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Prague is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but also the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. The city's historic buildings and narrow, winding streets are testament to its centuries-old role as capital of the historic region of Bohemia. Prague lies on the banks of the beautiful, meandering Vltava River that reflects the city's golden spires and 9th century castle that dominates the skyline. This historic atmosphere is combined with a certain quirkiness that embraces the entire city. From the Museum of Czech Cubism to the technicolor Jubilee Synagogue; the castle to the river, Prague is a bohemian capital in every sense. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Prague
- Prague Castle. This, the biggest ancient castle in the world, according to Guinness World Records, rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery, several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. A Prague castle ticket is 350 CZK and an audio guide costs a further 350 CZK.
- Charles Bridge. Connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.
- Old Town (Staré město); Prague's historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock (Orloj), the pure Gothic Týn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed. Old Town features many historical churches (St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Týn among others) and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.
- Josefov; this historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga) is Europe's oldest active synagogue and it is rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamental building of Moorish style. Other attractions include the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house. The Old New Synagogue is NOT a part of the Jewish museum, so if you wish to see everything, it is recommended that you buy a combined pass to all of the Jewish attractions  for 480 CZK.
- New Town (Nové město); New Town was established as an extension of Old Town in the 14th century, though much of the area has now been reconstructed. The main attraction here is Wenceslas Square, a rectangular commercial square with many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look (see below). Midway down this historic boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views (Henry Tower), romantic restaurants and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.
- Lesser Town (Malá strana); Across the Vltava River from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches (of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned). The Lennon Wall, which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime, is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge.
- Infant of Prague (Jezulátko). This famous statue of Christ, known also as the Holy Infant of Prague, is among the most widespread religious images in the world. The original statue can be seen in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Lesser Town.
- Loreta. A beautiful Baroque convent in the Lesser Town.
- Strahov Monastery. A monastery on the mountain. Worth a visit for both its picture gallery and its notable Renaissance library.
- Prague Dancing House (Fred and Ginger Building); one of the most fascinating architectural expressions of Prague co-designed by Frank Gehry. Accessible from Karlovo náměstí metro station.
- Vyšehrad. A nice castle well worth a visit.
- Petřínská rozhledna. A smaller version of the Eiffel Tower on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague. Climbing the tower costs 105 CZK for a standard ticket or 55 CZK for discounts. Paid lift available.
- Prague Giant Metronome— A huge monument erected to replace the Stalinist monument that preceded it.
- Memorial to the 1989 Velvet Revolution— A simple brass plaque at 20 Narodni. From Cafe Louvre, walk toward the river. You will enter an archway, and after just a few meters, look at the wall on the left.
- Prague Zoo. To get there, take Metro C to Nadrazi Holesovice, then bus 112 which terminates at the Zoo. Nearby is the Troja Chateau (Trojský Zámek) with a large garden displaying various sculptures and a Botanic Garden (Botanická zahrada Troja) with a tropical greenhouse.
- Czech National Gallery (Národní galerie). Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace (up to the Baroque), St George Convent (Czech Baroque and Mannerism) and Veletržní Palace (19th century and modern art). The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery (see above) which is worth visiting on its own right. Also interesting is the Museum of Czech Cubism at the House of the Black Madonna in the Old Town.
- Czech National Museum (Národní muzeum). An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.
- Prague City Gallery. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th Century Czech art in a beautiful medieval edifice. 19th Century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.
- Czech Museum of Fine Arts. 20th Century Czech art and changing exhibitions.
- Museum of Decorative Arts. This 17th century palazzo-style building houses examples of historical and contemporary crafts, as well as applied arts and design.
- National Technical Museum (Národní technické muzeum). Amazing collection of motorcycles, cars, aircraft and commercial vehicles, plus many examples of communist-era technological engineering. Reopened in February 2011 after extensive renovation works.
- Military Museum. Showcases the uniforms, artifacts and maps relating to the Czechoslovak armed forces during World Wars I and II.
- Jewish Museum. This covers six separate places (four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall) but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.
- Mozart and Dušek Museum. Dedicated to the works of Mozart. The Museum of W. A. Mozart and the Dušeks is closed from November 1, 2009 until further notice.
- Prague City Museum (Muzeum hl. m. Prahy). An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.
- Mucha Museum. A museum of the Czech artist Alfons Mucha.
- Kafka Museum. There is also a permanent exhibition at Kafka's house.
- The Pedagogical Comenius Museum. A museum documenting the writings of the Czech Renaissance erudite.
- The Mueller Villa. A work of art of the well known Viennese architect Adolf Loos from the beginning of the 20th Century.
- Museum of Communism. Interesting exhibits on how Communism changed Czechoslovakia, but skewed toward a particular view of history.
- Lobkowicz Palace. 10:00-18:00. Art museum near Prague Castle 275 crowns.
- There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Miniature Museum at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Wax Museum, Torture Museum, Postal Museum and Brewery Museum at the Old Town and the Aviation Museum at Kbely.
- DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art. Newly opened gallery for modern arts, modern EU gallery style. Huge white building with lot of exhibitions, installations and interesting objects to see. Located at Poupětova 1, Praha 7 near industrial district Holešovice (metro red line C) is quite long way from the centre but definitely worth to see. You can check the exhibitions during day (around 1-2 hr) and on the trip back to Holešovice visit the legendary underground grown up Cross Club .
- Museum Kampa. A museum of modern Central European art.
- Jaroslav Fragner Gallery. Contemporary architecture. You can find here profiles of influential people and groups, retrospective exhibitions, thematic exhibitions, recent movement in architecture. Gallery provides lectures, seminars and publishing, regarding central Prague the JFG became a centre for architects, professional and general public, students of architecture and construction companies.
If you are visiting multiple attractions, you may be able to save money by buying a tourist card. Be discerning, as the passes often list as inclusions destinations that are free to visit anyway, and include lesser attractions. Make sure you will save money on the places you want to visit.
- Prague Card. Valid for 4 days and grants free entry to over 50 attractions in the Prague area. You will receive a book with information on all the included attractions and many discounts (Prague Walks excursions, airport transfer, shopping, Mucha and Kafka museum etc.) and a voucher for each attraction. You can only enter the attraction with a valid card and a voucher. The card does not include public transport. You can visit Prague Castle (350 CZK), Old Town, Malá Strana and Charles Bridge historical towers and other attractions, Observatory (20 CZK), small copy of Eiffel Tour (100 CZK) and Mirror Maze at Petrin Hill, Vysehrad all castle including his casemates and gallery, many New Town Museums and Galleries and several castles outside centre of Prague. You will not save much with this card. 790CZK.
- Welcome Card TVCzechia®. Grants admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250CZK. Many of the town's museums and galleries—including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum—are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value. As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum. 990CZK..
- Prague Pass. Free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 1 year period, various discounts, sightseeing tours and 72 hours of public transport, including metro, tram, bus, funicular, and train. Vysehrad and its casemate (catacombs) and basilica, take a boat trip through Prague on the river Vltava (Moldau), effortless up in the TV tower with the best panorama of Prague or enjoy a ride on the Petrin hill cable railway. The whole city in one hall (perfect model in 1:480 scale) - a time travel to the past in Prague’s historical most significant museum. Don't fear the sharks and marvel at the blaze of colors in the Sea World Aquarium, a ride at a performance of a Black-Light-Theater or let your soul swing at a concert in a church. River Navigation Museum, Army museum, Aviation museum and the UNESCO certified auto museum "PRAGA".... all for free! (Some of them however have free entry anyway !). Also in the pack is a free map of Prague and a program guide booklet as well as a free welcome present. You will also receive discount coupons for several discounts of up to 50% for guided sightseeing- and city-walking tours, Mozart museum, galleries, concerts, internet use, computer games, real laser game or for Rent a Car (25%). 860CZK..
- National Gallery Gift Ticket. If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a dárková vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 CZK, for two persons 1000 CZK. For 240 CZK you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery (Šternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anežka Convent), basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you. 450 CZK.
Popular events in Prague in the near future
This city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by WWII, Prague's compact medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.
It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Budapest and Kraków. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.
Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century - many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age. The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.
The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but pollution often hovers over the city due to its location in the Vltava River basin.
Many Praguers have a small cottage (which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling) outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chata (plural form chaty, pronunciation of ch as in Bach), are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects. Each reflects its owners' character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. Chata owners used the typically Czech "it's who you know" chain of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today. Chaty are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.
There are many opera and Black Light Theatre companies in Prague. There are several performance groups that cater to tourists. They aren't strictly to be avoided, but common sense should tell you that the opera advertised by costumed pamphleteers is not going to be up to truly professional standards.
- AghaRTA Jazz Centrum.
- Black Light Theatre.
- Jazz Republic.
- Ungelt Jazz & Blues Club.
- Prague Spring. The most famous classical music festival in Czech republic
- Prague Folklore Days, Advent and Christmas Music.
- Prague Advent Choral Meeting.
List of Concerts, Theatres, Museums, Galleries, Monasteries, Antiques, Trade Fairs, History in Prague:
- Heart of Europe.
River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music.
- Cruise Prague. Offers a wide range of regular and private cruises.
- JazzBoat. Combines cruising and jazz concerts.
- Prague Flights. Offers sightseeing flights by airplane, helicopter or in hot air balloon and tandem skydiving.
- BIKO Adventures Prague, Lidicka 8, Andel (Praha 5), ☎ (+420)736441710. BIKO offers outdoor activities off the beaten track in Prague and in the Czech Republic. Real mountain bike private tours from easy to advanced in and around Prague, to Karlstejn castle and in Singltrek pod Smrkem, the best MTB trails in central Europe, with high level MTB rental. Hiking to the Czech Paradise, a Unesco heritage site. The office is in Lidicka 8, Andel, easy reachable by feet,yellow metro and several trams. BIKO is open all year long from Monday to Sunday. There are different price options according to the tour level (easy or advanced), the number of participants (1 person or 2+) and the bike options chosen (you have your own bike, standard and high level MTB).
