Visiting Prague in 3 Days – Day 1

 View to the Castle of Prague 

Right in the center of Europe is located one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Its gothic exuberance, its medieval identity and its architectural opulence rival to create the most mysterious of dreams inside our minds.
It is passionate, addictive, like losing ourselves in a fairy tale; this is the city of Prague!

History of the city

During thousands of years, the squares in Prague were of obligatory passage in the commercial routes crossing Europe from North to South.

Prague seems to date back from 5000 B.C. due to historical findings of Paleolithic and Neolithic remains.

One of the first and most important names to come up was the “Good King”, Wenceslaus, in the VIII century, who succeeded to his grandfather Bořivoj; he strengthened the ties with Rome and the Germans, and was murdered by his brother (jealousy, maybe?)!

The evolution throughout Wenceslaus reign converted the city into one of the most important commercial centers in the Medieval Europe.

The economic expansion reflected a lot in the city’s topography, with the appearance of different areas.

In the mid XIV century the city experienced one of its biggest evolution’s under the domain of the German Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg, who established it as the capital of his Empire, by this time were constructed the university, the Charles Bridge and the Nové Mesto (New Town).

Charles Bridge

Then followed the Hussite Wars, condemning the Catholic reformist Jan Hus to the fire in 1415, which, among other things, made Czech and German Protestants to hate each other for centuries.

With the rise of the Habsburgs Catholic Dynasty to the Bohemian throne, peace and prosperity had their end.

Followed the Thirty Years’ War, during which Prague was occupied by Saxons and Swedish and there was sharp economic decline in the city, which recovery would only happen in the XVIII century.

Already in the XX century, by the time of the World War I, the leaders of the National Renaissance asked for asylum to the USA and Prague became the independent capital of Czechoslovakia.

However, the Munich Pact, from 1938, conceded the city and the country to the Nazi Germany until the end of World War II. Posterior to that, Czechoslovakia went into the Soviet Union’s orbit, as a way of thanking the liberation from the Nazi Germany, the country gave a chance to the Soviet Communism, which would turn out to have a very expensive cost.

Square of the Old Town with the Church of Our Lady before Týn in the spotlight

In 1968 the city was the scenery of the popular movement that became famous as the “Prague Spring”, resulting in the invasion of the troops from the Warsaw Pact that killed several protesters.

In 1989 happened one of the most important revolutions, the Velvet Revolution, which would dictate the end of the communist government.

Already in the 90’s Czechoslovakia split and Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.

After this brief travel through history let’s get to know the city.

Prague can be divided into four or five areas very close together:

– Castle Complex
– Lesser Town (Malá Strana)
– Jewish Quarter (Josefov) – it can be considered to be part of the Old Town
– Old Town (Staré Mesto)
– New Town (Nové Mesto)

I opted to elaborate a Three Day Guide, which is enough, once Prague is a relatively small city and easy to walk around, I would even say it’s mandatory to cross it on foot and consume the city in its purest essence.

 1st DAY

– Castle Complex and Lesser Town

We woke up pretty early, had one of those breakfasts that leaves us satiated almost till dinner time and went to Prague’s Castle, by foot, once we were staying in the Jewish Quarter (see) we just had to cross the nearest bridge and discover this architectural complex full of history.


The complex, surrounded by walls, is of free visit, however if you desire to enter any of the buildings you have to buy a ticket, obviously we wanted to enter several of the buildings so we bought one, in our case corresponding to the Circuit A, which cost 350 CZK (around 13€) and included almost all the places, there were other circuits with less entries or complementary tickets, cheaper, to combine with the Circuit A.

This Castle complex is one of the most beautiful and imposing I ever saw, decorated with the immense beauty of the St. Vitus’ Cathedral and the magnificent Renaissance building that is the castle.

Who would guess that it started as a wood fortress in the end of the IX century! Later it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a great part of the Castle was reconstructed, originating what we see today. Nowadays it is the residency of the President of the Czech Republic.

St. Vitus’ Cathedral

Inside the Castle we visited the Old Royal Palace, which was altered according to its Bohemian governor, therefore identifying with styles like the Gothic and the Renaissance. The different rooms are decorated with coats of arms, and each one has its own history. The rooms I liked the most were the “Knight’s Stairway”, through which the knights made their triumphal entrance to the Vladislav Hall, and the former Ancient Earth Archives, decorated with coats of Arms along the walls, belonging to the clerks who controlled the property ownership and the decisions of the court.


The photographer also had the right to chance positions

After the Old Royal Palace we went to St George’s Basilica, ordered to be built by Prince Vratislav in the end of the X century, being one of the first stone buildings of the complex, served for a long time as burial place to the members of the Přemyslida Dynasty, of which was part Saint Ludmila, the Christian grandmother of Saint Wenceslaus.

The building we see today already went through some alterations and remodeling because it suffered a great fire. Each exterior element of solemnity contrasts with a beautiful bucolic interior. Next to the Basilica is the Saint George’s Convent.

The Saint George’s Basilica in tones of red

Saint George’s Basilica

Continuing in the line of religion, we walked towards the St Vitus Cathedral, the most imposing building of the complex. This wonderful gothic cathedral was ordered to be built over a former place of pagan worship, in 1344, when Prague was nominated to archbishopric, however, due to the death of the first architect and the Hussite Wars, the cathedral was left unfinished until 1929.

St. Vitus Cathedral

The interior is monumental and unmissable, observe everything with calm and with special attention to the stained glass that is wonderful, being that in one of the windows the glass is painted, not stained like the rest of them.


