Today let’s visit Prague, a picturesque city of Central Europe and the capital of Czech Republic. Is a place that combines rich history and architecture with growing cultural and creative development. Here you’ll find a reminiscence of Prague’s Bohemian past alongside Soviet Brutalism, as well as the new contemporary face of the city, filled not only with tourists, but also an active young community shaping the future of this place.
Czech Republic, as well as the other countries that were part of the Eastern Block, is still trying to get rid of the Soviet past, and Prague seems to be doing it quite well. Its central location in Europe makes it more open and susceptible to changes, architectural heritage attracts lots of tourists, and the mix of cultures brings new ideas.
I am sure that every one of you will first visit the old town of Prague, together with the castle overlooking the city, Charles bridge over Vltava river and the famous astronomical clock, situated in the oldest square in the historic centre. And if you would like to see a beautiful baroque style library building, head to Klementinum. Here you can also get to the top of the Astronomical tower an see the city from above. In the main square you can also visit Gallery of Art Prague, showcasing the works of Alfons Mucha, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
If you are interested to see more works from Czech Art Noveau artist Alfons Mucha, I would highly recommend visiting his impressive collection of large scale paintings, the Slav Epic, depicting history and mythology of Slavic people. These works are exhibited at the National Gallery. Want to see even more? Then head to Alfons Mucha Museum!
When looking back at Prague’s past it is important to notice the history of the Jews. This city once had the largest Jewish people community in the world. Visit Josefov district and the Jewish Museum to find out more about the history of the Jewish Quarter and its transition to the ghetto. A good place to learn more about Prague’s history in general might be The City of Prague Museum.
A famous Jewish writer Franz Kafka also was born and lived in Prague. So if that is of the interest to you, explore Franz Kafka Museum. The museum is located near the river, from where you can get a beautiful image of the city and enjoy a glass of beer at Containall. It is a bar and cultural place offering exhibitions and film screenings, based in a re-purposed shipping container, open in the Summer season. During the warm season there are quite a few bars along Vltava river, so enjoy the weather!
Since I already moved to the topic of alternative places in Prague, I have to mention a few spots worth exploring. First of all, getting out of the city centre might be a good idea, where you will be able to find less touristic spots and feel like a local. Prague’s district 7, especially Letná and Holešovice quarters, seems to be developing quite well in terms of culture, offering galleries, artists’ studios, small cafes and interesting shops.
For great city views in Letná head to Prague Metronome, an enormous monument for Stalin, built in a park next to Vltava river, overlooking the city. This place is famous not only for its beautiful vista, but also it is a very important skate spot.
The National Gallery that I mentioned earlier is also based in this area and it has a great cafe, called Cafe Jedna, that hosts cultural events. Foundation and Centre for Contemporary Arts Prague is also based nearby, though it might be a bit tricky to find. The entrance is from one of the courtyards in Kostelní street.
Just around the corner you will also find a cozy place for a quick stop – Bistro 8, where you can grab a coffee or lunch. In front of the bistro there is a small book shop, Page Five, a great place for graphic designers or those interested in book design. Here you can also find books in English! Talking about shopping, find handmade items made by local designers at Kuráž, Lab 24 or Concept Story. Find more great places in this area by exploring the map I included at the end of this post.
Heading East from Letná there is another place to see some contemporary art – The Chemistry Gallery. Not so far from here, in Holešovice, visit DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. If you are interested in performing arts and theatre, stop at La Fabrica, a space for audio and visual experiences in an old factory setting.
Looking for more alternative spots? Here is one that I didn’t have a chance to explore, but I heard it is really good – 1435mm, The Cultural Centre at the Žižkov Freight Railway Station, located East of the city centre. The best time to visit this place is during one of their events, so check out their Facebook page to select your date.
And here are a few more places worth considering:
Harddecore – design gallery and studio showcasing Czech designers.
Chatty – Prague based fashion label.
Design Bistro & Shop No. 19 – As the name says, a place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal and explore their gallery – design shop.
Kurator – a place for fashion, design and other beautiful things, presenting local fashion and design brands.
Hauch Gallery – Contemporary art in a beautiful setting.
Karlín Studios – Artists’s studios and exhibition space located in a former factory building.
Feel free to explore the map for more!