Prague Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Prague
Prague has much to offer visitors interested in castles, cathedrals, and culture. Nicknamed the city of a thousand spires for its many domed churches, fine architecture is found almost everywhere in the city.
Examples of Gothic, baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau dot the city and provide a dramatic contrast to the sturdy and ancient Prague Castle.Prague escaped the bombing raids of WWII and as a result has one of the best preserved city centers in all of Europe. Narrow laneways opening up onto spectacular plazas leave one with a sense of wonder of what will be lurking around the next corner. Also of note is the world famous Charles Bridge over the Vltava River providing amazing views of both sides of the city. The Charles Bride has recently undergone some construction but is almost always accessible to tourists.Prague has a special feel that embraces the visitor. As you wander into a church you can't help but be amazed that you are standing in the same spot where Mozart first debuted one of his most famous symphonies. History is everywhere in Prague.
Originally situated in the Castle district in Prague, the Jewish Quarter is now spread around the Josefov area. The quarter features several art nouveau style buildings, synagogues and the Jewish Museum.
Providing great views out over the city and containing within its walls some key historical sites, the Prague Castle is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.
Alfons Mucha Museum
The Alfons Mucha Museum (Muzeum A Muchy) in Prague, usually just referred to as the Mucha Museum, is a tribute to this Czech artist who is known as one of the forefathers of the Art Nouveau Movement. The museum displays a variety of paintings and artworks of different mediums by Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha, with over 100 exhibits. The collection includes charcoal drawings and sketches, pastels, paintings, photographs, and personal belongings of the artist.Alfons Mucha was born in 1860 and became well known for his drawings of famous figures during his time spent in France, in particular a series of posters and other works for Sarah Bernhardt. He spent many years in France and later moved to the United States of America for a few years before returning to Prague. He was arrested by the Germans when they invaded the former Czechoslovakia and he died shortly after being released.The Alfonse Much Museum is located in the Baroque Kaunicky Palace.
National Technical Museum
The National Technical Museum (Národní technické museum) in Prague documents the development and technological advances in different fields of study. The main building has six permanent exhibitions which including Mining, Measurement of Time, Transport Hall, Intercamera - photography and cinematography, Acoustics, and Astronomy. The museum also has collection groups, which include Archives, Exact sciences, Chemistry and Biotechnology, Food Industry, Metallurgy, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Consumer Industry, Architecture, Building Industry, and Industrial Design.In addition to the permanent collection, which accounts for less than 10 percent of the museums pieces, the National Technical Museum also features temporary exhibits. Exhibits are well displayed and include a vast amount of detail. For anyone with an interest in the field of technology, Prague's National Technical Museum will not be a disappointment.
Prague Church of our Lady Victorious & Church of the Infant Jesus
The baroque Church of our Lady Victorious, also known as the Church of the Infant Jesus of Prague, was built in the early 17th Century. This Carmelite church contains a famous wax statue of the infant child Jesus, which is located in the right wing of the church near the altar. The statue "Infant Jesus of Prague" was given to the Carmelites by Polyxena of Lobkowicz, several years after the church was built. This famous Catholic relic, which is said to have been responsible for miracles, draws followers to the Church of our Lady Victorious and has made it a sort of pilgrimage site.One of the traditions around the Infant Jesus of Prague is the changing of the dress, which takes place at certain times of the year on various occasions. The Church of our Lady Victorious has also started a museum known as the Museum of the Infant Museum of Prague, which displays the wardrobe of the statue, as well as some other religious items and art.
The original Bethlehem Chapel (Betlémská kaple) in Prague was built in the 14th Century. Originally intended as a small chapel, approved by the Catholic diocese, the church was actually built with a large seating capacity and a much different design than that which had been proposed and this resulted in some controversy. At that time the Bethlehem Chapel became synonymous with the name Jan Hus, the Hussite leader who used the church to preach the teachings of John Wyclif, an English reformist. Jan Hus was eventually named a heretic and burned at the stake by the church.The original Bethlehem Chapel was torn down and the new one was erected in the early 1950s. There are still some remnants of the old building, including the stone floors and the original pulpit. The building hosts a number of Czech national events.
