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Prague, Czech Republic City Info
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Europe > Czech Republic
Prague




Areas of the historical center:
Hradcany, Mala Strana (Lesser Town)
Stare Mesto (Old Town) including Josefov, Nove Mesto (New Town) and Vysehrad

The main attraction for many is simply walking along the winding cobblestone streets and enjoying the unique atmosphere. Exquisite examples from the history of European architecture--from Romanesque to Renaissance, baroque to art nouveau and cubist--are crammed next to one another on twisting narrow streets.

Alfons Mucha Museum (Muzeum A. Muchy):
Panská 7, Praha 1.
02/628 4162.
Daily 10am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Mustek.
This museum opened in early 1998 near Wenceslas Square to honor the high priest of art nouveau, Alphonse (Alfons in Czech) Mucha. The new museum, around the corner from the Palace Hotel, combines examples of his graphic works, posters, and paintings as well as shows his influence in jewelry, fashion, and advertising.

Bedr[av]ich Smetana Museum (Muzeum B. Smetany):
Novotného lávka 1, Praha 1.
02/2422 9075.
Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Starome[av]stská; tram 17 or 18.
Concerts are held here, and you can buy tickets on site or at Prague Information Service, Na Pr[av]íkope[av] 20, Praha 1 (187 in Prague or 02/264 022 outside Prague). This museum, opened in 1936 (in what was the former Old Town waterworks) jutting out into the Vltava next to Charles Bridge, pays tribute to the deepest traditions of Czech classical music and its most patriotic composer, Bedr[av]ich Smetana.

Bertramka (W. A. Mozart Museum):
Mozartova 169, Praha 5.
02/543 893
Daily 9:30am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Tram: 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, or 16 from Ande[av]l metro station.
Chamber concerts are often held here, usually starting at 5pm. Tickets are available on site or at Prague Information Service, Na Pr[av]íkope[av] 20, Praha 1. Mozart loved Prague, and when he visited, the composer often stayed at this villa owned by the Dus[av]ek family. Now a museum, it contains displays with his written work and his harpsichord. There's also a lock of Mozart's hair, encased in a cube of glass. Much of the Bertramka villa was destroyed by fire in the 1870s, but Mozart's rooms, where he finished composing the opera Don Giovanni, have miraculously remained untouched.

Bethlehem Chapel (Betlémská kaple):
Betlémské nám. 4,
Praha 1. (Praha 1).
Apr-Oct, daily 9am-6pm; Nov-Mar, daily 9am-5pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line B to Národní trída.
This is the site where, in the early 15th century, the Czech Protestant theologian Jan Hus angered the Catholic hierarchy with sermons critical of the establishment. He was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415 at Konstanz in present-day Germany and became a martyr for the Czech Protestant and later nationalist cause. A memorial to Hus dominates the center of Old Town Square. The chapel was completed in 1394 but reconstructed in the early 1950s. In the main hall you can still see the original stone floors and the pulpit from where Hus preached; it's used as a ceremonial hall for Czech national events.

Church of Our Lady Victorious--Holy Child of Prague (Kláster Prazského):
Karmelitská 9, Praha 1.
Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm, Sun 1-5:30pm.
Fee for occasional concerts.
Museum of the Infant Jesus: Admission charged.
Metro: Line A to Malostranská.
This 1613 early baroque home of the Carmelite order is famous throughout Italy and Latino countries for the wax statue of Jesus displayed on an altar of the right wing of the church. The Bambini di Praga (Baby of Prague) was presented to the Carmelites by the Habsburg patron Polyxena of Lobkowicz in 1628 and is revered as a valuable Catholic relic from Spain. Copies of the Bambini are sold frequently on the Lesser Town streets outside the church, angering some of the faithful.

Church of St. Nicholas (Kostel sv. Mikulás[av]e):
Malostranské nám. 1,Praha 1.
Free admission.
Metro: Line A to Malostranská.
This church is one of the best examples of high baroque architecture north of the Alps. However, K. I. Dienzenhofer's 1711 design didn't have the massive dome that now dominates the Lesser Town skyline below Prague Castle. Dienzenhofer's son, Krys[av]tof, added the 260-foot-high dome during additional work completed in 1752. The gilded interior is stunning. Gold-capped marble-veneered columns frame altars packed with statuary and frescoes added through the centuries. A giant statue of the church's namesake looks down from the high altar, as the midday sun strains through the domes, lighting it and the frescoes.

