Prague - Czech Republic
Over the last ten years, Prague has really established itself as the destination of choice for weekending Europeans. Well known as a destination for stag and hen nights, the capital of the Czech Republic is equally suited to a romantic weekend for two. In fact, while the city has a famously exciting bar and club culture, stag and hen parties are playing a less and less important role in the city, as the majority of visitors arrive to see the sights and enjoy the rich Czech culture on offer.
The growth of Prague as a tourist destination has been hand in hand with the boom in low-cost airlines in Europe. The city’s many museums and cultural sites draw people from around the world, while the famously cheap lager keeps them coming back! Officially called Hlavní město Praha (meaning Prague, the Capital City), it sits on the River Vltava in central Bohemia.
Home to more than 1.2 million people, the complete Prague metropolitan area has a population of over 1.9 million.
Recent History of Prague
In 1989, after the Soviet riot police violently stopped a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution changed Prague forever and brought about the end of Czechoslovakia.
After the split of Czechoslovakia, in 1993, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic.
The year 2000 saw anti-globalization Protests take over Prague, with an estimate 15,000 protesters hitting the streets to register their dissatisfaction with politics, multinationals and the direction the world is taking. During the IMF and World Bank summits, the protests turned violent, leading to images of street battles between protesters and police that were beamed around the world.
Prague is officially the sixth most-visited European city after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. Many people are attracted by the striking classical European architecture, which was relatively undamaged by World War II and years of communism. From Art Nouveau to Baroque, Cubist, Gothic, Renaissance, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern, Prague is famed for its striking street scenes.
Some popular sights include:
The Lennon Wall
The museum of Heydrich assassination in the crypt of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
The Czech National Museum
Petřínská rozhledna, an observation tower on Petřín hill
The Astronomical Clock on Old Town Square
The Charles Bridge
Staré Město and Old Town Square
Nové město and Wenceslas Square
Malá Strana with its Infant Jesus of Prague
Prague Castle (the largest castle in the world) with its St. Vitus Cathedral
Josefov (the old Jewish quarter) with Old Jewish Cemetery and Old New Synagogue
Žižkov Television Tower with observation deck - Prague 3.
The Metronome, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city
The vast cemeteries that are also used for walks by the locals, such as Olšany cemetery
Prague is often cited as one of the key cultural cities of Europe and is home to many cultural events throughout the year.
As well as hundreds of concert halls, galleries and cinemas, Prague is home to a fantastic selection of nightclubs and bars. Each May, the Prague Spring International Music Festival hits town and classical music buffs from around the world replace the stag nights as Prague’s invading hoardes. Annual film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. While the city’s culinary culture is mainly typified by goulash, meat, dumplings and combinations thereof, local restaurant Allegro was the first in the whole of post-Communist Eastern Europe to receive a Michelin star.