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In Prague you will likely spend more time outdoor walking the streets than indoor pacing museums. That is because over the years the Austrian empire that ruled Prague for 500 years claimed Prague’s art collections for itself, and sent to Vienna so much of Prague’s art. Not so with buildings of course – Prague has kept its splendid architecture that neither Nazi nor Soviet occupation dared to delete.
And so, anticipating all the walking you’ll be doing, you may want to adapt your visiting strategy accordingly:
- Carry walking shoes & wear, and take a light backpack and a water container with you (or you can buy beer wherever you are).
- Carry with you a map of the metro and tram networks
- Hire a tour guide for a day, as you would in a museum. She/he will provide context and meaning for what you see. Do that preferably on the first day.
The NEIGHBOURHOODS you will want to spend enough time includes:-
- the Old Town. It stretches from the Powder gate to the Rudolfinum concert hall, and also includes the Jewish Quarter Josefov.
- the Prague castle, on the opposite side of the river
- Kampa Island, right off Charles bridge, on the castle side of the Vltava river
- Vyšehrad castle and its view of the river and the city
With the National Museum closed for renovation work, include in your program the new, small and dense (and sometimes private) museums of Prague:
ARTBANKA museum –a Baroque town-house right alongside Charles Bridge has been brilliantly dedicated to the contemporary art production
MUCHA MUSEUM is dedicated to Prague’s great Art Nouveau artist and designer.
MUSEUM OF COMMUNISM acts as a powerful reminder of the oppressive regime that Prague was able to shake off only in 1989.
Tyn church on the Old Town Square and Saint-Vitus(chrám Svatého Víta) in the Prague castle complex are a must.
You will also want to see one of the synagogues in the Jewish Quarter or the Cemetery, eerily fascinating when you consider how it survived 5 solid years of Nazi occupation.