I would like to tell you about the wonderland Prague; This city which I did not have much idea about before planning the trip was really cut out for me. Hence, the last day of my trip I just said “I have to rope someone into coming here again soon.”
We first visited Saint Vitus Cathedral in the city. This cathedral, a magnificent and impressive example of Gothic architecture, is within the boundaries of Prague castle. It is impossible not to admire the stained glass and depictions of Mary and Jesus inside. The medieval masters of the period have done an excellent job. Hence, the kings and queens of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire have being crowned in this cathedral for centuries. The construction began in the 1300s but lasted 600 years. A burned, destroyed, but indestructible church. There are so many churches in the city that it is often called the city of 100 towers. And I claim, you will love most of them.
Prague with its perfect view, castle, local street artists, organizations around it, street markets enshrined my memory. I can promise, you will see how well the Soviet breeze suites this city as in many other European countries!
In our first stop with large squares and magnificent structures we realized how good choice we had made.
And Charles Bridge.
This symbol of Prague, with 30 replica sculptures arranged on the right and left sides, has a magnificent view all the time of the day, especially at sunset. The Statue of St John of Nepamuk, who was drawn to the Vlatava River by the king of the period and after which was canonized by the wave formed in the river, is the most breathtaking and famous one among the statues on the bridge. Touching the woman and dog plaques on the statue is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague. It is an undeniable fact that the bridge is overcrowded most of the time, so it is better to go there early in the morning or late in the evening. When you cross the bridge, you might think that 80% of the tourists around the world are walking with you in Prague. You can discover many beautiful places where you can eat, drink, and shop. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it is a cheap country with so many tourists, half of the stores try to sell unnecessary and poor quality goods. And unfortunately it is crowded everywhere! I think you should go into the crowd and leave route searching aside. After 15 minutes you will be able to know your location. This way is more enjoyable.
Of course, visiting the Astronomical Clock in the Old City Square is a must. Actually this clock; does not only show hours and minutes, but also the location of the sun, moon and stars in the sky. Moreover, the numbers from 0 to 12 on it represent the signs of the zodiac and the story is quite interesting. Everyone was amazed after the watchmaker of the period Hanus had made the astronomical clock and wanted to know how it had been made. But it was a secret. Hanus did not tell anyone this secret. However, Hanus’s eyes were blinded by the Prague government to be sure that this beautiful clock would exist only in Prague.
Hanus avenges himself by throwing himself into the clock mechanism and ending his life after which it becomes unable to repair the clock again. The clock was damaged by wars and tried to be repaired periodically but unfortunately achieved no result. Of course, there is not only Astronomical Clock in the Square. There was Easter market when we were in Prague. I would definitely recommend you to go to markets set in the Square during religious and cultural holidays.
I would also recommend you to spend one evening at Cafe Slavia located on the bank of the Vlatava river, which impressed us by both piano music and meals. Of course, the aim of our trip was to spend time in the places of Prague where Nazim Hikmet lived and wrote his poems in exile. Being in those places made us so happy. But there is also the irony that Nazım Hikmet was very unhappy in a city that could be called an open-air museum. This magnificent city could not really make him happy or he had never been able to reflect it in his poems.
Both Franz Kafka and his works make us feel his loneliness and melancholy. When I entered Kafka’s house in Prague (now a museum), who was unhappy and lonely man ‘indeed’, I felt as if I would really see him there. There are a lot of things in this museum, such as letters, animated pictures, stories, biographies, etc. This poor man, who is not loved by his authoritarian father, by Germans for being Jewish and by Czechs for speaking German, gives his works to his friend to burn worrying that nobody will like them. You will see most of them in the museum and understand Kafka better.
Clementinum was another place that impressed me so much. The library was built as a building of Jesuit University which you can visit only in a group. The ceiling was painted by Jan Hiebl. The used tools are still being exhibited. The first local weather reports were taken from this building. There is a part of the library which will make you feel like ‘Is this hallucination or I‘m really here?’ There are different manuscripts, old maps, first observatory studies in this part. It is forbidden to enter there. It is possible to watch there only from the entrance gate. The tower and its scenery we went in later admired us as well.
And Vyshehrad! It is calmer than the other places as it is not a frequently visited destination for tourists. I guess I loved this.
It was the first area Czechs had arrived before Prague was established. A huge cathedral, green castle and perfect river. The idea of walking down the tower and walking along the river could not be only our idea. This place, reminding us Izmir Kordon, was not crowded in vain.
We were four friends there and made reservation in a place 15 minutes away (we used only tram) from the area called ‘Old Town’ with very reasonable price. If to compare public transport ticket prices to other European countries, Prague deserves the title ‘budget friendly city’.
Prague! The city which makes you feel all emotions at the same time. City of time and reality. A legendary city that connects Soviet and Western cultures with its bridges, tridelnik, churches, museums and people.