Prague isn’t always one for people to tick off their list when travelling through Europe. It may not have the 16.9 million annual visitors of London, the Louvre of Paris, or even the tapas of Madrid, but what it does have is some of the most stunning architecture on the planet. Combine that with the world-renowned opera and even more renowned beer, and you have a truly stunning destination.
Prague welcomes around four and a half million people each year to sample the breathtaking structures of the city that range from the Romanesque to Gothic to modern-day gems, and there are some that you simply mustn’t miss out on…
It might be worth beginning your trip with a stay at the Hilton Hotel. Not only will it provide you with a relaxing stay just a stone’s throw from the Old Town, but it also fits in with Prague’s unique punk attitude.
The modern building has a series of overhangs that almost makes it look like a Tetris block, whilst inside you can enjoy fabulous Czech cuisine and even visit the excellent poker room that regularly welcomes the best players in the world for the Eureka PT. Of course, you may wish to just view the fine architecture in the city, and there’s no better start than in the Hilton’s Cloud 9 bar which offers unrivalled views of the Czech capital.
Zizkov TV Tower
Looking out as you’re sipping your cocktail, you’ll see the Zizkov TV Tower, another building with attitude – not least because of the babies scaling the 216 metre high antenna spire. As the work of David Cerny, who has his sculptures dotted across the city (be sure to go on the Cerny sculpture walk), the babies are just part of what make this building so unique. Its design certainly splits opinion and gets people talking, and you’re sure to be taken aback.
It was built between 1985 and 1992 during the communist era, and therefore is generally resented by locals, but love it or hate it, it’s certainly a must see – well, you can’t really miss it.
Affectionately referred to as Fred and Ginger, there’s no split in opinion when it comes to the Dancing House. Standing amongst the classic Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau architecture that defines the city, this waltzing building adds a touch of playfulness amidst the goblins and biblical references, and houses a fantastic French restaurant as well as a 360degree summer terrace.
The history of the castle dates back to the year 870, so as you can imagine it has gone through a few renovations throughout the years and offers plenty of history. The castle is the official home of the President and has been the throne of Roman emperors and kings of Bohemia throughout its years of existence. If you were to sum up architectural Prague in one excursion, it would be here. The castle represents almost every style over the last thousand years, including the Romanesque Basilica of St George, a monastery, palaces, and even the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral – one of the city’s best sites.
Prague National Theatre
Opened on 11 June 1881 to the sights and sounds of Libuse, the National Theatre has become one of the most culturally important buildings in the Czech Republic. Located on the banks of the Vltava river, the building was destroyed just months after opening night, eventually being redesigned by Josef Schulz into the iconic building we see today.
The building today still plays a big part in Prague’s entertainment calendar, regularly hosting opera, which is worth enjoying if not to only take a look around the magnificent auditorium.
It’s Time To Go To Prague!
Prague has long been the political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe. The city has won and lost many fortunes during its 1,100-year existence, but ever since it was founded in the Romanesque and Gothic Eras, it has been a stunning place worth visiting. When you get to this splendid city, try to see at least a few of these travellers gems… you won’t be disappointed.