Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most influential cities in Eastern Europe. It is full of cultural and historic attractions as well as lively entertainment, nightlife and restaurants scenes. Like any large city, Prague has its share of museums, galleries, and theaters. Malls and more traditional, family-owned shops provide a diverse menu of retail spaces, while some of the city’s historic neighborhoods are simply great places to wander around and soak in the atmosphere.
Going to spend time in Prague? Here are the best things to do.
Go to the theater
The centerpiece of Prague’s theater scene is the National Theater, an impressive structure that stages equally impressive performances from world-class ballet and drama troupes. The building, built in the mid-1800s is an attraction in and of itself. However, the National Theater in not the only option in town. The National Marionette Theater is a place to see an art form that has long been popular in the Czech Republic. Puppetry troupes produce high-quality shows with large puppets. Most feature 18th and 19th Century period costumes and stories. Prague also has an exciting contemporary theater scene with numerous performances spaces offering a variety of modern drama and dance performances.
Prague has a full calender of festivals. There is bound to be something going on whenever you come to this part of Europe. Some of the best examples of what’s on Prague’s calender include the Spring Festival, the Czech Beer Festival, Prague Folklore Festival, and the always popular Christmas Markets. The Spring Festival features world-class musicians performing music composed by both Czech and international composers. The Czech Beer Festival celebrates beers from dozens of large breweries and small craft breweries in the country. Traditional Czech foods are also a part of the festival. Prague’s Christmas Market takes place in two locations (Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square) during the month of December, while the Folklore Festival draws fairy tale enthusiasts and folklore lovers from around the world.
Wander Old Town
Some of the best experiences in Prague can be found by simply wandering around the Old Town section of the city. The Main Square, site of many important events in Czech history, features Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture as well as interesting sights like monuments and the famous Astronomical Clock. This is also a great area for eating and drinking, with a wealth of cafes, restaurants and pubs making it possible a full day in this district.
Old Town is also littered with shops selling collectables, souvenirs and hand-made goods. Many of the storefronts near the central square are more tourist oriented, but the lane-ways of the Old Town hold a number of cheaper, more authentic alternatives. The traditional Christmas Markets held in December are also a good choice for people seeking some more authentic shopping fun. Meanwhile, Prague has a wealth of department stores and malls for those who really want to shop until they drop.
Visiting Prague’s most amazing buildings
Some of Prague’s most impressive architecture is found in its churches and synagogues. You don’t have to be interested in their religious significance to appreciate the design and history of these buildings. Some historic synagogues are located in the Jewish Quarter, while impressive Catholic structure like St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica are examples of the grandiose style of Medieval and Renaissance churches. Prague also has numerous historic bridges spanning that Vltava River. These are Some newer forms of architecture are also worth seeing, including the Dancing House, a rather whimsical structure built by famed architect Frank Gehry.
Going to the Museum of Communism
Prague has its share of interesting museums. One of the most unique is the Museum of Communism, a exhibit space that shows how this controversial style of government influenced the Czech Republic over the years and how certain groups fought to overthrow it. The museum also has a number of communist era artifacts that are interesting from a historic perspective.