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Charles Bridge Photo: Shutterstock
Charles Bridge Photo: Shutterstock

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The best things to do in Prague

Prague, called the City of a Hundred Spires, has some of Europe's best-preserved historic districts - even its New Town dates back to the 14th century. Here are eight great things to do.

Charles Bridge

This 14th century bridge over the Vltava River, lined with statues of saints, is the place to admire Prague's fairytale skyline. On one side are the steeples of Prague Castle, on the other, the domes and spires of the Old Town (Stare Mesto), with arched streets on both sides. Today, street musicians, artists and vendors fill the pedestrian bridge.

Charles Bridge

Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1

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Photo: Shutterstock

Mala Strana

An enchanting neighborhood built in the 13th century of mansions, small streets, gardens and wonderful views, Little Town is just downhill from Prague Castle. A steep street, Nerudova ulice, is a gem - houses display names and art on their facades, like At the Three Fiddles, once home to a family of violin-makers in the 18th century, and Bretfeld Palace, where Mozart and Casanova, the famous Italian lover, stayed in 1787, which features a carving of St. Nicholas.

Mala Strana

Malá Strana, Prag 1

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Lobkowicz Palace

In the Prague Castle complex, but requiring a separate admission, this not-to-be-missed 16th-century palace with an amazing art collection was the home of the aristocratic Lobkowicz family. Beethoven dedicated three symphonies to Prince Lobkowicz, and his Eroica had its premiere here. Fittingly, classical music concerts take place daily. Art by Velazquez, Rubens and Veronese and other masters, plus original music scores from Mozart and Beethoven are in the galleries. The audio tour is narrated by a Lobkowicz descendant, an American, whose diplomat father fled Europe in 1939.

Lobkowicz Palace

Jirska 3, Prague

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Photo: Shutterstock

Prague Castle

A huge walled complex of churches, palaces and courtyards in different architectural styles, it features the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, begun in the 10th century (where Bohemian kings and saints are buried), the yellow Romanesque St. George's Basilica, the Old Royal Palace, where coronations and banquets were held in its massive 15th century hall, and Golden Lane, a charming street of small colorful 16th century houses once home to palace guards, now filled with shops. Franz Kafka, Prague's famous writer, lived on Golden Lane in 1916-17.

Prague Castle

Treti nadvori, Prague

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Mucha Museum

Famous for his Art Nouveau advertising and theater posters of women and stylized flower designs, Czech artist Alphonse Mucha was lionized in Paris. This museum has many of his posters, drawings and photographs (even one of Paul Gauguin playing the piano, without his pants). But you'll also see Mucha murals in Municipal House and his stained-glass window in Prague Castle's St. Vitus Cathedral.

Mucha Museum

Panska 7, Prague

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Stare Mesto

Old Town has countless beautifully-restored centuries-old buildings, and Baroque buildings in pastel colors lining its main square, Staromestske namesti. Here, watch the 15th century Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Hall mark each hour with mechanical figures - a dozen apostles parade, a skeleton overturns an hourglass, a rooster flutters its wings, and a turbaned Turk moves his head. A few blocks away, Municipal House, a magnificent Art Nouveau structure, is home to Prague Symphony Orchestra concerts. Many other classical concerts are held nearby in various churches, the Clementinum, and Clam-Gallas Palace.

Stare Mesto

Staré Město, Prag 1

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Photo: Jewish Museum in Prague

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Quarter, or Josefov, began in the 12th century and is just a few blocks north of Old Town Square. The Jewish Museum has exhibits on Czech Jewish history and profiles of prominent Central European Jews like Sigmund Freud and Kafka, and comprises different sites. These include the Spanish Synagogue, a 19th century building whose ornate Moorish-style interior will remind you of the Alhambra, the late 17th century Klausen Synagogue, the Maiselova Synagogue, built in 1592 but re-built in the early 20th century, the Old Cemetery with tombstones dating back to the 14th century, and Pinkas Synagogue, whose walls bear the names of almost 80,000 Czech Jews killed in World War II. Europe's oldest active synagogue, the 13th century Old-New Synagogue, isn't part of the museum and has a separate admission.

Jewish Museum

Maiselova 15, Prague

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Museum of Miniatures

One of the strangest museums you'll find anywhere is this museum of tiny art - so tiny, you need a microscope to view its exhibits, in Mala Strana. "Artworks" include a camel caravan within the eye of a needle, a flea with golden horseshoes and scissors affixed to its feet, a parade of animals on a mosquito leg, and a portrait of Anton Chekhov on a poppy seed.

Museum of Miniatures

Strahovske nadvori, 11

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Last edited: April 2, 2018

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