If you find yourself in a city that is one of the most famous in Europe, it is usually not hard to find places from which it can be admired in all its beauty.
In Prague, the view from the top of the Letná Park is almost unparalleled. Situated on the Letná hill, on the opposite side of the Vltava River, it offers a dramatic view over the city’s old town, and can be reached by foot, like almost anything in the Czech capital.
Anything, aside from the Prague Castle. Unless you are up for a challenge.
…it includes the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral…
Situated on top of a steep hill, it is the largest ancient castle in the world and it took more than 1000 years for it to be completed. A combination of different architectural styles, it includes the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral and the Romanesque Basilica of St George, as well as a monastery, palaces and gardens.
The castle however is not Prague’s only icon; although symbol of the city in postcards and photographs, there are many more scattered around the city. Charles Bridge is one of them. Its most famous statue, that of John of Nepomuk, is wrapped in legends and traditions: rub the bronze plaque of the golden dog and it will bring you fidelity; touch the plaque depicting St John being thrown into the river and they say you will one day return to Prague.
…an imposing granite monument dedicated to Stalin…
Post-communism symbols are also widely present. Located at the top of the Letná hill is the Prague metronome: representing constant change and the Czech’s newly acquired freedom to do what they pleased with their time, it replaced an imposing granite monument dedicated to Stalin.
The John Lennon wall, located in Malá Strana, is possibly the most important one. In 1980, defying almost every communist rule in the book, the wall was taken by storm by the Czech youth, who painted quotes from Lennon’s songs or his most famous portraits on it when the Beatles singer died. Brushed clean by communist soldiers during the night, they would paint on it again the next evening. Nowadays, the wall is constantly changing, but the Lennon graffiti cannot be painted over.
…grilled dough and topped with almonds, walnut and cinnamon…
If you decide to walk to the John Lennon Wall from the Prague Castle, make sure to stop by the Creperie U Kajetána (Nerudova 248) on your way down for a trdelník, Czech Republic’s traditional sweet pastries. Made of grilled dough and topped with almonds, walnut and cinnamon, it is the perfect treat after walking around the whole day, especially if you decide to add Nutella.
A blend of different cultures and religions, Prague is also home to three synagogues, situated in and around the city’s Jewish quarter, Josefov. Next to the Spanish Synagogue’s main entrance is the statue of the most beloved Jew in Prague, Franz Kafka: born in the city in 1883 and one of the main reasons of pride for the Czech capital, the statue represents a scene from his novella The Metamorphosis. Although not linked to any legend or tradition, the statue is one of the city’s favourite spots, similarly to the National Museum: one of Prague’s most imposing buildings, it is unfortunately closed for renovation until 2016.
…the perfect excuse to go back in a couple of years…
Some people told me they regretted not being able to see it from the inside; for me, it’s just the perfect excuse to go back in a couple of years. With everything that Prague has to offer, who knows what else I have missed.