Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Prague – 10 things not to miss

Well, did you guess correctly?

Our room with a view was in Prague . . .

In fact you can see the windows in the photo – here's a close up.

I'd been to Prague before - a couple of brief stays many years ago, 1988 and 2000, either side of the 'Velvet Revolution'; but Cliff had never been. A friend who lives there wanted us to visit and it was about time we did.

I wanted to see more than the obvious . . . Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town square and the Astronomical Clock and Wenceslas Square. Of course we did all of those, but by far the best things were the places and things we discovered when we ventured off the main tourist trail . . .

10 things not to miss while in Prague 
 (in no particular order)

The Palace Gardens

the perfect place to look out over the rooftops and admire the domes and spires of the city

Letná Park

once the site of the huge Stalin Memorial -
today it's a place to get away from the crowds
and get the best view of the bridges over the River Vltava


the site of a huge fortress on a hill high above the River Vltava, south of the city centre

now famous for its cemetery, where famous Czech artists, writers and musicians are buried - including Dvorak and Smetana

the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul now stands on the site of the castle – the interior is an overwhelming feast of Art Nouveau murals!

 A day trip to Kutna Hora

the medieval town that was built on a silver mine and where Czech silver coinage was made; it's now a lovely place to escape from the crowds of the city and find some traditional Czech food - such as ginger and fruit dumplings with goulash (very good).

The massive structure of St Barbara's Church is an architectural gem


  Art Nouveau

 where do you begin! I suggest an evening stroll along
the riverbank, Masarykovo Nabrezi

and you'll find many more examples around Wenceslas Square and in Josefov (the old Jewish quarter); put on comfortable shoes and mind the trams while you're looking up at the buildings!

 Kampa Museum's bar-code babies

sculptures by Prague artist David Černý – they are also crawling all over the TV tower!

Oh . . . and there are neon yellow penguins too!

  The John Lennon Wall

originally the place where political graffiti was successively scrawled then painted over, this is an ever-changing work in-progress and a symbol of Czech freedom of expression

 Tančící dům

 on the riverside south of the city centre the 'Dancing House' is the work of Vlado Milunc and Frank O Gehry

we discovered that underneath those concrete 'legs' is a great place to shelter from the rain and people watch at evening rush-hour!

  The Pinkas Synagogue

 Pinkas Synagogue -names of Holocaust victims on the walls
 Photography wasn't allowed in the synagogue
I borrowed this image from the Jewish Mueums of Prague web site

probably the one of the most overwhelmingly moving memorials I've ever seen – neatly handwritten on the walls inside this synagogue are the names of 80,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were victims of the holocaust

upstairs you'll find a display of children's drawings . . . just a few of the 4,500 pictures made in the Terezin concentration camp by some of the 8,000 children under the age of 15 who were deported there between 1942 and 1944

only 242 of the children were still alive in 1945

Beer and Dumplings

this was the dish my Czech friend's Mum recommended that I chose when we met for Sunday lunch in a pub – "Moravian Sparrow"

obviously it's not sparrow! it's roast pork and comes served with sauerkraut and dumplings

and of course – you have to drink beer!




  1. I reckon you must be an undercover agent for the Prague Tourist Board - it looks a great city - glad you enjoyed your time there.

  2. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. MUST get there sometime.
    (Just hope the trainers over the wire don't have the same significance as they do in some neighbourhoods back here!)

  3. Great city! I do find those babies rather unnerving though!

  4. Yes, those babies are chilling! I went to Prague when I was doing my mature student thing, it was 2004, -10, and we stayed in a hostel 3 or 4 to a room, and travelled all over the place by tram! It was an amazing experience and I'd love to go back as a 'grown-up'(with a comfy bed!) and revisit.
    You certainly found some amazing, and moving places to see.
    Penny x

  5. Prague is somewhere I've long wanted to visit but never have. It looks like a brilliant mix of traditional and quirky; will have to add it to our "one day" list!

  6. Oh Celia, you have absolutely made me want to visit Prague, I love the glimpses you have given us, although, the Barcode Babies might give me nightmares.

  7. Celia, thank you for taking us to parts of Prague that we might not otherwise see. Your photographs and the variety they show are marvelous.

    The city definitely intrigues me, and I think I may be doing some more travel research. How long a stay would you recommend for a first-time visitor?


  8. Great post. Some fascinating sights - and amazing buildings. And those giant babies really are creepy

  9. After London, Prague is the most fascinating city! Lovely tour, thank you. I especially liked the owls & trees door photo.

  10. What an amazing place to visit, though those babies are too creepy to contemplate. I hadn't realised how ornamented the place would be.

  11. What a wonderful place! I went to Prague many years ago when it was just opening up to tourists. What lovely photos! You should go and find or rent the film 'Amadeus' which was filmed on location in Prague!

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  13. I have always wanted to visit Prague, now even more so.

  14. I love Prague and your post just made me want to go back right now. I couldn't walk through Pinkas Synagogue without crying, it was an awful place in the original use of the word awe.

    Did you eat dinner at Kampa Park? It is ruinously expensive but quite the most wonderful restaurant I have ever been too.

  15. Hi Celia,
    Val introduced me to your work and website after seeing a pic of mangetout flowers on my Judith Glover Design Facebook page.
    She told me you are a keen gardener as am I and I'd love to try and grow purple podded peas next year.
    Would love to know if you can eat the pods? They would look so exotic in a salad if they retained their colour during cooking.

    PS Great pics of Prague and love your lino cuts.

  16. Ah!Prague.Some sad memories, but mostly good ones.
    Thank you for the tour, Celia.
    (I thought you may have gone to Budapest, actually.I'm rubbish at guessing!)

  17. Elaine - do you think they'd pay me to go back for another week or two?

    Ailec - isn't that an urban myth? I think this is one of those self perpetuating collections of things.

    Hi Annie - :-)

    Hi Penny - I can recommend renting an apartment.

    Dottycookie - you MUST!!! and your OH would love all the music!

    Poshyarns - avoid the babies and head for the Art Nouveau ;-)

    ThriftyHousehold - it was!

    Hi Frances - I'm sure you'd love Prague withit's literary references and layers of history. You can pack the main sights into 3 days, but it depends if you want to visit some of the museums, Kafka for instance. Like London the possibilities are endless and the more time you spend there the more you discover.

    Greatacre - look away from the babies!

    Petoskystone - yes you're right, after London, I think Prague is probably the most multi-layered of European cities.

    Toffeeapple - the buildings of Prague are a gallery of decorative styles... I was just happy wandering up and down the streets looking up at the building facades!

    Hi Matron - YES! I have seen Admadeus, it was filmed shortly after my last visit.

    Acornmoon - you'd definitely love Prague!

    Skybluepinkish - Yes I stood in the Pinkas Synagogue and it was quite overwhelming. We didn't eat at Kampa, but we found some great restaurants and had some wonderful meals.

    Hi Judith - I've replied on your FB page.

    Hi Dinahmow - Budapest - yes I'd like to go there.

    I enjoyed all of your comments - maybe those babies are weird... but they fit perfectly with the dark and quirky Czech sense of humour.


  18. As I have never been to Prague but have been planning to visit someday, I appreciate this very much. Your suggestions are a good mix of the aesthetically breathtaking, intriguingly avant garde and heartbreakingly inspiring. Cheers!


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