Dec. 25, 2006 – Exotic, mysterious with its Old World charm, and still hiding so many secrets, Prague enchants even the most cynical tourist. Prague’s rich history dates back thousands of years and a simple visit feels like a trip back in time. With nicknames such as ‘The Golden City’ or ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, it promises to be fascinating.
Prague is more than an interesting place to vacation, it is an experience. Make your way across the Charles Bridge, occasionally pausing to watch a street performer or observe a sketch artist at work on a tattered piece of paper. Stare into the somber faces of the stone statues which border the famous bridge, knowing somewhere beneath each distant gaze lies the soul of its carver. Beautiful and sad, they hold their vigil, oblivious of the rushing waters below. Explore the wares of the many crystal shops where the light dances off of each sparkling trinket. Pay your respects to the many residents at the Old Jewish Cemetery. Prague’s greatest Jewish scholar rests here and his grave has become a pilgrimage site for many of his faith. Examine famous ‘timepieces’ – whether the medieval Astronomical Clock mounted on the old city hall building or the modern, out-of-place metronome that tick-tocs its way through the hours where Stalin’s monument once stood. Hike up the steep Golden Lane, weaving in and out of street vendor carts and up to the castle. Take in the skyline view of crowded greenish church steeples, bridges, and an ever-freezing river while the merciless wind sends a chill up your spine. The St. Vitus Cathedral stands as the imposing giant at this hilltop castle, undaunted by the history it has witnessed from its perch above. Rest in a creaky wooden pew and gaze wide-eyed at the radiant rose window, almost exploding with color, before making the trek back down the Golden Lane and into the heart of the bustling city for some hearty goulash.
Even if you’ve never thought of visiting Prague before, you’ve probably sung about one of its favorite patron saints. Prince Wenceslas pursued a better relationship with a neighboring dynasty and was eventually assassinated by those not sharing his diplomatic views. He now sleeps forever at St. Vitus while countless sing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ during the Christmas holiday season.
See photography from Prague and more of Europe’s hidden treasures in “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal” by Vicki Landes. Available at Amazon.com and other major bookseller sites.
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