The new ‘it’ place- The Czech Republic
It took me a while to think of a destination worth writing about,I’ve traveled to many corners of the earth.But after a while of thinking and digging into my reminiscence for the most interesting memories ,I realized that the most interesting places lay within the borders of my country-the Czech Republic.
I bet every one of you have already been to Paris, London, or Rome .But what if I told you that a new ‘it’ destination is arising ? Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic has all you could ever ask for and more .From impressive castles, to amazing nightlife,to untouched nature,and much more.
The Czech republic is situated in the heart of Europe and is considered the bridge between the west and the east.The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres, now if you’re like me, numbers don’t really say much to you, so let me put it this way:the Czech republic is twice the size of the Netherlands!Although, population wise the Czech republic has 6 million inhabitants less than Holland.
The Czech Republic has a continental climate, with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. The temperature difference between summer and winter is huge, due to the landlocked geographical location. So to avoid feeling too cold or too hot, the ideal time to visit is either in the autumn,or even better in the spring,when the whole country is in bloom.
Let's take a look at the jewel of the Czech republic, its capital city .Or as others call it the pearl of the Vltava river .Prague is located in the north west part of the country and has about 1.2 million inhabitants,or another way to put it , twice the inhabitants of Amsterdam,and about half the inhabitants of Berlin.
Prague is a gorgeous, well maintained medieval city with a rich history, luscious parks, Vegas-like nightlife, and even a speck of romance. This city is bound to have whatever it is you’re looking for.
The Czech name Praha is derived from an old Slavic word, práh, which means “entrance”,due to the city’s location at a crossing point of the it’s river.
Photo taken by : Radovan Císař, PraguePhotoTour.EU
I moved to this country when I was about 11/12 from California .It was quite the culture shock at first,since the czech’s have a quite different mentality and way of life compared to the americans.But soon I considered this place my true home.Having lived here for almost a decade now, I can proudly say that I know plenty about this city ,and today I'd like to share with you some of my knowledge of this magnificent place with you ,and show you some of the most fascinating sites within it .
Let’s start at my personal favourite tourist attraction,the Astronomical Clock at old town square.When one steps foot onto old town square the first thing he’d/she’d notice is the clock tower, and the crowd of eager tourists(sometimes with me being among them)patiently waiting below it for its hourly show of figurines .
The main parts represent the position of the Sun and Moon and other various astronomical objects. Taking a closer look , inside the large black outer circle lies another movable circle with the zodiac signs written on the outer part , indicating the location of the Sun on the ecliptic. Below you can see a picture so that you can have a better visualisation, instead of just imagining it.A picture can be worth a thousand words,am i right?
Photo by : Andrew Shiva
This medieval astronomical clock was built in the beginning of the 14th century , making it one of the world's oldest astronomical clocks , and the oldest still functioning one out there.
Moving on let’s take a look at what attracts so many tourists every hour , on the hour .It’s the Walk of the Apostles”, at the strike of each hour figures of the Apostles emerge from the tower in a circular motion and are followed by the figurine of death,which is symbolized by a skeleton.
Many people interpret the message differently .Personally believe the message behind this is that our time on this planet is limited,and no one really knows how much time we have left. Others believe in the legend that the city will perish if the clock is ignored and left in bad condition.
What you choose to believe is entirely up to you.
Moving on to the other side of the city , Prague is home to the biggest castle complex in the world , dating back from the 9th century .Originally it used to be the residence of the royal family of Bohemia,but as of 1918 it serves as the seat of the president, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.On a side note, in case anyone was curious….
This is our president, he drinks,smokes,and swears a lot.In other words,he is the perfect representation of the country.
Anyways,back to the castle!It’s made up of multiple sections.Of all the various parts of the castle, the most visited (and in my opinion the most beautiful) would have to be the ST. Vitus cathedral .Thanks to it’s tall structure this cathedral dominates the skyline wherever you are in city. In fact I used to have a great view of it from my old apartment! This Gothic structure is the spiritual symbol of the Czech state (seriously , they put it as their symbol on nearly everything), and stands as the biggest church in the country.Next to it anyone would feel like an ant,and just think,it was built over a thousand year ago,so it was entirely made by human labour !
This cathedral took over 700 years to establish,and has magnificent stained glass windows , and is decorated throughout with various gemstones and crystals, making this cathedral a true feast for the eyes.
Close to this mega castle complex you’ll find one of the most iconic attractions — the Charles bridge. This gothic bridge connects the Old Town and Lesser Town (Malá Strana).But before this bridge was constructed another bridge stood in it place — the Judith bridge which was the first stone bridge over the Vltava river. It was built in the 11th century and collapsed in a flood in the mid 13th century .Floods tend to be quite common here,in fact in 2013 i experienced one for myself.Just image looking out the window,and seeing the river just inches from your building!
It is said that egg yolks were added into the cement mix to strengthen the bridge! So apparently, no one was able to consume eggs over the period of its construction since all the eggs needed to be put into the mixture.Really makes you appreciate eggs more.I mean hey, countless floods later,and this bridge is still standing tall!
The first thing you’d notice when stepping foot on this bridge is the towers on each side of it. At the Malostranska tower visitors have the option to go to the top of the tower for a magnificent view of Prague.
Along the bridge there over 30 statues,dating from the 17th century .The most popular statue is probably the one of St. John of Nepomuk, who was executed by being thrown into the icy waters of the Vltava river.This famous statue has a neatly polished golden plaque beneath it, and is believed that this statue will bring fortune and good luck into the lives of those who rub its plague (or even the statue itself).An old czech legends states some smaller sculptures of birds and other animals are to be found on and around the bridge,BUT, only people born within the region are able to see it ,to the rest the figurines are apparently invisible.Other than the admirable statues local artists, musicians and souvenir sellers have the stands set out for by -passers .This bridge is known for being very crowded almost all year round , so it is recommended to visit it either early in the morning or late in the evening .
photo by :Chosovi
This was just the start of the view of the city through my eyes,and next week we’ll continue with another exciting aspect of it.Stay tuned!