I have always found Prague to be one of the most magical cities that I have visited. My intrigue with the city, I think, comes apart from what may seem as a natural inclination to my birthplace (Praha 2 Vinohrady). I only spent a few infant months in the city before moving elsewhere and then to the US. I’d say that’s not quite enough time to say I feel like I am back home when I visit, but nonetheless, I feel a strong inexplicable attraction to it.
My theory is, that for me, and perhaps for others that have visited the city before, the attraction to it stems from the fairytale spirit it emanates. It’s like stepping into Cinderella’s time and world and knowing her castle* and city really existed. To me the city seems to confirm the fairytale worlds from our childhoods’ with which we are all connected.
With that said, Prague holds a majestic power in every corner. It’s filled with so many landmarks and impressive structures just waiting to be discovered by everyone that visits. The amount of history and beauty is overwhelming and doesn’t get easier as you flip though your handy Prague travel guide. So where do you start?
My recommendation to you (and to myself if I was visiting for the first time ), would be to start at the top rather than the bottom. Now I know that makes no sense, but it will in a minute.
Every summer that we visit family in the Czech Republic, we always explore Prague (most of my family is either from the city or close by). And, everytime we sight see, retracing the steps from the summers’ before, we start from the bottom of the city and work our way towards the top (
Prague Castle). Now, I know its important to see everything “up close” and I do recommend that you do.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss the the Narodni Divadlo (National Theater), Stary Namesti (Old Town), Karluv Most (Charles Bridge), Prasna Brana (Powder Tower) and all the culture within the nooks and crannies of the city.
However, if you can, before visiting every location in real depth, go straight towards the castle. Inevitably, you’ll skim by many of the landmarks mentioned above before beginning your ascent up the winding cobblestone streets, but just wait. The view will be worth it. Just as a prologue to a good book, it will wet your appetite.
Like the top of a hill, the perspective is so different. All the points down below begin to make sense. And, because it’s a panoramic view, you’ll be able to see it “all” in one sweep: the Powder Tower, the National Theater, Charles Bridge, the Vltava River and all the other buildings that make up this historic city. To me the experience is like being on Aladdin’s magic carpet. Your eyes can travel the view from atop, and the hustle and bustle of the city disappears into a peaceful serenity. All you feel is the city’s charm as you scan the sea of cascading red tile roofs that flow like waves towards a seemingly never-ending horizon.
That is, by far, my favorite view.
What was your favorite part of Prague?
* Cinderella’s castle was inspired by a variety of French, Spanish and Polish castles.