Prague is a city with well preserved architecture built within the last millenium, as well as many other attractions that are worth visiting – so saying what is the best depends mainly on the tastes of the visitor than any general opinion. Nevertheless, there is a certain portfolio of sights a visitor should see no matter what their preferences are, sights that make the character of the place and are unmistakably connected to it. This small recommendation shall give the reader a small hint of what should not been missed from the point of view of an insider, rather than a guidebook author from outside. What we, the Czechs, consider as important in our lives and history…
Clearly, the sight number one of the whole country, the place which was and is repeatedly visited by all is Prague Castle: its space dominance is evident from everywhere around the historic city, and its symbolic supremacy over all other places in the Czech Republic is obvious. The seat of the Czech sovereigns since the earliest ages and the seat of Czech (or Czechoslovakian) presidents since 1918 is in fact a large complex of buildings serving many different purposes, not just a castle in the narrow sense: it comprises the Cathedral of saints Vít, Václav and Vojtěch – since 1344 the seat of the archbishops of Prague, a convent, noblemen palaces and many other buildings. A proper visit of the Castle and all its spaces will take you a day or more.
Number two in our list belongs to Wenceslas square – the modern central meeting point of the nation. Wenceslas Square is large as it was devoted to horse market upon its foundation around the half of the 15th century. Although i tis architecturally mixed of many different styles mostly of the late 19th or early 20th century and its visible history is therefore not long, i tis a place considered the heart of the country and you may know it from photos of large public gatherings, demonstrations etc… Nazis occupying Prague and riding their vehicles across the square, as well as Václav Havel on the balcony over the sqauer – these and many more are images depicting the imprtance of this large square in our modern history.
Thie third in turn comes Charles Bridge: linking the two opposite banks of Vltava river, and lined up with baroque statues of saint patrons, many say it is one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, and we agree. It is not monumental and does not boast any technical wonders, but has certain unrepeatable charm that allures everyone. But if you are scheduling yout trip by yourself, avoid visiting it during the usual day hours, as i tis packed: try to come early in the morning, or later at night: its magic will capture you with intensity.
The Old Town Square
Number four? The Old Town Square, the town hall and the astromonical clock: although packed with visitors, this place is well worth a visit: do not miss the Týn church, one of the oldest Gothic religious buildings on the square, or a thorough visit of the interiors of the town hall including the tower.
National Theatre playe dan immense role in the formation of the Czech nation and country in the second half of the 19th century and remains a place where everyone should go, if even only once in a lifetime. Large neoreanniassance buidling ant he bank of Vltava provides tours for those who do not wish to see any of many opera or ballet performances. A classic in every sense…
The Municipal Hall and Rudolfinum
The sixth sights are two, as they belong to the same period and serve the same purpose: The Municipal Hall is one, while Rudolfinum the other one. Both date back to a similar era, and express the utmost differences. Both are home to best music bodies – Czech philharmonic in Rudolfinum, and Prague Philharmonic in Municipal house. Both offer large exposition spaces offering both Czech and international art of the highest standards.
Convent of Saint Agnes
The happy seven goes to the Saint Agnes convent – not only for its interiour beauties, that are augmented by the exposition of the gothic art belonging to the National gallery, but also for its significant role in the past: it was the first charity convent in Prague taking care of poor and old.
Our eighth choice is the main seat of the modern expositions of the National gallery in Prague: Fair palace. An exemplary constructivism building constructed for fairs of all kinds in the mid-war era, it houses the best Czech private and state collectors gathered: from impressionists across fauvists, from Picasso to Moore, every fan of modern visual arts will get his money´s worth.
Number nine is reserved to the unique construction of Dancing house dating back to 1990ies: its unconventional form expressing a dancing couple attracts the eyes and minds of many.
When thinking about what else might complement our list, there is a route which is a pleasant experience if you take your children on holiday to Prague: funicular to Petřín hill and a walk aling the hill with a visit of Mirror Maze, observatory and Strahov monastery: a pleasant half day spent in beautiful natural scenery. Highly recomended in spring, summer or autumn.