The Museum Kampa, is housed in the former mill on Kampa Island in the Vltava River. A mill has stood on the island since as far back as the 14th Century, possibly even the 10th Century by some accounts. The mill was destroyed several times by revolutions, floods, and fire. The most recent set of renovations in 2002 - 2003 saw the premises turned into the Museum Kampa. The museum houses the personal collection of Meda Mladek who collected works by primarily Czech artists. Many of the works are from the 1950s and 1960s, when Meda Mladek traveled to numerous Eastern European countries and purchased a variety of works, including paintings, sculptures, sketches and other pieces. The collection grew over the years with other contributors to the collection, and now includes works by František Kupka, Otto Gutfreund, and other Czech and Eastern European artists.
Magic Lantern Stage
The Laterna Magika Stage (Divadlo bez Zábradlí) holds a unique place in the arts community of Prague. The theatre hosts a variety of performances with multi-media shows featuring unique lighting and props, film, live actors, and moving screens which combine to form a one of a kind stage show. Performances are wordless productions of mime and dancing. Consequently these original productions are popular with travelers who would like to take in a performance without having to deal with a language barrier.Historically the Laterna Magika Stage was associated with Havel, who planned a coup from this venue in 1989. The building was used for a series of debates and discussions with actors and other performers who were on strike, regarding how to best mobilize the population to support their cause. Today, the theatre makes no attempt at political statement.
Bedrich Smetana Museum
The Bedrich Smetana Museum is a tribute to the life of this Czech composure, born in 1824. Bedrich Smetana is known for more than just his compositions, he also founded the Czech National Theatre in Prague, and had strong patriotic political views. At the time of his death Bedrich Smetana was regarded as a national hero. On display at the Bedrich Smetana Museum are some of his musical scores, portraits, manuscripts, journals, and some personal belongings.Bedrich's most memorable compositions are the symphonic poem 'My Home' (Ma vlast), and the operas Bartered Bride, Dalibor, and Libuse. These and others are performed regularly and venues throughout Prague. Bredrich Smetana is a much loved Czech composure who is more highly regarded now than during his life time.
The Dvorák Museum (Muzeum A. Dvoráka) is dedicated to the great Czech composer Antonín Dvorák. Dvorák lived in this early 18th Century rococo building during the last part of his life. On display are some of his personal effects, his piano, graduation cap and gown from Cambridge, photographs, and more. During the summer months performances of chamber music are held on the upper floor.The building, which houses the Dvorak Museum was built by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer. At the time of construction this area was little developed and considered a far distance from central Prague. The building has served as a cattle market and a restaurant during its history but restoration work was done and the Dvorak Museum opened here in 1932.
The headquarters for the National Gallery in Prague (Národní Galerie) are located at the Kinsky Palace (Palác Kinskych). The National Gallery's collection is housed in a variety of buildings throughout Prague, of which the rococo Kinsky Palace is one. The collection at the Kinsky Palace consists mainly of prints and drawings and is entitled "Prints and Drawings Collection".The Kinsky Palace was built in the 18th Century on the foundations of three older buildings dating back to the 13th Century. Some remains of the previous buildings can be found in the cellars of the new. The Kinsky Palace looks out over the old town square and the Jan Hus monument.
The ABC Theatre (Divaldo ABC) is one of Prague's long running theatres. The theatre's original focus was on dialogue, with few props and little by way of special effects. Performances today are mainly musicals and plays. One of the ABC Theatre's claim to fame comes from Havel, the former president, who worked as a stage hand here in the 1950s. At that time he was only in his early 20s and not yet recognized for his acting or writing skills. The ABC Theatre, or Divadlo ABC, is more oriented towards locals than tourists, with performances in Czech only. Nonetheless it is a long standing institution in Prague and worth seeing.