Church of St. Nicholas (Kostel sv. Mikuláse):
Old Town Square at Parízská, Praha 1.
Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.
Free admission, except for occasional concerts.
Metro: Line A to Staromestská.
At the site of a former Gothic church begun by German merchants, this St. Nicholas church was designed in 1735 by the principal architect of Czech baroque, K. I. Dienzenhofer. He's the same Dienzenhofer who designed Prague's other St. Nicholas Church, in Lesser Town (see above). This church isn't as ornate as the other but has a more tumultuous history. The Catholic monastery was closed in 1787, and the church was handed over for use as a concert hall in 1865. The city's Russian Orthodox community began using it in 1871, but in 1920 management was handed to the Protestant Hussites. One notable piece inside is the 19th-century crystal chandelier with glass brought from the town of Harrachov. Concerts are still held here.

Dvor[av]ák Museum (Muzeum A. Dvor[av]áka):
Ke Karlovu 20, Praha 2.
02/298 214
Tues-Sun 10-5.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line C to I. P. Pavlova.
Built in 1712, the two-story rococo building, tucked away on a Nové Me[av]sto side street, was Dvor[av]ák's home for 24 years until his death in 1901. In the 18th century when the building was erected, this part of Prague was frontier land. Czechs willing to open businesses so far from the center were called "Americans" for their pioneer spirit. This building came to be known as America. Opened in 1932, the museum shows an extensive collection, including the composer's piano, spectacles, Cambridge cap and gown, photographs, and sculptures. Several rooms are furnished as they were around 1900.

Kinsk‡ Palace (Palác Kinsk‡ch):
Staromestské námestí, Praha 1.
02/2481 0758.
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line A to Staromestská.
The rococo Kinsk‡ Palace houses graphic works from the National Gallery collection, including pieces by Georges Braque, André Derain, and other modern masters. Pablo Picasso's 1907 Self-Portrait is here and has virtually been adopted as the National Gallery's logo. Good-quality international exhibits have included Max Ernst and Rembrandt retrospectives, as well as shows on functional arts and crafts.

Loreto Palace (Loreta):
Loretánské nám. 7, Praha 1.
02/2051-6740
Tues-Sun 9am-12:15pm and 1-4:30pm.
Admission charged.
Tram: 22 from Malostranská.
Loreto Palace was named after the town of Loreto, Italy, where the dwelling of the Virgin Mary was said to have been brought by angels from Palestine in the 13th century. After the Roman Catholics defeated the Protestant Bohemians in 1620, the Loreto cult was chosen as the device for a re-Catholicization of Bohemia. The Loreto legend holds that a cottage in which the Virgin Mary lived had been miraculously transferred from Nazareth to Loreto, an Italian city near Ancona. The Loreto Palace is thought to be an imitation of this cottage, and more than 50 copies have been constructed throughout the Czech lands. The Loreto's facade is decorated with 18th-century statues of the four writers of the Gospel--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--along with a lone female, St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary.

Mu[ao]stek Metro Station:
The street follows the line of the old fortifications all the way down to the Gothic Powder Tower at náme[av]stí Republiky.
Václavské náme[av]stí, Praha 1.
Metro: Line A or B.
It's not the metro station itself, which is hardly 20 years old, that warrants an entry here. Descending Mu[ao]stek's lower escalators, the illuminated stone remains of what was once a bridge that connected the fortifications of Prague's Old and New Towns can be seen.

Museum of the City of Prague (Muzeum hlavního me[av]sta Prahy):
The museum is 1 block north of the Florenc metro station.
Na por[av]íc[av]í 52, Praha 8.
02/2481 6772
Tues-Sun 9am-6pm, Thurs 9am-8pm.
Admission Charged
This delightfully upbeat museum encompasses Prague's illustrious past.
Permanent exhibition: Ancient Prague - the history of the city and its inhabitants from prehistoric times to 1620. Prague between the Middle and New Ages. Langweil´s model of Prague created during 1826 - 1837 - a unique three dimensional representation of the city made of paper and wood.

