Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has been one of my favorite cities we have visited so far. It is a young country, but full of history! Stefan and I are actually older than the Czech Republic. It’s weird to think you are older than an entire country!
A lot of people who had been to Prague before us actually recommended that we just walk around and ‘get lost’ in Prague, and that is exactly what we did. I would recommend doing this as well because you’ll see a lot of cool things. We used the Prague metro system to get from our hotel to Old Town Square. It was ridiculously easy to use the metro. We thought it was even easier (and MUCH cheaper!) than using The Tube in London. Once we were in Old Town Square we just walked everywhere else. Central Prague isn’t that big so it wasn’t a big deal.
Our first stop was Old Town Square where we spotted Tyn Church. This church is beautiful! Unfortunately it is really difficult to get a good picture of it because it is surrounded by buildings, but you can easily see it from almost anywhere around Old Town Square.
Once in Old Town Square you can smell the chimney cakes cooking, so of course we had to try one. A Trdelník (chimney cake) is rolled dough cooked over an open flame and topped with sugar and walnut dust. Sometimes they are filled with Nutella and ice cream. Personally I think the plain ones are much better than the ice cream ones, but to be honest I’m not a huge fan of the plain ones either. Stefan really enjoys them, but I think they taste burnt and old.
After grabbing a Trdelník we made our way around the corner to the Astronomical Clock.
The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating.
After we saw the clock we decided to walk up and down the side streets to see what we could find. We found Powder Tower, which is one of the original city gates from the 11th century separating Old Town from the New Town.
Then we found this creepy statue…
This statue sits outside the Estate Theater in Prague. It is one of the strangest statues
in the world as it is not of a person, but a ghost. Il Commendatore is a character which appears as a ghost on an opera. This statue was crafted by the Czech-born artist Anna Chromy in 2000. There is a legend associated with this figure that if you take a photograph of it with a flash you will see the face of the ghost in the picture.
We then found the Old Jewish Cemetery. This is one of the oldest Jewish burial sites in the world. According to Jewish law, Jews must not destroy Jewish graves, especially the tombstone. When this particular cemetery started to run out of space and they had purchased all the available land to expand on, they just started adding a new soil layer and moving all of the tombstones to the top. Historians estimate that there are 12 layers of soil and over 12,000 tombstones.
We then made our way across the Charles Bridge. This bridge connects the Lesser Quarter with Old Town. Lining the bridge are different statues and various local artists painting and selling their crafts.
Right above our heads (on the other side of the Charles Bridge) you can see Prague Castle. We didn’t make it to Prague Castle because there were a lot of other things we would rather see. Truth be told, once you’ve seen one European Castle, you’ve seen them all.
Next we found the John Lennon wall. In the early 80’s Western pop music was banned here because it talked about freedoms that did not exist in then Czechoslovakia. The Czech youth saw John Lennon as their pacifist hero, so they began to graffiti pictures of John Lennon himself, Beatles lyrics and political messages. Despite the wall being painted white many times by the secret police, the next day it would always have graffiti on it again. Many believe that this wall inspired the Velvet Revolution which led to the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Of course we had to make at stop at John Lennon Pub for a Yellow Submarine (screwdriver) and a hot chocolate to warm up!
If you ever travel to Prague (or anywhere the Nazis held power) look down and see if you can spot a stumbling stone. Once you spot them the first time it seems like you see them all over. They are small brass plates inscribed with the names of victims of the Nazis. They will state the name of the victim, their date of birth, the date they were deported, the place they were deported to, and what happened to them. They are found outside of the last known residence of each person. These stones were found outside of a convenience store that obviously used to be a house or apartment building. This mother and daughter were deported to Terezín (concentration camp in now Czech Republic) and were murdered there.
We really enjoyed Prague and I hope that we can visit again. There are a lot of museums I’d like to visit and other things to do here.
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