- Prague Sports. Gives you the chance to play a range of sports from football, cricket, rugby union, and hockey in Prague. Packages can be tailor-made to include accommodation, transfers, activities etc.
- Prague tours center (Prague tours center), Michalska 12, Prague 1, Prague (Malé náměstí square less than 200 meters), ☎ (+420)602277060, e-mail: email@example.com. A free offer for the visitors of Prague: The Prague Tours Centre is offering free connection and charge up of your electric bikes and Segway PT. While connected, the devices are guarded by a supervisor and, in the meantime, you can take walk around Prague, visit a museum or your preferred restaurant. In the Prague Tours Centre the tourists have a possibility of depositing their bikes together with baggage which they do not want to carry or leave in the streets. The Prague Tours Centre also offers facilities for washing your bike or borrowing a complete bike repair kit for free.
Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or beef with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish is not as popular, though these days it is widely available. Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), crêpes or ice cream. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.
The tip should be about 10 to 15% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the note or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise it's customary to leave at least 20-40CZK or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas (along the river, or with views near the castle) will charge a cover or "kovert" in addition to your meal charge. If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it (bread, ketchup, etc.) If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. It should be noted that some waiters are impolite especially to people from the eastern part of Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.
If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it. Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs (párek v rohlíku) - they're far superior to the greasy, messy version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out French baguettes are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterwards. This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it - unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 crowns for a small one to 45 crowns for the terrifying-looking 'gigant'. Note that size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length. Try the trdelnik, a traditional tube-shaped pastry, which can be found at street vendors in Old Town for 50 crowns.
Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 CZK, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 CZK for a euro-sized glass. Don't be afraid to experiment with different beer brands, even if they are not mentioned in this article.
In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join. Prague has also many excellent tearooms (in Czech čajovna) which serve different kinds of teas from around the world.
Save your money and find the bars yourself - you might be surprised at the discoveries you make away from the tourist circus.
- Prague Pub Crawl, ☎ +1 420-731-067-775. 20:00 -22:30 join The Crawl at 24 Dlouha St, in the courtyard. Price=490CZK or €20
- The Prague Underground Bar Crawl, U Milosrdnych 4, ☎ 608803314. Meets in front of the Astronomical Clock at 21:45 every night but Sunday. Power hour from 22:00-23:30 at The Drunken Monkey bar with unlimited beer, wine and vodka shooters. 3 tables are set up for Beer Pong and Flip Cup. Crawlers also receive a welcome shot at every bar and VIP entry to a different club every night. Free t-shirt included! 500CZK.
The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find exactly the same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path. Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague - they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.
In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city.
There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take "Na Prikope" street - the 18th most expensive street in the world (measured by the price of property), with famous shopping arcades "Cerna ruze" (Black rose) and "Palac Myslbek" and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square. The other typical (if rather expensive) Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones (gathered near the town of Turnov) are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity. "Pařížská" street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious (and expensive) boutiques in Prague.
Popular shopping malls
Palladium  - situated directly in the city centre, it's the newest and perhaps most luxurious shopping mall. No cheap options to eat, unless you buy some food in Albert supermarket on the lowest floor (-2). On the top level (+2) are some moderate to expensive restaurants. Tram/metro station Namesti Republiky.
OC Chodov - a huge shopping mall with hypermarket located slightly further away from the centre at metro station Chodov.
Šestka - new shopping mall just 1 station from the Prague Airport. Very far away from the centre but ideal for last minute shopping before your departure. Take bus 119 from Dejvicka metro station.
Palác Flora - medium-sized shopping mall with IMAX cinema in the top floor. Tram/metro station Flora.
OC Nový Smíchov - big shopping mall with 2-floor Tesco hypermarket, a cinema, a number fast food restuarants on the top floor and very close to metro/tram station Anděl.
Metropole Zličín - medium-sized mall with a cinema, hypermarket Interspar, fast foods, huge parking lot and near the metro/bus station Zličín. If you are hungry after your flight, take a bus 100 from the airport to Zličín and then just walk few metres to this mall and buy something to eat.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK. The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank 
Sometimes it is also possible to pay with Euros (Hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds, KFC, Marks & Spencer - also accepts British pounds, Albert and Billa supermarkets, etc.), but the exchange rate may be slightly unfavourable and change is almost always given only in Kč.
In Prague, especially around tourist sights, there are plenty of Exchange offices with very bad rates. Best rates are found around Main Railway Station (Hlavní nádraží) - exit the station, left across the park, to street "Politických vězňů". There are about 5 offices, mostly Arab-owned, and offer very good rates even for smaller amounts, and even better or negotiable for higher (over 1000 EUR, USD or such). Make sure you do not exchange money with strangers offering good rates on the street. You are likely to end up with a different currency, such as Hungarian forint, and no way of getting your money back.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Prague on Wikivoyage.