There are a few cities in the world that need little or no introduction. I’m sure you know someone that talks about going on a weekend escape to Ibiza, Paris, Budapest or London. Maybe you? Well, Prague falls in this category of cities with great history, architecture and tourism.
According to legend, Princess Libuše, the sovereign of the Czech tribe, married a humble ploughman by the name of Přemysl and founded the dynasty carrying the same name. The legendary princess saw many prophecies from her castle Libusin, which was located in central Bohemia. In one prophecy, it is told, she foresaw the glory of Prague. One day she had a vision: “I see a vast city, whose glory will touch the stars! I see a place in the middle of a forest where a steep cliff rises above the Vltava River. There is a man, who is chiselling the threshold (prah) for the house. A castle named Prague (Praha) will be built there. Just as the princes and the dukes stoop in front of a threshold, they will bow to the castle and to the city around it. It will be honoured, favoured with great repute, and praise will be bestowed upon it by the entire world.”
Since the 1300s, Prague was the biggest city in the Holy Roman Empire. The Empire had no official capital, though there were a number of imperial seat cities, which varied throughout history: e.g. Vienna (1483–1806), Regensburg (1663–1806), and Prague (1346–1437, 1583–1611).
King Charles wanted Prague to become one of the most beautiful cities in the world and to make it a new center of art, science and prestige. He wanted Prague to be the dominant city of the whole empire. While walking through Prague, you can see the Roman influence everywhere, The imposing cathedrals The grandiose castles and artistic bridges.
Something distinct about Prague is that most of its building roofs are all red. I don’t know why, but this adds its very own signature to the city.
I was at Prague for a christian youth leadership conference, so most of my time at Prague was spent meeting young people, familiar and new faces, and having a wonderful time together. I felt like the locals were used to tourists because of their very hospitable welcome which is always appreciated.
We were able to get a map of Prague city center with some key attractions to visit. Unfortunately we were only able to visit a handful of locations. Two distinct locations I remember are Charles bridge (named after King Charles) and the Prague Astronomical Clock (Orloj), both built around the 1400’s. Charles bridge served as a very important landmark connecting the Prague castle and the City’s Old Town. The Orloj stands on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall, showing very detailed positions of the Sun and Moon in the sky. Every hour, figures of the 12 disciples come out of the clock, a view that draws a lot of people.
I wouldn’t be fair in my judgement about Prague if I didn’t mention how extremely old some of the buildings looked, in need of some renovation. They say time always wins, but who knows, maybe the magic that has kept Prague alive and beautiful for centuries has a trick up its sleeves.