunni), I can see apartment buildings like this.
5. The insides of these buildings are even more incredible. Check out this concert hall at the Klementium. Mozart himself played here.
Of course, there are some kinda crazy things to be found inside the buildings as well. This is a statue of King Wenceslas riding a dead horse at the Palac Lucerna.
And for part of the not-love list…
- When I first arrived and was driven to my apartment, I began to think that I was living in a sketchy part of town. Until I realized that there is graffiti everywhere. People are constantly painting over it or cleaning it off, but there are some buildings where it just remains. Buildings are tagged, and so are the trams, retaining walls, bus shelters, metros. This is just one example of the graffiti you can see everywhere in Prague.
2. Look down! It’s hard to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the buildings when you constantly have to watch where you are walking. Sidewalks are sometimes in disrepair, with small paving stones missing. Even if the sidewalk itself is fine, there are a gazillion dogs in this city, and owners don’t always clean up after them. You really have to watch out for dog poop on the sidewalk. I’m so busy watching where I’m going that I often have to remind myself to look up and enjoy the view.
I have many more things on my love (and not-love) list, so watch out for my next blog post in a week or so!
I gotta say, though. I’m loving my life in Prague. Every once in a while I stop and remind myself that I’m actually living here, in the middle of the Czech Republic.
What do you think? Would you come and visit Prague? Have you visited Prague in the past? Share your thoughts and comments!