Alfons Mucha Museum (Muzeum A. Muchy):
Panská 7, Praha 1. Phone 02/628 4162 E-mail museum@mucha.cz.
Daily 10am-6pm
Metro: Mustek
Admission charged.
This museum opened in early 1998 near Wenceslas Square to honor the art nouveau master, Alphonse (Alfons in Czech) Mucha. Though the Moravian born turn of the 20th century master spent most of his creative years in Paris drawing luminaries like actress Sarah Bernhardt, Mucha's influence can still be seen throughout his home country. The new museum, around the corner from the Palace Hotel, combines examples of his graphic works, posters, and paintings and highlights his influence in jewelry, fashion, and advertising.

Petr[av]ín Tower (Rozhledna):
Atop Petr[av]ín Hill, Praha 1.
Apr-Oct, daily 9:30am-8pm; Nov-Mar, Sat-Sun only 9:30am-5pm.
Admission charged.
Tram: 12 or 22 to Újezd, then ride the funicular to the top.
A one-fifth scale copy of Paris's Eiffel Tower, Prague's Petr[av]ín Tower was constructed out of recycled railway track for the 1891 Prague Exhibition. It functioned as the city's primary telecommunications tower until the Emir Hoffman tower opened. Today the Eiffel replica exists solely as a tourist attraction. Those who climb the 195 feet to the top are treated to striking views, particularly at night.

Powder Tower (Pras[av]ná brána, literally Powder Gate):
Náme[av]stí Republiky, Praha 1.
Metro: Line B to Náme[av]stí Republiky
Once part of Staré Me[av]sto's system of fortifications, the Old Town Powder Tower (as opposed to the Powder Tower in Prague Castle) was built in 1475 as one of the walled city's major gateways. The 140-foot-tall tower marks the beginning of the Royal Route, the traditional 3/4-mile-long route along which medieval Bohemian monarchs paraded on their way to being crowned in Prague Castle's St. Vitus Cathedral. It also was the east gate to the Old Town on the road to Kutná Hora. The tower was acutely damaged during the Prussian invasion of Prague in 1737. The present-day name derived from the 18th century, when the development of Nové Me[av]sto rendered this protective tower obsolete; it was then used as a gunpowder storehouse.

Old Town Hall (Starome[av]stská radnice) and Astronomical Clock (orloj):
Starome[av]stské náme[av]stí, Praha 1.
02/2422 8456
May-Oct, Mon 11am-6pm, Tues-Sun 9am-6pm; Nov-Apr, Mon 11am-5pm, Tues-Sun 9am-5pm.
Admission charged to Town Hall tower.
Metro: Line A to Starome[av]stská.
Crowds congregate in front of Old Town Hall's Astronomical Clock (orloj) to watch the glockenspiel spectacle that occurs hourly from 8am to 8pm. Built in 1410, the clock has long been an important symbol of Prague. According to legend, after the timepiece was remodeled at the end of the 15th century, clock artist Master Hanus[av] was blinded by the Municipal Council so that he couldn't repeat his fine work elsewhere. In retribution, Hanus[av] threw himself into the clock mechanism and promptly died.

S[av]ternberk Palace Art Museum (of the National Gallery) (S[av]ternbersk‡ palác):
Hradc[av]anské nám. 15, Praha 1.
02/2051 4599
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line A to Malostranská or Hradc[av]anská.
The jewel in the National Gallery crown (also known as the European Art Museum), the gallery at S[av]ternberk Palace, adjacent to the main gate of Prague Castle, displays a wide menu of European art throughout the ages. It features six centuries of everything from oils to sculptures. The permanent collection is divided chronologically into pre-19th-century art, 19th- and 20th-century art, and 20th-century French painting and sculpture. Also included is a good selection of cubist paintings by Braque and Picasso, among others. Temporary exhibits, such as Italian Renaissance bronzes, are always on show. The Veletrz[av]ní Palace now houses most of the National Gallery's 20th-century art collection. The rest of the national collection is divided between Kinsk‡ Palace on Old Town Square and St. Agnes Convent near the river.

