Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prague

How can I sum up Prague? I could just post up a few pictures of what I saw but I'd rather give it a bit more justice than that. The history of Prague is as follows. For 20 years the city was controlled by the Soviet Union. A lot of the architecture in Nove Mesto (New Town) reflects the growth of Prague during these Communist years.



Nove Mesto is quite drab and stark and not where you would want to spend most of your time if you were visiting Prague. The majority of the buildings are grey or brown, and are similar to how Anna Funder describes East Berlin in her book 'Stasiland'. (Good book if you're interested in the state of Germany after WWII.)


The real magic happens in Hradcany, the Castle District. Although known for Charles Bridge and the masses of tourists that visit it, Hradcany is popular for a reason. This is the old Prague, the original Prague. The walk up to Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral is not for the faint hearted with many steps awaiting you, but the view from the top is well worth it.


Here the buildings are pinks, yellows and burnt oranges. The roofs are red terracotta and the cobblestones on the street are loose with age. It is like walking into a different city. Everything is different. The street lamps, the shops, even the food. And at the top of the hill are some of the most beautiful and eclectic palaces, all bunched together.



This is why people visit Prague. It's stunning, like a Slavic Paris. I think the most breathtaking moment for me over the entire weekend was captured in the photo below. After the trek back down from St Vitus cathedral, I look back over Hradcany while standing on Charles Bridge. The sun finally shows itself and the entire hillside glows.


Just magical.

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