Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1)

Tripoto
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Bohemian Rhapsody : Prague, Czech Republic (Part 1) by Sumedha Bharpilania

As I stepped into the hallowed city of Prague, I was conflicted; my mind was in an inexplicable state of turmoil. I was battling between whether it really was the real life or just fantasy. I had never seen something so beautiful, so exquisite. The chapels, the bridges and the gardens, the cobbled streets and the sharp spires, the magnificent castles and the unobtrusive courtyards, the beer halls and the artsy cafes; everything had me rapt. I was baffled. How could one city possibly have so much versatility? I began to question all of my life choices. Why hadn’t I visited this place before? What took me so long? Why had I deprived myself of this slice of heaven? The questions continued to flow just the way the Vltava River was flowing in all its glory. And my heart was gradually melting away.

Kafka’s muse and Kundera’s object of affection, Prague has evidently had a lot of love bestowed upon it. Perhaps the only city in the world that can make Paris feel a tad bit insecure, Prague is dreamy and eccentric at the same time. It is a maze and getting lost in it isn’t really a bad thing because every turn holds a pleasant surprise for you. There is so much to see and so much to do. Right from exploring the many facets of the Old Town to keeping up with the modish Nove Mesto; from understanding the elegance of art noveau to being haunted by the imposing Gothic architecture; from soaking into the mesmerizing tunes of Drovak to tapping your feet to the catchy music belted out by a humble busker; from chugging down mugs of golden Pilsner to coming to terms with the fact that devout Czech monks brewed the best beer, everything about Prague is a happy revelation. There's something about it. The Czech capital is like a personification of the most intriguing yet the most mysterious form of poetry.

Prague is deeply entrenched in history and its love of art is ubiquitous. So is beer which essentially is the elixir of life, if the Czechs are to be believed. The city of a hundred spires is cosmopolitan, but also has a strong affinity towards the yesteryears. It is ever-changing, yet in its own charming ways, reminds you of an era gone by. Every single day in Prague is a celebration of life and love. If I were a poet, I would pen a hundred odes to it.

For more information on the Prague Castle complex, read Part 2 of this series here.

A trip to Prague is incomplete without strolling down the mighty Charles Bridge and soaking in the glorious views of the city. Authorized in the 14th century by Charles IV, this bridge withstood wheeled traffic for a good 500 years until it was entirely pedestrianized after the Second World War. Today, a swarm of tourists, hawkers and street performers make sure this illustrious fairground is perpetually busy and bustling with activity. The many baroque statues stand tall and impressive despite the winds blowing with all the ferocity they could possibly muster. Soothing tunes waft from the many violins and accordions while the buskers play in a state of trance. The constant human chatter adds to the music. Charles Bridge is the soul of Prague and its magic will keep you coming back for more. Interestingly, if you do not shy away from superstitions, rubbing the bronze plaque on the statue of John of Nepomuk will apparently ensure your second visit to the city. Essential information: Kammeny Most (Charles Bridge) is open 24 hours and there obviously is no entry fee. If in case you do not live around Old Town or Mala Strana, both of which are walking distance from the bridge, taking a tram up to Karlovy lázně or Malostranské náměstí is recommended, depending on the side you are coming from.
Photo of Charles Bridge, St.Charles Bridge, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Charles Bridge, St.Charles Bridge, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Charles Bridge, St.Charles Bridge, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Charles Bridge, St.Charles Bridge, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Charles Bridge, St.Charles Bridge, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
What is supposed to be the largest ancient castle on this planet, Pražský hrad is the pride of Prague, a shining gem in its crown. The imposing towers and spires are not only strongly evocative of Disney fairy tales but also possess a distinct old-world charm. The many museums and galleries that this fortress is home to are replete with treasures of immense cultural and artistic importance. Founded in around the 9th Century by Prince Borivoj, the castle has only expanded with the passage of time and has received several facelifts, so much so that this UNESCO World Heritage Site now covers an area of 70,000 square metres. Essential information: There is a lot to see and do around Prague Castle and it is therefore imperative that you spend a whole day here. Two types of tickets, a ‘Long Tour’ and a ‘Short Tour’, are available at the information centres in the second and third courtyards inside the complex and both provide entry to different combinations of sights. Other ‘Exhibition’ tickets are also available and you are free to choose one out of the three. These tickets are valid for two days and can also be bought at the entrances of all major sights. However, the information centres are recommended because they are not all that crowded. The first ticket includes a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, an exhibition on "The Story of Prague Castle", St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane (Franz Kafka lived here for a short period), the Daliborka Tower, the Powder Tower and Rosenberg Palace. It comes for 350 CZK. The second ticket comprises of St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane with the Daliborka Tower and costs 250 CZK. If in case you are a student or a senior citizen, you pay half the price provided you produce a valid ID. Make sure you walk around the beautiful palace gardens towards the end of your tour. Getting There: Tram 22 gets you to Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle). Get off at 'Pohorelec' so that the walk to the fortress is shorter. The historical buildings usually shut by 5 in the evening while the rest of the complex is open till 10.
Photo of Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Wenceslas Square is a reminder of the fact that despite being deeply rooted in history, Prague is also a big city with bright lights. Brimming with all the energy in the world, Wenceslas is home to iconic hotels, international shopping brands, restaurants, nightclubs and architectural marvels. Situated in the heart of New Town, Wenceslas Square could easily be Prague’s answer to Champs Elysees in Paris and in this case, the National Museum sits right on top of the bustling boulevard. This place has witnessed history in the form of uprisings and it is now creating history with its urban magnificence. Getting there: Walking the length of Wenceslas Square up to the museum and the statue of St. Wenceslas is almost like a tradition. All three metro lines of Prague (A, B and C) intersect here and trams run through the centre. Don’t miss the perfectly golden Grand Hotel Evropa, perhaps the most beautiful building lining the square. If Bata is your favourite shoe brand, its flagship store is located right here. And yes, Bata is not an Indian brand, the founder was Czech.
Photo of Wenceslas Square, Můstek, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Wenceslas Square, Můstek, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Wenceslas Square, Můstek, Prague-Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Perhaps the most conspicuous structure of the Old Town, the Astronomical Clock of the Town Hall draws crowds at the end of every single hour for a performance that is best described as insipid. The excitement leading to the display, however, is noteworthy considering the hundreds of cameras and eyes that are tenaciously focused on the gigantic clock for a 45 second drama, which I must add, is replete with deep symbolism. There are four figures beside the clock that symbolize four major apprehensions of the times: There’s Vanity with a mirror. There’s Greed in the form of a Jewish moneylender with his bag of gold (this was modified after the Second World War). Then comes Death as a skeleton followed by a Turk representing Pagan Invasion. The four figures standing below are the Angel, Chronicler, Philosopher and Astronomer. On the hour, Death upturns his hourglass after ringing a bell, the 12 Apostles appear in the windows and some of the aforementioned sculptures then begin to move, signifying their refusal to go. Once the Apostles finish their journey, a cock crows and the hour is chimed. Getting there: In order to witness the spectacle, you could either walk right up to Staroměstské Náměstí or get off at the Staroměstska metro station and walk 350 metres. The clock chimes every hour between 9am to 9pm.
Photo of Prague Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Prague Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Prague 1, Czech Republic by Sumedha Bharpilania
Be the first one to comment