Historic Centre of Prague (Czechia)

We began exploring Prague with its most important and perhaps the most crowded place - Prague Castle, because, we were there on a weekday and we knew it would be all the more crowded in weekends!The next thing we did in Prague was to explore the streets of Prague which is how we came across tons of crazy sculptures and public art. But apart from these, there were also some amazing historic buildings and street sculptures. The most important, ofcourse, the face of Prague, Charles Bridge (Karlův most). First of all, who is Charles? Well, he's what Ashoka was to India, Lincoln was to America - the best leader the country has ever had! He was the first King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor who ruled from 1346-1378 CE. He did great things for the country and people! So, yes, several places including Universities and hotels in Czech are names after King Charles!Charles Bridge was built in 1357-1402 CE under the reign of King Charles. The 30 sculptures of various saints and Gods were placed here from 1683 to 1928. In course of time, the oldest of these sculptures were moved to a safe place to protect them from nature and man! It was pretty cloudy when we went and this sculpture of statue of John of Nepomuk which is the oldest of the sculptures currently on the bridge. Made of bronze, its green & gold against the grey sky was just stunning!!! The other 2 sculptures atop? Keep it in mind, I'll tell you more about it in the next post.At the either ends of this Bridge are the Lesser Town Bridge Tower and Old Town Bridge Tower. Both of these can be climbed for a great view of the bridge and whole of Prague, which we skipped though!From there we walked to another symbol of Prague - the astronomical clock! Yes, it does get crowded as the clock strikes every hour and the to view how the clock functions from the interiors, a guided tour of the Old Town Hall needs to be taken. Check out my last post for complete details about this place. By the way, notice the Old Town Hall Tower in the picture inside my notebook? Read more about it here! That's one more place struck-off from this notebook of DDLJ!From here we headed to the Church of our Lady of Týn (Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem). Originally this was built in Gothic architecture in 14th C CE, however the interiors are a very very rich Baroque work made in 17th C CE. Guess whose tomb I saw here? Astronomer Tycho Brahe's! His face was in the ceiling of Greenwich Painted Hall! The organ here is the oldest in Prague. It was just so so rich, perhaps the 'gold-est' church I've ever seen! Sadly, photography wasn't allowed inside, so pics of it here....The next stop was the Old-New Synagogue. This is the oldest living Synagogue in whole of Europe! Yes, the name is indeed confusing! Well - it WAS the New Synagogue in 13th C CE when it was built. In course of time, as several other synagogues sprung up by 16th C CE, this was called Old - New Synagogue! The architecture is unusual with its medieval double nave (main section is one nave surrounded on all 3 sides by the 2nd nave for women) which is absent in later constructions. Don't miss the Baroque money box to the right as soon as you enter! 2 different things I heard about its function are - its for tax collection and its for donations for the synagogue which is supposedly to be done discreetly not seen by anyone! I'm unsure which is or if both are true!!! All the stunning chandeliers and the brass brackets here belong to the 15th - 16th C CE. Apart from this there is the Mitzvah and Jerusalem Synagogue which we missed. Though, this is the main region of Prague, another very important region with more historical significance is Vysehrad. This is kind-of the birth place of Prague itself and it was where the royal seat was, once upon a time! Today its is a castle as well, just like Prague castle, but so much more quiet, peaceful, quaint and picturesque! Its located south of Prague city and requires a 20 min Tram ride. We set aside a bit more than half a day for this and with whatever we missed, this place is worth an entire day's visit. So yeah, a dedicated post about Vysehrad is coming up next. Stay tuned.From here, we could see the very long fortification wall that ran all over Prague! However this doesn't serve any military purpose. This is called the Hunger wall! If Roosevelt got people to make roads during depression, emperor Charles IV, got this wall built by people, just to provide them with wages, so they can eat! That's why its also called 'built for bread'!Finally we set-off back towards the Hotel Kinsky Garden where Petrin Hill is situated. After seeing quite a few views from atop Prague Castle, Vysehrad etc, I was wondering if yet another view from atop is worth it! But guess what? Seeing, Prague the background with the Funicular Railway line in the foreground is so definitely worth it. The best part - Funicular ride doesn't require any special ticket. Its a part of the public transport system and is included in all public transport passes! There are quite a few places to see atop here including a miniature Eiffel tower (Petrin Observation Tower), a Mirror maze, a beer brewed by a monastery etc, but with the lack of time, we didn't get to explore these.This entire space, encompassing Prague castle in the north to Vysehrad in the south, is all listed together under UNESCO as the Historical Centre of Prague! Have you seen the entire list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this blog?To Stay: Hotel at all price points are available in Prague. Check out my review of Hotel Kinsky Garden where I stayed.To Get There:Refer to my earlier posts from Prague Castle, Old Town Hall & Astronomical clock and Vysehrad.On Google Maps: Charles Bridge, Lesser Town Bridge Tower, Old Town Bridge Tower, Old-New Synagogue, Petrin Hill Funicular, Eiffel Tower on Petrin Hill.All sites can be reached by Prague public transport system incl metro, buses, trams and funicular rail. There is a very useful 72hrs Public Transport ticket for 310CZK, which can be bought at any of the ticket vending machines incl. airport.Entry Tickets & Timings:Lesser Town Bridge Tower: 10AM - 6/8/10PMOld Town Bridge Tower: 10AM - 6/8/10PMOld-New Synagogue: CZK 200; Sun-Thu: 9AM to 5/6PM; Fri: 9AM to 3AM. Closed on Sat;Mitzvah: 50 CZK; Sun-Fri: 1PM - 1:30PM accessible only with guided tourPetrin Hill Funicular: 9AM - 11:20PM with trains every 10/15mins in summer/winter respectively. Closure: Mar 4-15 & Oct 7-25My entire Prague travelogue: Street Art & Installations, Prague Castle, Old Town Hall & Astronomical Clock, Historic Centre of Prague, Vysehrad

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