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PostPrague Recommendations (Istvan Simon, USA, 04/08/13 2:47 am)
In response to Charles Ridley (6 April), I am sure that probably much better suggestions can be found than what I will list here in travel guides to Prague. For example:
Having just returned from spending three days there, here is my list of suggestions. Of course, what one chooses to see in Prague in a few days will depend very much on one's interests, and so Charles Ridley's daughter might have different priorities for things to see than I. With these caveats, here are my suggestions:
1) The Old Town--this is a major tourist attraction in Prague and one can see a minimum of it in a few hours by walking around, or spend several days exploring its many riches. It is many blocks of marvelously beautiful buildings, with very distinctive Czech architecture, to major landmarks, like the Astronomical Clock, to very elegant shops (Cartier, Dolce and Gabbana, etc.)--plenty for souvenir hunters and restaurants for excellent restaurants to very good local food in the kiosks of the main square.
2) The Prague Castle--again a major tourist attraction which unfortunately I wanted to see but missed for lack of time.
3) The river Vltava also known as the Moldau, described in Smetana's wonderful music, flows through Prague offering beautiful picturesque sights, including the beautiful bridges that cross it, and river cruises through the city.
4) There are several towers in Prague that offer a panoramic view of this beautiful city. I visited the tower of the church where the astronomical clock is located--one can buy elevator tickets for a modest price, and this is well worth it both during the day or at night. There is also a much higher tower which has restaurants at its lower level and an observation deck in the higher level.
5) One of the things that attracted me to Prague is that this wonderful city full of music and musicians was the only big city that was consistently kind and appreciative of Mozart's music during his lifetime, and he premiered Don Giovanni in Prague and wrote the Prague Symphony in Prague among other works. The Marriage of Figaro was premiered in Vienna, but its success in Prague eclipsed the reception it got in Vienna. The Opera House where these events took place is in the absolute center of Prague. Operas are actually not that expensive, and I almost went to a performance of Carmen.
6) There are many museums in Prague, including historical museums (one dedicated to the history of the city itself), one dedicated to communism, World War II, museums dedicated to Dvorak and Smetana, and several art museums.
1 U$ is worth 20 Czech Koronas, and there are various places where one can get exchange rates very close to this (less than 2% spread), as well as many places where one will be robbed with fees as high as 20%. Taxis are not too expensive in Prague, but a better and cheaper way to get around is using the Tram system. One can buy tickets to the Trams in any Tobacco shop. A 90-minute ticket costs 32 Koronas. One must have a ticket before boarding the tram.
There are of course sightseeing tours that will visit all the major attractions in Prague.
JE comments: Prague has become probably the number one tourist destination among former Soviet-bloc cities. (It may have a rival in Budapest, although Krakow in Poland should not be overlooked.) Prague is blessed with its central location, gorgeous architecture, and the good fortune of avoiding significant damage during the War.