The last station of our travel to Central Europe was Prague (Praha), the capital of Czech Republic. Time is 1 hour back from Turkey in Czech Republic. We arrived at Prague after about 4 hours travel by train from Bratislava. Currency is Czech Koruna (CZK). 1 Czech Koruna was equal to approximately 0.1 Turkish Liras. Turkish citizens who have regular passports need a Schengen visa to enter Czech Republic.
Our Prague route:
1. day – 28.07.2011
It was 12:30 when we arrived at Prague Main Railway Station (Praha Hlavní Nádrazí) from Bratislava.
Firstly we went to the hotel (Panorama Hotel) and left our luggage. We used subway line (C line – Hlavní Nádrazí and Pankrác stations) to go to the hotel. After leaving our luggage, we went to Muzeum station by subway and we started our tour from National Museum (Národní Muzeum).
Works were exhibited in the new building right next to the National Museum (nová budova Národního Muzea) because of restoration of National Museum.
There was a large square in front of National Museum – Wenceslas Square (Václavské Námestí). There was St. Wenceslas Statue (Václavské Sochou) at the beginning of the square.
There was Prague State Opera (Státní Opera Praha) on the other side of the new building of National Museum.
After then, we arrived at St. Henry’s Tower (Jindrišská Vez) and St. Henry’s Church (Sv. Jindrícha Kostel) passing through Prague Main Railway Station, Jubilee (Jarusalem) Sinagogue (Jubilejní Synagoga).
Jubilee Sinagogue was built in 1906, and named in honor of the silver Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. The synagogue is designed in Moorish Revival form with Art Nouveau decoration.
65 m high St. Henry’s Tower was one of the lots of towers in Prague which was different for us. Also, there was a church near the tower which has a 46 m high bell tower.
After then, we passed through Powder Gate (Prašná Brána) and Municipal House (Obecní Dum), and went to Old Town Square (Staromestské Námestí). It is possible to go up gothic styled Powder Tower and watch city view.
There was Jan Hus Monument (Pomník Mistra Jana Husa) in the middle of Old Town Square. The memorial was designed by Ladislav Šaloun and, it was unveiled in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus’ martyrdom. Jan Hus became an influential religious thinker, philosopher, and reformer in Prague.
Old Town Square is the most touristic place in Prague that shouldn’t be missed. Baroque style St. Nicholas Church (Chrám Svatého Mikuláše), Týn Church (Tynsky Chrám) with its gothic style towers Astronomical Clock (Prazsky Orloj) take place in this square. Also, you can have a tour by phaeton which starts near St. Nicholas Church.
Týn Church has a different view when its 80 m high towers are lightened.
Astronomical clock became a symbol of Prague, was first made in 1410 by Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, the professors at Charles University. It is only working one among 3 oldest astronomical clocks in the world. The mechanical clock and astronomical dial made in 1410, the calendar dial and gothic sculptures were added in 1490, it was repaired in 1552, 1865-1866, 1948 years.
The clock has 3 main components: “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
Hourly, walking of the 12 Apostles on the upper part, moving of 4 figures on the sides of the astronomical dial, moving of 4 figures on the sides of the medallion calendar and ending with crowing of the rooster animation has become the focus of attention of tourists. The top four figures tell people what should not do. The far left figure has mirror in the hands represents vanity, the next figure has bag of gold in the hands represents parsimony, skeleton on the other side of the clock represents reluctance against life, the final figure with a musical instrument in the hands represents a fondness for pleasure and entertainment. The below four figures tell people what should do. These figures represent science, justice, astronomy and education.
It is believed that astronomical clock made by clock master Jan Růže (Hanuš) in 1490. The clock was so admired and Hanuš was blinded not to repeat his work. And, he broke down the clock committing suicide as jumping on it to revenge. It couldn’t be able to repaired for a long time.
Goltz-Kinsky Palace (Palác Kinskych) in the square built in rococo style is now being used as National Gallery.
When we going from Old Town Square to Little Square (Malé Námestí), we saw very beautiful buildings and the house where Franz Kafka was born. The building written “Praga Caput Regni” meaning Prague Capital of Kingdom (Praha Hlava Království) was one of the beautiful buildings here.
Little Square surrounded by gothic and Roman style medieval houses. There is a fountain in the middle of the square. Fountain has Renaissance-style fence from 16. century. There is a gilded lion motif at the top of the fence.
The most interesting building in this square was Rott House, which is used as hotel now. It was built in 19. century and has has frescoes designed by Mikoláš Aleš.
When we went ahead from Little Square to Charles Bridge (Karluv Most), there were a lot of souvenir shops where Prague’s famous crystal products and puppets were sold. When we approached the bridge, there was Church of the Holy Saviour (Kostel Nejsvetejšího Salvátora) on the right side and there was Torture Museum (Muzeum Mucení) on the left side. After passing through Torture Museum; St. Francis of Assisi Church (Kostel Svatého Františka z Assisi), Statue of Charles IV and Old Town Bridge Tower (Staromestská Mostecká Vez) at the beginning of the bridge were seen.