 Details of St. Vitus’ Cathedral

We also visited the White Tower with its scary rooms filled with torture objects, the Rosenberg Palace and the Golden Lane (one of my favorites) with colorful hovels where once lived the castle employees with varied crafts, from goldsmiths, seamstresses, guards, among others.

Torture room of the White Tower

Golden Lane


Almost at the end of the visit we had the luck to see the changing of the Royal Guard in the main patio at 12 am sharp!

We left the Castle and continued our discovery of the city and quite near the complex we saw a beautiful Carilion that stood out at the top, it was the Loreto. In the center of this pilgrimage place was its most precious belonging, a replica of the Santa Casa (originally in Loreto, Italy), which is believed to be the house where Virgin Mary was visited by Angel Gabriel. This place, of Baroque style, had the intention to bring the Czechs to the Catholic faith.


We didn’t go in, much because it was under construction, and continued our way towards Malá Strana.

This small quarter, or Lesser Town, as it’s called, is an authentic charm, with its alleys, churches, parks and Baroque buildings. It was once the city of the Viennese nobles’ parties, where Mozart and Casanova wandered aimlessly and, nowadays is one of the most agitated and fun areas of town.


The main square, Malostranské námestí, has a life of its own, has already been stage of fires, revolutions, executions and the 1618 defenestration (in this case the third, when 100 noble Protestants gathered to invade the palace and throw two catholic governors and their secretaries of the window. They survived anyway, helped by angels – so say the Catholics!), which consequences gave origin to the Thirty Years’ War.

Malostranské námestí

In this beautiful square, with neo-classical arcades, we can find the St. Nicholas Church (entrance: 70 CZK – nearly 2.5€), a wonderful example of Baroque architecture from the XVIII century. Curiously, its clock tower served, from 1950, as observation station for the state’s security – the Communist police.

It was the most beautiful church we visited in Prague!

Details of St. Nicholas Church

We then went to the John Lennon Wall, where the hippies of Prague and the police already fought long battles, once they constantly tried to erase the graffiti of the wall.

The original drawing is of a Mexican and was painted right after John Lennon’s death; however it was already repainted several times. On a yearly basis, the so called John Lennon’s Peace Club still gathers here to sing some songs from the ex-Beatles.

We continued to wander, and well, headed to Kampa’s Island, the small Devil’s Stream Canal, as it’s called the separation between Kampa and Malá Strana, it was once the city’s laundry place, the grinding area and center of the ceramics industry, today, a park occupies the south side, while the north side is filled with elegant buildings, hotels and restaurants.

As we still felt capable of continuing walking (or so we thought!) we went to Petrín Hill, the idea was to rest a bit in this wonderful park, where you can pick up fruit directly from the trees, where children come out marveled from the Mirror Labyrinth and where we found one of the best views of the city, the place where is located the Observation Tower built to the image of the Eiffel Tower (but only a quarter of the height!) but it started to rain and effectively we were getting tired and so we gave up the idea, even though we could’ve taken the funicular up the hill.

I felt sorry because I was also curious to see the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, a wood church brought from Ukraine when the valley it was located on got submersed due to the construction of a dam.

But, indeed, this was a visit for a sunny day, which was not the case!

Memorial to the victims of Communism

Anyhow, while we were headed to the park we ended up crossing paths with the different, but not less brilliant Memorial to the victims of Communism, opened in 2002, it represents the degeneration that the Communist Regime caused in society through the decomposition of the human being to its almost absence – with a certain Walking Dead look!

It makes us think, and above all feel, the excruciating pain through the inscription:
205.486 arrests, 170.938 exiles, 4.500 deaths in prison, 327 shot while trying to escape, 248 executed.

“This memorial is dedicated to all the victims: not just those who were arrested and lost their lives, but also those who saw their existence ruined by the totalitarian despotism”.

The time to complete our day was approaching, and before going back to the hotel we went to the famous Café Savoy, one of the oldest and most important cafes in the city, restored a few years ago by the Ambiente Group. A combo of the best from the French pastry with the Central European, which resulted in a good and well deserved pause.

We went towards what is (to me) the most beautiful and magical place in the city, the Charles Bridge.

This is the oldest bridge in the city and crosses the Moldova River from the Old Town to Lesser Town.
Its construction started in 1357 during the reign of Charles IV and ended in the beginning of the XV century. It transformed into the most important communication way between the Old Town, the Castle and the surrounding areas.

The bridge is of an indescribable beauty; its towers are of a superb grandiosity, mostly that on the side of the Old Town, which is considered by many as one of the most impressive constructions of Gothic architecture in the entire world. Its statues highlight even more its beauty; they’re a total of 30 and are located on both sides.


The majority was constructed between 1683 e 1714, in a Baroque Style, and represent several venerated saints and patrons of the time.

Since 1965, all the statues were substituted by replicas and the originals are exposed in several museums in the city.

 The famous band that daily enchants the tourists at Charles Bridge

Visit the city at all times of the day, in the morning, with the morning fog it’s the perfect picture; during the day with the sun blazing on the statues and when you’ll also find street artists, materializing the beauty of Prague in paper or singing to create an ambiance; or at night, when the city acquires the nature of a thriller, with a touch of mysticism with the lights of the candelabra giving a bohemian and elegant touch.


To me, it’s the most perfect place in Prague!

Well, it was a quite productive day and the time for some dinner arrived, in our case, the choice went to the amazing La Degustation (see) and then we went to get some rest because the next day would be a long one!

See you tomorrow Prague!

Where to stay
InterContinental Prague

 Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses with  Sony A7S

– The pictures don’t always represent our first passage in some of the places or even the same day of the travel.

This article is the 1st of 2 articles for our Prague Guide.


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