Czech it out!

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Nestled in the center of Eastern Europe, far off in the land of castles and cobble stones, lies the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most well preserved cites and has certainly held its own in many of the world’s greatest conflicts. Though its past is riveted with strife, desperation and protest, revolution, nationalism, World War II and Communism, its current future is bright. Prague continues to be a destination for travelers, artists and innovators and even popped up Bing’s homepage last week!  At first glance, you are simply swept off your feet. The “city of spires” is a landscape of cascading hillsides, adorned with red clay roofs and towers, and above it all an enchanting castle. But, below expansive gardens, massive courtyards, fountains and gates, lies a metropolitan population of 1.9 million.                                                                                                                    

The homogeneous Czech populace, sprinkled with ex-pats, and foreign visitors is a work hard but play harder type. The hold-over from communism is still very much a part of Czech culture, influencing their work force, living standard, education system and daily life. If you look closely, you can see it in their eyes. Sure, there are few new generations who did not grow up under the iron curtain, but for most, 20 years is not a lot. People still get up for the elderly on the metro, which runs extremely efficiently and is the most used form of transportation. Trams also provide means of travel.

Prague is packed with things to see and do. Just a walk around the city and along the river bank will engage an artistic eye. Architecture from gothic, renaissance, baroque and art deco eras decorate the city.  Frank Gehry’s ‘Dancing House’ building is also an amazing piece of art work to see as well. Twelve bridges span the Vltava River; an afternoon of paddle boating is a carefree activity.  Charles Bridge is one of the most famous features in Prague with thousands of people walking it daily, enjoying the many craftsmen and musicians. Old Town is the city center, established circa 1340. On any day, it is filled with people eating ice cream, sipping beer, and admiring the famous Astronomical Clock. A quick walk from the square leads to the Jewish Quarter, once Europe’s largest Jewish ghetto, it is rich with history and beautiful art. Parizska Street is not far and is home to lavish shopping and many upscale restaurants. The best banana and chocolate ice cream can be found in a quaint creamery on this street, a definite must!

Havelske Trziste is the main market. Open air tents cover candies nuts, chocolate, fresh fruits, dried fruits, paintings, jewelry, and Czech novelties. Czech food is not what people travel to so a stop at the market is a good idea. Meat, including pig’s knee, dumplings and beer are the country’s classics. International dinning isn’t too hard to find however, if you don’t mind paying a few extra Korunas (Czech currency).  Municipal House, Powder Tower, the Prague zoo, Petrin Hill, home of the mini Eiffel Tower, a Sparta soccer game, and the National Museum are all adventures to seek out during your visit.

Perhaps the most fun aspect of Prague is the night life. Every day is topped with an endless night full of dancing, clubs, beer and Becherovka. The modern, more western, Wenceslas Square is the place to be at night. Make sure to say cheers before each drink and take in the splendor of the city, na zdraví!

This post was written by guest blogger Kelsey, special to the Event Services team.

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