By Kara Segedin
WHEN talking to friends who’ve spent time travelling around Europe, one place always comes up a universal favourite – Prague.
Classic, romantic and charming with a good dose of history, Prague is the quintessential European city.
For over 1000 years, the city has been one of the cultural, political and economic capitals of Europe with a rich, at times turbulent, past.
Prague, Praha to the locals, is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and lies on the banks of the Vltava River.
We arrived in town rather early — first stop, Prague Castle.
The castle is a huge complex that includes royal residences and churches and has been home to Kings, Holy Roman Emperors, Presidents and the Czech Crown Jewels.
The castle is guarded by very serious looking solders in dashing blue uniforms and like the Queen’s guards at Buckingham Palace you’d have a hard time getting one of these guys to smile.
Connecting Prague Castle to the city’s Old town is the Charles Bridge named after King Charles IV.
Built in the 14th Century, the bridge crosses the Vltava River and is lined with statues, musicians, artists and street vendors.
The focal point of the Old Town is the Old Town Square. A bustling market in medieval times, the Square is now the social heart of the city and a great place to take a break after hours sightseeing.
Not far from the Old Town Square is the must-see Astronomical Clock.
First installed in 1410, the clock shows the position of the sun and moon, various zodiac signs and every hour figures of the 12 Apostles move around the clock and four figures either side are set in motion.
Within the Old Town lies the historic Jewish Quarter. Thankfully much of the Ghetto survived the devastation of the Second World War and the area now includes six synagogues, the old cemetery and the Old Jewish Town Hall.
It is also home to one of the city’s most famous residents — the Golem of Prague!
The story goes that a 16th century rabbi called Maharal created the golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River to defend the Prague ghetto.
Some say the golem went out of control and had to be destroyed, while others say he still keeps a watchful eye over the city.
With the sun setting and hundreds of pictures on my camera, what better way to end our day of sightseeing than with a taste of Prague’s famous nightlife!
With traditional beer halls, cocktail bars and multilevel clubs, there’s something for everyone from the serious club hopper to those after a quiet drink.
Make sure you try the pivo (beer), svaÅ™Ã¡k (mulled wine) and if you’re feeling brave, slivovice (plum brandy).
Na zdravÃ (cheers)!
Party it up Czech style this New Year’s Eve with Topdeck’s 4 Day Prague New Year’s trip! Visit Topdeck.travel for more info.