St. Agnes Convent (Klás[av]ter sv. Anez[av]ky C[av]eské):
The convent is at the end of Anez[av]ka, off Has[av]talské náme[av]stí.
U milosrdn‡ch 17, Praha 1.
02/2481 0628
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line A to Starome[av]stská.
A complex of early Gothic buildings and churches dating from the 13th century, the convent, tucked in a corner of Staré Me[av]sto, was once home to the Order of the Poor Clares. It was established in 1234 by St. Agnes of Bohemia, sister of Wenceslas I. The Blessed Agnes became St. Agnes when Pope John Paul II paid his first visit to Prague in 1990 for her canonization. The convent is now home to the National Gallery's collection of 19th- and 20th-century Czech art. In addition to rooms of contemplative oils, the museum contains many bronze studies that preceded the casting of some of the city's greatest public monuments, including the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas atop the National Theater. Downstairs, a Children's Workshop offers hands-on art activities, most of which incorporate religious themes. The grounds surrounding the convent are inviting.

St. George's Convent at Prague Castle (Kláster sv. Jirího na Prazském hrade):
Jirské nám. 33.
02/5732 0536
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.
Admission charged.
Metro: Line A to Malostranská or Hradcanská
Dedicated to displaying old Czech art, the castle convent is especially packed with Gothic and baroque Bohemian iconography as well as portraits of patron saints. The most famous among the unique collection of Czech Gothic panel paintings are those by the Master of the Hohenfurth Altarpiece and the Master Theodoricus. The collections are arranged into special exhibits usually revolving around a specific place, person, or time in history.

Strahov Monastery and Library (Strahovsk‡ kláster):
Strahovské nádvorí, Praha 1.
02/2051 6671
Tues-Sun 9am-noon and 1-5pm.
Admission 40Kc adults, 20Kc students.
Tram: 22 from Malostranská metro station.
The second oldest monastery in Prague, Strahov was founded high above Malá Strana in 1143 by Vladislav II. It's still home to Premonstratensian monks, a scholarly order closely related to the Jesuits, and their dormitories and refectory are off-limits. What draws visitors are the monastery's ornate libraries, holding more than 125,000 volumes. Over the centuries, the monks have assembled one of the world's best collections of philosophical and theological texts, including illuminated manuscripts and first editions.

T‡n Church or the Church of Our Lady Before T‡n (Kostel paní Marie pred T‡nem):
Staromestské námestí, Praha 1, entrance from Stupartská.
Metro: Line A to Staromestská.
Huge double square towers with multiple black steeples make this church the most distinctive standout of Old Town Square. The "T‡n" was the fence marking the border of the central marketplace in the 13th century. The church's present configuration was completed mostly in the 1380s, and it became the main church of the Protestant Hussite movement in the 15th century (though the small Bethlehem Chapel in Old Town where Hus preached is the cradle of the Czech Protestant reformation.

Veletrzní Palace (National Gallery):
Veletrzní at Dukelsk‡ch hrdinu 47, Praha 7.
02/2430 1111
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm (Thurs to 9pm)
Admission charged.
Metro: Line C to Vltavská or tram 17.
This 1925 constructionist palace, built for trade fairs, was remodeled and reopened in December 1995 to hold the bulk of the National Gallery's collection of 20th-century works by Czech and other European artists. .

Nightlife:

Akropolis
Doors open 7.30am. Tram #5, #9 or #26.
Kubelíkova 27, Zízkov.
Decent live arts/gig venue in the backstreets of seedy Zízkov

Agharta, Jazz Centrum,
Krakovská 5, Nové Mesto.
Open until 1am.
Metro Muzeum
jazz club with a good mix of foreigners and locals.

Radost FX
Belehradská 120, Vinohrady.
Open until 6am. Metro I.P. Pavlova.
Known as the best dance club in Prague, with a great veggie café attached

Reduta
Národní 20, Nové Mesto
Open Mon-Fri until 2am, though the music stops at midnight.
Prague's oldest-established jazz club, serving up anything from traditional to modern

James Joyce Pub
Liliová 10
02/2424-8793
is authentically Irish (it has Irish owners), with Guinness on tap and excellent fish-and-chips.

Jo's Bar
Malostranské nám. 7
no phone
is a haven for younger expats, serving bottled beer, mixed drinks, and good Mexican food.


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