Charles Bbridge is 516 m long and 10 m wide. It was made built by Charles IV. There are statues both on right side and left side. It is closed to vehicular traffic and it was very crowded with souvenir sellers, artists, street musicians and tourists. Manes Bridge (Mánesuv Most) and Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad) were on the right side, and Legli Bridge (Most Legli) on the left side; Prague view from bridge was wonderful.
Lesser Town Bridge Tower (Malostranská Mostecká Vez) takes place at the end of Charles Bridge.
After passing tower, we arrived at Lesser Town Square (Malostranské Námestí).
There was St. Nicholas Church (Kostel Svatého Mikuláše) built in baroque style here.
We went to Prague Castle after passing the square. Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, with about 570 m length and about 130 m wide.
Holy Cross Chapel (Kaple svatého Kríze), gothic style St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála Svatého Víta), Old Royal Palace (Stary Královsky Palác), St. George’s Basilica (Bazilika Svatého Jirí) take place in the castle.
We saw Schwarzenbersky Palace (Schwarzenbersky Palác) after going out the castle.
Then we went to see Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerstvo Zahranicních Vecí) and Loreta.
Our tour for today has ended after seeing Former barracks at Pohořelec (Byvalá kasárna na Pohorelci) and Strahov Monastery (Strahovsky Klášter).
2. day – 29.07.2011
In the second day, we started our tour from Charles Square (Karlovo Námestí). New Town Hall (Novomestská Radnice) and St. Ignáce Church (Kostel Svatého Ignáce) stand out in the square.
When we follow the street in the middle of the square and go towards Vltava River, Dancing House (Tancící dum) takes place at the end of the street which stands out with its different architecture.
We continued walking riverside. We took photos of National Theatre (Národní Divadlo) and Kranerova Fountain (Kranerova Kašna na Smetanove Nábrezí). We arrived at Wenceslas Square passing through Náprstek Museum (Náprstkovo Muzeum) and we watched Prague Folklore Days event.
After then, we took photos of Theatre (Stavovské Divadlo) and arrived at Rudolfinum passing through Old Town Square.
Then, we get on funicular in Újezd station to go to Petrin Hill to see Petrin Tower (Petrínská Rozhledna).
Štefánik’s Observatory (Štefánikova hvězdárna), Mirror Maze (Zrcadlové Bludište) and Cathedral of St. Lawrence (Katedrála Svatého Vavřince) take place on this hill as well.
3. day – 30.07.2011
In the third day, we got on subway (A line) and got of Jirího z Podebrad station. And, we went to Church of the Most Sacred Heart (Kostel Nejsvetejšího Srdce Páne) and Zizkov TV Tower (Zizkovská Televizní Vez).
Then, we went to Jewish Quarter and saw Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova Synagoga), Old-New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga) and Klausen Synagogue (Klausová Synagoga).
After then, we went to see Belvedere Palace – Queen Anne’s Summer Palace (Letohrádek Královny Anny) and Royal Garden (Královská Zahrada).
4. day – 31.07.2011
We were planning to return back to Budapest this evening, but tickets were sold out. We had to make a reservation to another hotel (Hotel Eurostars David) and stay in Prague. We left our luggage to the hotel and again went to Old Town Square. Square was alive today than other days. There were mini shops where some foods like trdelník, langose, bacon were sold. Trdelník was a sweet food made by wrapping dough around a thick stick and cooked in the embers.
Langose was a salty food made by dough fried in oil, and adding grated cheese and ketchup on it.
After eating out langoses and trdelníks, and watching animation of Astronomical Clock once more, we crossed over Vltava River from Cech Bridge (Cechuv Most).
Köprüyü geçtiğimizde hemen karşımızda Letna (Letenské sady) metronom yer alıyordu. Nehir kenarından Jirásek Köprüsü’ne (Jiráskuv Most) kadar yürüyüp buradan yine karşı tarafa geçtik. Franz Kafka Müzesi (Franz Kafka Museum) Manes Köprüsü ile Karl Köprüsü arasında kalıyordu.
When we crossed the bridge, Letna (Letenské sady) metronome was taking place almost in front of us. We walked on riverside until Jirásek Bridge (Jiráskuv Most) and we crossed over from here again. Franz Kafka Museum was staying between Manes Bridge and Charles Bridge.
Lesser Town Water Tower (Malostranská Vodárenská Vez) takes place on one side of Jirásek Bridge and, Šítkovská Water Tower (Šítkovská Vodárenská Vez) takes place on the other side.
5. day – 01.08.2011
Today was our last day in Prague. We went to Emmaus Monastery (Emauzsky Klášter), Church of St. John of Nepomuk on the Rock (Kostel Svatého Jana Nepomuckého na Skalce) and Botanical Garden (Botanická Zahrada), and then Railway Bridge (U Zeleznicního Mostu) on the south of the city.
After walking on riverside and seeing Palacky Bridge (Palackého Most), we went to the hotel to get our luggage and go to Budapest for returning back to İstanbul.
We went to Budapest from Florenc Bus Station (Autobusové nádrazí Praha Florenc) by OrangeWays at 23:00. We were in Budapest in the early hours of the morning after 7 hours bus travel. Our 2011 year holiday ended up here. See you in our 2012 holiday 🙂