Magda Fleckner from Weston, MA shares Prague ‘must-see’ sites
For nearly two years, international travel came to a screeching halt thanks to travel restrictions put in place by the government to combat the transmission of COVID-19. However, with the recent widespread release of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, countries around the world are once again opening their borders to tourists. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Prague was one of the most visited countries in Europe, receiving more than 8 million tourists each year. Although currently residing in Weston, MA, Magda Fleckner and her family are originally from the Czech Republic and have spent a lot of time exploring the historic city of Prague.
With many travelers now planning their first international trip after COVID-19, Magda L. Fleckner hopes to share her knowledge of her home country and inspire people around the world to visit Prague’s many tourist destinations. To the many Americans who are planning a vacation in Europe this winter, Magda Fleckner says, “I really don’t know a better place than Prague to visit in the winter. Not only is the city illuminated for the holidays, but many hotels are lowering their prices by almost 40%! Whether you are a traveler who enjoys history, dining, or just getting to know the locals, there is something in Prague for everyone!
Stroll through the grounds of Prague Castle
Today, Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world, covering an area of almost 70,000 square meters. As such, visiting the castle can take up much of the day; however, it is time well spent as tourists can see St. Vitus Cathedral, Powder Tower, Old Royal Palace, Golden Lane, and St. George’s Basilica all within its walls. The castle was originally built as a fortress in 870 AD, with the Church of the Virgin Mary built soon after. Since its foundation, the castle has grown considerably. It has since been home to renowned Bohemian kings and queens such as King Ottokar II of Bohemia, King Vladislav II Jagiellon and the Habsburg royal family. Since 1918, the castle has become the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic and today houses President Milos Zeman.
The castle is well known in architectural communities for its excellent representation of several styles over the past millennium. Within the walls of the castle is the Gothic style of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica of St. George and houses several museums and collections of Baroque and Mannerist art.
When visiting the Royal Park, guests are encouraged to visit the Main Hall of the Former Royal Palace known as the Vladislav Hall. Created by Vladislav II, the hall is an architectural marvel and is so large; it is reported that it was once used for jousting tournaments with stairs wide enough for knights to climb them using their mounts. Additionally, Magda Fleckner of Weston, MA recommends that guests save time when visiting to view the Royal Garden. The gardens date back to the 16th century and feature a number of incredible outdoor constructions, including the Lion’s Court, the Royal Summer House with Singing Fountain, and the Ball Game Pavilion.
Stroll along Charles Bridge
As perhaps the most recognizable architectural and historical site in Prague, Charles Bridge is a “must see” for any history buff. Charles Bridge was built in 1357 by King Charles IV as a replacement for the old Judith Bridge (1158-1172). The medieval stone arch bridge has seen many disasters, such as the flood of 1432 which severely damaged several of the bridge’s pillars.
As one of the main entrances to the city of Prague proper, the bridge was the scene of many battles and revolts and was used in the Battle of White Mountain in 1621, the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 and during the Swedish occupation. The bridge spans approximately 621 meters and has 30 Baroque statues and statues from the 17th and 18th centuries. Many visitors come to see these statues of Saints and Patron Saints created by eminent sculptors of the time, including Matthias Braun, Michael Joseph, Jan Brokoff and Ferdinand Maxmilian. Some of the best-known statues are those of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and the Czech Republic’s holiest Reverend, John Nepomuk. It is said that visitors who rub shoulders with the base of these statutes will be granted a wish.
Since its inception, the bridge has also become the object of many superstitions. When Charles Bridge was first created, it is said that the builders laid the foundation stone on July 9 at 5:31 a.m., a set of numbers that created 135,797,531, intended to give the structure additional strength and l ‘prevent it from collapsing.
Take a tour of the Clementinum
The Clementinum, or “Klementinum”, is one of the largest historic buildings in Europe and houses the national, university and technical libraries as well as the municipal library. The first known mention of the site dates from the 11th century, when the chapel dedicated to Saint Clément is mentioned. A Dominican monastery was founded in medieval times and was later transformed into a Jesuit college in the 1550s. By 1662, however, the Jesuit college had moved the library from Charles University to the Klementinum. However, after the expulsion of the Jesuits, the Clementinum became a public library and constituted the National Library.
The buildings of the Clementinum are mainly designed in the Baroque style, with the library room also being created in the same style. The library room contains one of the largest book collections in Europe, with nearly six million documented books. The collection includes all books ever published in the Czech Republic and books dating from the 11th century. One of the hall’s many highlights is the artwork on the ceiling, the famous Chapel of Mirrors, and the Astronomical Tower, which provide visitors with excellent views of Prague. Guided tours last approximately 50 minutes and are available in a variety of languages, including English.