Prague, “The City of a Hundred Spires.” I never thought in a million years I would fall in love with a new city, but it happened. Prague might be straight from a fairy tale city with its colorful buildings layered in Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance designs and history around every corner. Enough of me pouring my love for this unique place. Let’s talk about my explorations during my one full day here.
Pop Pop thought the best way to see and learn the most during our short stay was by hiring a personal guide. So, we met up with Lida, the delightful woman from last night, and began our journey. I cannot go into full detail about all the things I learned and saw like I did for Paris, Dublin and Berlin because I don’t think anyone has the time for me to elaborate on my ten hour walk through Prague. Also, I found it easy to get lost in Lida’s accent. Not that her accent was strong, but for some reason this city caused my mind to wander. It’s probably because I thought I was in a dream.
I think it is important for me to describe the history of Prague very briefly, since it is something I really know nothing about. The area’s first inhabitants came during the early stone age. The construction of the Prague Castle in 870 in an area known as Bohemia marked a time of expansion in the region. Jump ahead a few hundred years to the end of the 12th century, and Prague became a city. The Old Town of Prague arose in 1220 and united with Lesser Town in the late 13th century. Another town, the Castle Quarter, appeared at the beginning of the 14th century. Great prosperity came to the area under the rule of King Charles IV, who established a university, built Charles’ Bridge and founded New Town in the second half of the 14th century. Prague transformed from its Gothic era to the Renaissance under the Hapsburgs in the 19th century. After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.
That, of course, is an extremely chopped up history of the city, and not in perfect description, as none of my posts are (sorry, I am not a historian and I do not have time to be right now). I will definitely have to look more into the evolution of Prague. On this tour, it seemed as if every single building was in some way of historical importance. We passed churches, music halls, restaurants, shops and homes, many of which were medieval buildings that had been converted. One example of a renovated area Lida showed us was a bar called Zephyr. She was so upset as she showed the bar to us because the owners are using a historical underground area that is hundreds of years old as a club. She said bars in this area had to be underground due to noise restrictions in the town. I understand why she is not happy with this transformation, but on the the other hand, the bar looked incredibly fun and I was ready to start dancing.
Another really cool thing we visited was the alchemy museum. Dating back to the 16th century, this was only discovered in 2002 due to a horrible flood that created a hole in one of the secret tunnels leading to the secret lab. Alchemy is basically a mixture of the sciences, possibly along with witchcraft. Emperor Rudolph II firmly supported this practice, so many elixirs and mixtures were concocted and tested during his reign. Some solutions included eternal life and love, and used over 30 different herbs.
It was incredible walking through the pavement stone streets and looking into homes with Renaissance era paintings on the ceilings, with medieval foundations and a Baroque exterior. The small passageways throughout the buildings with walls that dated back to hundreds of years ago were quite romantic. I would love to get lost in this city.
One of the best things about our time with Lida was the passion she feels for Prague. Every word that came out of her mouth was nothing but love and adoration for the city. Every time she would see a McDonald’s in a historical building, she would say “My heart is breaking.” Lida firmly believes in keeping the history of the city alive and preserving nature. It was so enjoyable listening to her talk about Prague, her love for tango and views on life. During the tour, she recommended that we see a Black Light show, which is exactly what we did and will be talked about in a future post.