The Estates Theatre (Stavovské divaldo) was built in the late 18th Century. The neoclassical building became the main opera venue in Prague and was a favorite of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He chose the Estates Theatre to premier his famous opera Don Giovanni. Portions of the movie "Amadeus" were shot here. Today, the Estate Theatre is part of the National Theatre group and still performs Mozarts classic operas. Visitors interested in seeing the theatre would be well advised to go hear a performace.This theatre was also the first to hear 'Where Is My Home?' (Kde domov muj?), the Czech national anthem.
Loreto (Loreta) is an ornate baroque church, most famous for the legend that surrounds the building. The small Santa Casa Chapel, which rests in the courtyard is one of 50 replicas of the house of Loreto which is thought to have been moved by Angels from Nazareth to Italy. The Loreto has become a pilgrimage site and thought to be responsible for numerous miracles. The western façade contains a huge bell tower. The exterior of the Loreto is decorated with statues of religious figures, including Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as cherubs and other saints.The Loreto Treasury also has a wealth of liturgical items.
Prague Municipal Museum
Housed in a Renaissance building, the Prague Municipal Museum (Muzeum hlavního mesta Prahy) covers the history of Prague from prehistoric times to the late 18th Century. The collection includes weapons, furniture, paintings, sculptures, and more. One of the most popular and interesting displays at the Prague Municipal Museum is a model of Prague from the 18th Century. The model was created in the 1830s by Antonín Langweil and includes some 2,000 buildings and is made of paper and wood. It took over a decade to complete. The museum also touches on the Nazi occupation of Prague with a number of original documents.
Theatre on the Balustrade
The Theatre on the Balustrade (Divadlo Na zábradlí) is one of Prague's long running and well known theatres. This old three storey building was the theatre where Václay Havel became a recognized play write. He worked with the Theatre on the Balustrade in the early 1960s and wrote his famous play 'The Garden Party' for this stage. Havel later went on to be president. The theatre offered both drama and mime performances until the early 1990s. Today the Theatre on the Balustrade holds regular nightly drama performances. Unfortunately they are always in Czech and targeted at a local audience.
Bertramka (Museum of W. A. Mozart and the Dušeks)
ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.The Museum of W. A. Mozart and the Duseks (Muzeum W. A. Mozart a manzelu Duskovych) is housed in the Bertramka estate. Bertramka was the summer residence of the Duseks, friends of Mozart's, who often hosted him here. It was at Bertramka that Mozart finished his famous opera Don Giovanni. On display at the Museum of W. A. Mozart and the Duseks are documents, manuscripts, scores, pictures, letters, instruments and personal memorabilia. There are also displays with information on the owners of the estate, Mozart's friends, the Duseks. The original rooms where Mozart stayed and composed are still in tact, despite a fire that ravaged the parts of the building, and contain his harpsichord and a lock of his hair. Concerts, with Mozart's piece, are regularly held here and in the garden.
The Prague National Museum (Národní Muzeum) houses a broad range or collections representing a variety of fields with literally millions of items. Displays encompass the areas of mineralogy, paleontology, mycology, botany, entomology, zoology, anthropology, and archaeology. The entomology collection alone numbers over 5 million specimens. The archaeology exhibit has extensive collections of 1st and 2nd Century Roman artifacts, Neolithic and Eneolithic artifacts, as well as Bronze age and Early Iron age finds.The Prague National Museum is the oldest museum in the Czech Republic. It was established in the early 1800s under the name "Patriotic Museum". The building which currently houses the musuem was built in the late 1800s and opened in May of 1891. The institution suffered financially during the world wars and was damaged physically at the hands of the armies of the Warszaw Pact in 1968. The building has further deteriorate and is in need of repair but no such plans are in the works.
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