Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic is situated on the Vltava River. Lying at the heart of Europe, it is one of the continent’s finest cities and a major Czech economic and cultural centre. Prague is one of those captivating cities that will leave a mark on everyone who comes to visit it. As Frank Kafka once said, “Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws, indeed.”
How does the city mesmerize its visitors? Is it the city’s rich history that makes them keep coming? Let’s go through these interesting facts about Prague and find out…
Prague was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and was the residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most noticeable Charles IV, who ruled from 1346-1378.
Along with its incredible history throughout the centuries, Prague today is known as a cultural mecca and attracts more than 8.5 million visitors annually.
Prague was also ranked sixth as the best city to visit in 2016 by TripAdvisor and in 2017 was the fourth most visited city after London, Paris, and Rome.
Charles Bridge, Prague
Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, colorful baroque buildings and Gothic churches.
Prague Castle is the largest in the world! The 130 metre wide medieval castle and its 70,000 square metres of land attract almost 2 million visitors every year and have landed it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Dating back to the ninth century, Prague Castle spans an impressive 18 acres and is home to stunning cathedrals, chapels, royal palaces, and gorgeous ornamental gardens.
There is a graffiti wall devoted to John Lennon. Since 1980, it’s been repainted numerous times and is laced in graffiti lyrics from Lennon and The Beatles.
The Charles Bridge has some mathematical significance. Former Czech king Charles IV laid the first stone of the bridge at precisely 5.31 am on July 9, 1357.
The king was so into astrology and numerology that he chose this date because of its written form: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1 (year, day, month, time).
The city is home to the longest river in the Czech Republic, the Vltava.
According to legend, Hitler planned to preserve Prague’s Jewish quarter in his retirement plan. Strange as it may seem, the former Nazi leader wanted to settle in the city and make the area a museum to preserve the memory of ‘the extinguished race’.
Even if you’ve never been to Prague, you’ve probably heard of its famous Astronomical Clock.
According to legend, the brains behind the creation of Prague’s Astronomical Clock Tower, Hanus Carolinum, was blinded by the Old Town councillors with a hot poker. They did this out of fear that Hanus would recreate the clock in another city and make this one less famous and unique.
Guess what? If you’re about in Southeast Asia, in Seoul to be precise, you’ll find a replica in the mega-popular Hongdae district.
The city’s famous Dancing House was inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Designed in collaboration with Canadian-American Frank Gehry and Croatian-Czech Vlado Milunić, the building symbolises yin and yang. In this case, the blending of communism and democracy.
Most of us travellers love a party, and Prague is one of the best cities in Europe to get your fill. Karlovy Lázně right in the city centre is central Europe’s largest club.
Prague was the first post-communist country to have a Michelin-star restaurant.
Unsurprisingly, the locals drink more beer per capita than any other nation in the world – they live in the home of Pilsner, after all.
Each Prague local consumes roughly 155 litres of beer a year!
While in Prague, you can go to a beer spa. You can BATHE IN BEER and drink unlimited amounts! (From a separate barrel of course, not your tub…) The high hop oil content in the beer helps to open your pores and have a more glowing appearance.
Often voted Prague’s most hated landmark, the Zizkov Tower has statues of climbing babies on it. Czech artist David Cerny is about as controversial as it gets – his specialty is combining the thought-provoking with the utterly bizarre, after all.
Charles Square was once the largest town square in the whole of medieval Europe. What’s even more impressive is that it is still one of the largest in the world.
Prague is known for its unusual sculptures – but this one has been mistaken for a real man’s suicide attempt many times. The sculpture of the hanging man depicts the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and can be found in the Prague Old Town. Freud suffered from many phobias including the fear of his own death.
The most famous bridge in Prague is Charles Bridge, connecting the city’s Old Town to the Mala Strana over the Vltava River. Supposedly the bridge, which was built back in the 1300s, is haunted by ghosts whose heads ended up on nearby spikes.
The narrowest street in Prague is barely 50 cm wide (super tiny), yet because it’s so narrow it has its traffic light. The traffic light prevents pedestrians from meeting in the middle and then wondering how to walk past each other.
To get an incredible view of the city you can climb the 299 stairs of The Petřín Lookout Tower!
Not many people are aware that although Prague is home to some beautiful parks, just a short tram journey out of the city you’ll find a beautiful urban woodland called Divoká Šárka.