Czech marks the spot!
The Czech Republic is a storied country, roughly the size of South Carolina and is located in Central Europe. It’s bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. It was known as Bohemia before the 20th century, and today its 2 states are Bohemia and Moravia. Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 with the combination of these 2 states with Slovakia, and in 1993, Slovakia separated, and Czech Republic was created. Historically, this country was situated between the Western Europeans and the Slavic people who came from the Black Sea area, and in the 13th century the Mongols invaded. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prague is its capital, with a population of about 2 million in the metro area alone. Because it received very little damage in WWII, it has many beautifully preserved sights from several eras, and is known as “the City of a Hundred Spires,” due to these architectural masterpieces that dot the landscape. It has a strong industrial economy and has always had very close ties with the U.S. Prague is also known as being home to famous musicians; composers Dvorak, Smetana and Mozart all lived here. Lastly, when in Prague, you’ll need to sample some of its beer. After all, it’s said to have almost as many kinds of Pilsner beer as it has bars and restaurants!
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has many beautifully preserved sites from several eras and its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, a center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was the site of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, when citizens peacefully took Czechoslovakia back from the Communists.
This bridge connects Prague’s Old Town and Lesser Town. It is a stone gothic bridge that was originally named the Stone Bridge. It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen construction. On each end of the bridge there is a tower that you can climb for an amazing overhead view of the bridge and of Prague.
The Czech Republic was never bombed during any war so all of the towns and villages are full of history and are glimpses of what Europe might have been. Cesky Krumlov is called the Medieval City. Its main highlight is the castle and a great place to experience a traditional Czech festival. The ancient silver mining town of Kutna Hora is a historically significant town and its center is part of UNESCO.
Prague Old Town Square:
It started as the central marketplace for Prague and still is the heart of Prague. Over time the buildings built around the market each had their own story of wealthy merchants and political intrigue. In the middle of town every hour visitors gather from all over to watch the mechanical performance of the astronomical clock that is like no other instrument in the world.
St. Vitus Castle (it’s a castle and a cathedral):
This grand castle can be seen from wherever you are in the city and is one of the nation’s top tourist attractions. Taking six centuries to complete, it is now the spiritual symbol of the Czech state. Ironically, only 2% of citizens practice religion so the cathedral remains mostly unused for religious service. It is both a castle and cathedral.
The Old Town Square is home to the famous Christmas markets - the most magical time of year in a magical location. The Christmas tree and the many booths are lit up around the town. You can enjoy music, food, and drinks while completing your unique Christmas shopping or just enjoying the scenery.
They have the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, and it has been brewed here since as far back as 992 AD. Beer is cheaper than bottled water and is enjoyed with every meal. Traditional bars only sell one brand of beer and they keep serving you until you tell them to stop.
Prague Castle, in the Hradcany district, is the largest ancient castle in the world. It began as the Church of the Virgin Mary in 870 A.D., and soon was surrounded by a convent, a basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, a 12th-century palace, and finally with defensive walls, turrets, and government offices. It has been used continuously as a seat of government longer than any other place in the world.
Traditional Czech food pairs perfectly with flavorful Czech beer and when tipping your server, it is polite to hand it to them and thank them personally.
Prague Winter Festival makes visiting the Czech Republic in the off season a must!
Public transportation is excellent in Prague. You can choose from tram, bus or metro.