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PRAGUE

is one of the world´s leading destinations for culture and tourism, its breathtaking architecture steeped in history. Below we have tried to give you just a taste for some of the highlights of this magical city.

NOVE MESTO (NEW TOWN)

home to Hotel OPERA, was founded in 1348 by king Charles IV. The main Prague´s boulevard Vaclavske namesti, full of shops and restaurants, is situated here. In the top section stands a bronze equestrian statue of Prince Wenceslas (1912) by J.V. Myslbek and behind it the National Museum (1818). At the opposite end of the quarter, by the Vltava river, is the National Theatre (1868).

JOSEFOV (OLD JEWISH QUARTER)

This part of Old Town is a Prague´s former Jewish ghetto. The Old-New Synagogue (1270) is Europe´s oldest working synagogue. The Pink Synagogue (1535) is a place of worship inscribed with the names , birth dates and dates of disappearance of 77,297 Czech Holocaust victims. The Spanish synagogue (1868), named for its Moorish interior, offers an exhibit of Jews in the Czech Republic from emancipation to the present day. Perhaps the most visceral of Prague´s memorials, the Old Jewish Cemetery, has been a monument to dignity in the face of persecution and suffering since the 15th century.

STAROMESTSKE NAMESTI (OLD TOWN SQUARE)

has been Prague´s working heart since the 10th century, and hosted its largest market until the beginning of the 20th century. The sculpture of Jan Hus dominates the square the same way the martyr´s memory dominates Czech history. It was erected in 1915, 500 years after the religious reformer was burned at the stake. Nearby, Old Town Hall (1338) was heavilly damaged in WWII, but the famous Astronomical Clock (1410) survived. Visitors intent on ogling the mechanical marvel wait for the hourly show, when Death rings a bell and inverts his hourglass and a parade of apostles appears, nodding to the crowd.

KARLUV MOST (CHARLES BRIDGE)

Walk the Royal Way to the Vltava river, where KARLUV MOST has endured traffic for 600 years – thanks, legend says, the eggs mixed into the mortar.

Other sights worth seeking out around the square include Powder Tower (1475), location for the infamous defenestrations; Kinsky Palace (1765) with Prague´s finest rococo facade or gothic St James Church (1350).

MALA STRANA (SMALL QUARTER)

is the most picturesque district of Prague, famous for its baroque palaces and old houses. The steep narrow streets climbing to the castle smell of romance and mystery. The Small Quarter is a favourite location for movie and commercial sets (Amadeus, Mission Imposiible, XXX, Blade). The Small Quarter started up in the 8th and 9th centuries as a market settlement and it was almost destroyed in the Hussite wars at the beginning of the 15th century. Dominating the quarter is St Nicholas Church (not to be confused with the eponymous chapel on the Old Town Square). This exquisite building, with its huge green cupola, houses the larges fresco in Europe, Johann Kracker´s Life of St Nicholas (1770).

PRAZSKY HRAD (PRAGUE CASTLE)

may be the largest ancient castle in the world – 570m long, an average of 128m wide and occupying 7,28 hectares. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Prague. The castle has been the seat of Czech government since Prince Borivoj founded the first fortified settlement in the 9th century. The most popular edificies include gothic St Vitus Cathedral (1344) with glittering Chapel of St Wenceslas and the Old Royal Palace (1135) with its jousting and coronation hall, still used for the election of new presidents. An unnusal attarction is a network of tunnels the communist government built in 1950 for easy access to the bomb shelters.

HRADCANY

This residential area around the west gate of Prague Castle is full of well-kept baroque- and rococo-style houses. Hradcany Square has kept its shape since the Middle Ages. At its centre is a column by Ferdinand Brokoff (1726) commemorating Prague´s struggle against the plague. At Loretanske Namesti the main attraction is the Loreta (1626) with a world-famous Peal, an extraordinary baroque place of pilgrimage designed to resemble the house of the Virgin Mary. Another wothwhile destination in the Hradcany is Strahov Monastery (1140, completed in the 18th century), which features a baroque church where Mozart is said to have played, and the Strahov Library, with its extraordinary collection of tomes and education-themed frescos.

PETRIN

This 318m hill topped with a network of parks comprises one of Prague´s largest green spaces. This is the perfect location for quiet walks and picture-perfect views of the „city of 100 spires“. You can take a funicular railway to the summit of the hill. Near the terminus is Stefanic Observatory and Petrin Tower, a 62m copy of the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1891 Prague Exposition.

VYSEHRAD

Ancient legends situate the original seat of the Czech princes - the legendary Princess Libuse and the first Przemyslides - on the hill. In fact, however, this fort had not been founded until the Prague Castle was already in existence, since it dates back to the mid-10th century. Among noteworthy sight there are the precious romanesque rotunda of St. Martin from the 11th century, the gothic church of St. Peter and Paul (in the late 19th century rebuilt in the neogothic style), the Vysehrad cemetery used as a burial site of the Czech outstanding personalilties since 1869 with a collective tomb called Slavin, the underground casemates housing the originals of several baroque statues from the Charles Bridge.