And the name isn’t an exaggeration, either – Prague is full of spires! From the world-famous castle to the old Baroque churches, all the way to the charming decorations on everyday buildings, the historical capital of Bohemia is full of old-world charm .
Old Town Square in the city of a hundred spires.
We arrived in Prague early Friday morning and checked into our hostel, enjoying a full breakfast before setting out for a guided walking tour of the city. I was stunned by how storybook-like the whole city looked. It was like being in Disney’s Epcot – but in real life.
Such a charming city!
The Prague Astronomical Clock was fixed onto the side of the Old Town Hall in 1410. Each hour, the 12 Apostles and a few other sculptures make their way around the clock.
The Jan Hus memorial, unveiled in 1915, pays homage to one of the early leaders of the Protestant movement in this part of the world.
This is not Disney World. This is the real thing.
Prague’s Old Town Hall.
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is a recognizable landmark in the Old Town Square. Its towers are over 260 feet tall!
After the walking tour, it was time to grab some lunch.
Cauliflower pancakes and tea!
We used the next few hours to explore the city’s eastern side; that is, the areas east of the Vltava River. We wandered through the streets, gathered information about events going on that night (spoiler alert: Prague is famous for its affordable classical concerts and dance performances!) and even made a stop in a modern art exhibit.
t’s a cultural capital for a reason!
I’m not usually one for sugar-covered street foods bigger than my hand, but I made an exception for this. Apparently, ice-cream-filled doughnut cones are a thing here. They’re a spin-off of the traditional “trdelnik” desert. It’s culture, and culture doesn’t make you fat. Right? (Right.)
That night, we made our way to a beautiful church in the Old Town Square for an organ concert.
St. Nicholas Church was completed in 1755 after over 50 years of construction.
It replaced another church built in the 1200s that was also dedicated to St. Nicholas.
There’s the organ!
Classical shows are extremely popular in Prague because of their affordability. This is where the ballet shows are held.
Prague was just as beautiful at night as it was during the day.
Old Town Square was alive with visitors and street performers when we passed through.
The next day, we crossed the river to the west side of the city. That’s where some of the city’s most famous attractions – the John Lennon Wall, the Charles Bridge and the castle, to name a few – are located.
It wasn’t quiet winter yet, but it was definitely a chilly morning!
Such charming architecture.
The Charles Bridge stretches 2,000 feet over the Vltava River. Look closely at the far right of the photo – you can see the castle in the distance!
Visitors leave their marks on the city in all sorts of ways.
The Prague Castle dominates the view from the east side of the bridge.
So many swans!
Looking south down the Vltava.
The bridge is pedestrian only, making it the perfect place for artists to set up displays and sell their work.
Stepping into Prague’s western side felt like stepping back in time.
Saw this storybook scene on the way to the John Lennon Wall.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
The wall has been a symbol of peace since 1988, when young people started painting anti-war and anti-communism messages on it. The graffiti changes every day as tourists and artists make their marks. This man added to the ambiance of the scene by playing songs by the Beatles.
Group photo in front of the wall.
After visiting the wall, we had lunch at the Beatles-themed John Lennon Pub.
Because when in Prague…
Then, we ran into the perfect desert place on our way to the castle. Prague is famous for its gingerbread, and we found a gingerbread bakery!
We then made the trek up to the hill where the Strahov Monastery, castle, and miniature museum are located.
Our first stop was the Strahov Monastery – home to one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
This room is called the Theological Hall and was built during the 1600s.
The Theological Hall is the oldest part of the library.
This room is called the Philosophical Hall. Unlike the Baroque-style Theological Hall, the Philosophical Hall was built in the Classical style of the early 18th century.
The library now contains over 200,000 books.
Then we headed next door to a little museum of miniature art.
The paintings, engravings, and sculptures on display were all smaller than buttons. Visitors needed the help of magnifying glasses or microscope lenses to see the details properly.
We stopped by the castle next but didn’t go in – mostly because this was the ticket line.
But it all worked out okay – the view from the castle’s grounds made it all worth it!
It got dark as we made our way back down the hill toward the Old Town. This is the view from the Charles Bridge at night.
We ended the day with dinner at a little pub near Old Town Square. I’m still not sure what this dessert was, but it was the perfect way to end a wonderful weekend in Prague.
Final Gelato Count: 55
(And yes, that is counting the ice cream filled doughnut cone.)