The Czech Republic:
- Currency: Czech Crown (CZK)
- Location: Central Europe
- European Union Member: Since 2004
- Climate: January t0 March – Cold, Rainy, Cloudy, 40-55F
- Religion: Atheist/Agnostic 59%, Catholic 27%
- Where I went: Prague (Praha)
Lo siento for my delayed Blog post on the largest city in the Czech Republic. Also, the most fairytale-like place I have ever travelled to.
Brief History of Prague:
Prague’s Golden Age was during Charles IV’s time in power from 1346-1378. During this time, Prague grew into a large and prosperous city. Gothic landmarks began popping up just as Charles University, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Charles Bridge. This King Charles was clearly a popular guy. The late 14th and early 15th century marks the time of the Church-reform movement. The Hussite Revolution began and Holy Roman emperor, Wenceslas IV, died in 1419. A few Hussites took over Prague after the death of Wenceslas. Tension arose between the Hussite and radical Taborites.
Prague’s population went from 60,000 in 1620 t0 24,600 in 1648 due to the Thirty Years War, however in the 18th century, Prague was on the upward clime economically.
In the 19th Century, Prague began to flourish in Czech-language, literature, and drama. The architecture also began to be increasingly more interesting using many styles from Vienna such as Gothic and Renaissance. Two neo-renaissance Landmark is the National Theater and Rudolfinum. Soon after, Art Nouveau became popular in Prague then cubism as “a reaction to the sterility of the 19th century” (Frommers). Education in Prague improved as well and became more accessible for all.
On October 28, 1918, Prague declared its independence of Czechoslovakia and became the capital with Masaryk as the republic’s first president. Population continued to grow.
Prague’s entire pre-WWII Jewish community was wiped put by the Nazis from 1939-1945.
Liberation Day for Prague is May 8th
1946 elections: Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was at the dominant party with 36% of the popular vote. 1948: Communist coup d’etat. 1950’s: Repression. Decline. Economic issues. Executions.
1968: Prague Spring – Political liberalization (relaxation of government restirctions) with Alexander Dubcek with efforts to reform communism. This plan does not pan out because of the invasion of the Soviet Union leading to The Velvet Revolution, which ended 41 years of communism. This was a NON-violent revolution led by people wanting democracy. Vaclav Havel was elected president of the republic on December 29, 1989. On January 1, 1993 the Czechs and Slovaks finally got what they wanted and split into two– the Czech Republic was founded. Prague became the capital and Havel the first president.
May 1, 2004: Czech Republic joined the European Union. However, they opted out of using the Euro.
“Prague was the only Central European capital to escape the large-scale bombing of the last century’s wars — is one of Europe’s best-preserved cities” -Rick Steves
There is SO SO much history about Prague. This is a very brief summary of some research I did. For more helpful information check out some sources I used:
There is an incredible amount of different architectural styles in Prague. I found the Gothic style the most interesting. I got to see the St. Vitus Cathedral and walk across the Charles Bridge 4 times. I also got to go up to the top of the Bell Tower and look over the city and Old Town.
This is the beautiful St Charles Bridge on February 26, 2016:
Have you ever been to an Ice Pub?
Brrrr! Don’t worry they give you a mega parka and gloves. Plus a drink! The walls are made out of ice, the tables are made out of ice, there is a surfboard and shark made out of ice. Your glass is made out of ice! The Ice Pub is set at 7 degrees all year round. Bring your go pro if you go to Ice Pub Prague because I have super cool videos from this 30 minute experience. Make a reservation before you go, I would definitely recommend it! It is also open everyday.
A Taste of Prague:
- GOULASH!!!! So freakin good. It’s a meat and vegetable stew.
- Coffee Room
- this is a tiny restaurant where I got two different amazing types of Avocado toast. They also have the best chai lattes in Prague. You gotta give this place a try, you definitely won’t regret it!
- Donut like pastry with ice cream or nutella or whip cream and strawberries. Holy amazing.
- Fried cheese (Smažený Sýr) Enough said.
- The hotdogs/ sausages. Very easy to find, very delicious.
- Mulled Wine AKA hot wine
- PAUL: cute cafe with yummy pastries.
*Prague food is very heavy. A person living in Prague for an extended period of time does not eat this every weekend, but rather maybe once a week. Thx @carolinedunn for that fun fact.
John Lennon Peace Wall:
Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
To find the colorful John Lennon Wall head over to Mala Strana and you’ll see what has been known as “the john lennon wall” since 1980. John Lennon was a hero and symbol to the people of Prague during the totalitarian era. During the communist era in Prague, songs by John Lennon were banned because it was seen as western pop music praising freedom. When John Lennon was murdered in 1980 the people of Prague became even more passionate about his messages and graffitied his picture over this wall.
The communist police worked hard to keep covering it up with white paint, but more and more graffiti would come out at night. The wall represents peace and the non-violent Velvet Revolution for freedom.
The wall no longer gets whitewashed and there are many new, inspirational sayings written across it everyday. I visited the wall with a cup of Mulled Wine on February 27, 2016 with my new New Yorker friends :).
Caroline showed Jackie and I a TV tower with babies climbing up the side… David Cerny, the architect, decided this was a funny and different idea. That’s all I really know about this tower, but it’s close to Kampa Modern Art Museum.
I thought Spaniards drank a lot of beer…. Nah. The Prague locals drink more beer per capita than another other country in the world.Check out the Pilsner Factory. Cheers!
I’m absolutely exhausted, but want to publish this post tonight!! If you have any questions about Prague, let me know and I can try to answer them! Hope you enjoyed.