Getting to know the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic, despite being one of the continent’s smaller states, will not disappoint visitors looking for some of the best spots to visit in central Europe. Given its size – and thanks to a first-rate public transportation system – it’s a simple country to navigate, especially for those wanting to spend most of their time in the country’s lovely capital, Prague, which offers nearly infinite sightseeing possibilities and things to do.
Despite the fact that Prague has an abundance of good attractions, there are enough off-the-beaten-path sites to warrant a vehicle trip. Many superb national parks and conservation areas are among the highlights of a trip to the Czech countryside. The aptly titled Bohemian Paradise, an area of remarkable natural beauty marked by several waterfalls, is one of the most popular characterized by numerous splendid rock formations and many fine old castles.
Prague Castle (Prask hrad) is the main attraction for most visitors to the Czech Republic. It’s a must-see on any Prague itinerary. Prague Castle, which dates from the late 10th century and is located in the city’s Hradcany area, has been home to Holy Roman Emperors, the Habsburgs, Bohemian kings, and, most recently, the Czech Republic’s President for centuries.
The castle, which is the world’s largest in terms of area, has seen many significant changes in architectural style over the course of its 1,000-year history, as evidenced by the numerous buildings created within its walls over the years.
St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and the Powder Tower are among the castle’s highlights.
Glassworks of Karlovy Vary
The picturesque town of Karlovy Vary, in addition to its many superb spa resorts, is one of Europe’s most prominent glassmaking centers, with a history dating back over 150 years. The Moser Visitor Centre, which is part of the Moser glassworks and was founded in 1857, is a fascinating adventure.
It is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ornamental glass, thanks to the abilities and workmanship of the local glassmakers it employs. Tours of the site provide opportunities to learn about the history of glassmaking, observe glassblowers at work, and visit the Glass Museum, which houses over 2,000 exceptional specimens of glass masterpieces.
Prague's Charles Bridge
It is difficult to visit Prague without crossing the city’s most important river bridge, the magnificent Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). This magnificent bridge over the Vltava River was completed in 1357 and has several distinctive points of interest, including many beautiful statues, along its 520-meter arch. Those of the namesake bridge, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and the 1683 monument to John Nepomuk, which celebrates the country’s most revered saint who, sadly, was purposely killed in the Vltava, are among the most notable. Tourists and photographers flock to the bridge for its spectacular views. Some of the best views are captured during off-peak hours, such as mornings and evenings, when the park is less crowded.
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral, which is part of the Prague Castle complex, is best renowned for housing the Coronation Jewels of Bohemia, as well as the tomb of St. Wenceslas, the Czech people’s most beloved saint. The cathedral has a long and illustrious history. The edifice, which dates back to 925, when Prince Wenceslas had a chapel built on the site, increased in importance with Prague’s, and after the creation of the Bishopric of Prague, it became a basilica. Between 1344 and 1419, it underwent another era of growth as it began its metamorphosis into a Gothic cathedral, with the Church of S. The construction of the Wenceslas Chapel begins. At the end of the 18th century, construction and repairs resumed, with neo-Gothic elements added. The bronze doors, which are embellished with ornate carvings, are one of the highlights of a visit.
Prague's Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square
The city’s first market was held in Prague’s Old Town Square. It is located at a crossroads of trade routes and features buildings dating back to the 10th century. The square is home to many historic landmarks, including Old Town City Hall, which houses the Astronomical Clock, and St. Nicholas Church, in addition to its many medieval homes.
Many key incidents in Czech history have occurred on this area, including public executions and political protests. The center features a statue of Protestant reformer Jan Hus, and this is a major tourist attraction that holds Prague’s traditional Christmas markets each December.
Ceský Krumlov Castle
Cesky Krumlov Castle, which overlooks the old town from which it gets its name, is extremely well kept for its age. Much of what can be found today in this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 17th century, including the Renaissance Rosenberg Ballroom and Hall,
the Royal Apartments, and the 13th-century St. George’s Chapel. The old Baroque castle theater is also worth a visit if you’re in the area. It was built in 1682 and still serves as a venue for special occasions. In addition, the property boasts an impressive collection of antique paintings and tapestries, as well as period furnishings. The Cesk Krumlov castle complex consists of 40 buildings, many of which are medieval palaces, courtyards, and gardens. Visitors can easily spend several days exploring the park due to its size.
Brno's Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
The majestic Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, one of the Czech Republic’s most important national monuments, stands high above the old city of Brno. The cathedral was built on the site of a Romanesque chapel built in the 11th century that was later expanded to include a crypt and a basilica, the remnants of which may still be seen.
The interior of the Gothic cathedral, which was eventually reconstructed in the 18th century, is a Baroque masterpiece designed by architect Moric Grimm. The Kapistránka pulpit and the crypt, which house not only graves but also portions of Brno’s original city walls, are two of its most notable features.
The church bell, which rings every day, is housed in the building’s two 84-meter-high towers, which were added in the early twentieth century.
Bone Collectors: Czech Crypts, Tombs, and Cemeteries
There are a number of fascinating places scattered throughout the Czech Republic dedicated to conserving the remains of persons slain in war or by diseases such as the dreadful plagues that ravaged Europe at the time. medieval. But it’s the frequently strange ways in which these centuries-old human remnants are displayed that make these locations even more fascinating. This is especially obvious in Sedlec, which is home to the famed ‘Church of Bones,’ the Gothic Chapel of All Saints. The curious will be rewarded with the opportunity to observe the remains of over 70,000 persons who died between the 14th and 16th centuries presented in a somewhat disturbing artistic manner, featuring coats of arms, chandeliers, and goblets, in the Sedlec Ossuary.
The Colonnades and Spas of Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary, often known by its original German name of Karlsbad, is a must-see for anyone seeking an authentic European spa experience. Karlovy Vary has been a popular destination for Europe’s elite for ages, from rulers such as Peter the Great to great composers and writers like as Beethoven, Chopin, and Goethe. There is evidence of the town’s 13 main springs, as well as innumerable lesser springs, all throughout the place.
The town is lined by Neoclassical and Art Nouveau colonnades with drinking and bathing fountains, in addition to the enormous spas. In the middle of the Tepla River, a spectacular fountain shoots water jets 14 meters into the air.
Spectacular Libraries: The Clementinum and Strahov Monastery
Prague is home to three of Europe’s finest historic libraries. The National Library of the Czech Republic is housed in the majestic Clementinum (Klementinum), located near Charles Bridge in Old Prague.
One of Europe’s largest Baroque complexes, it features a wide variety of attractions. The Sala della Biblioteca is famous for its frescoed ceiling and for the Astronomical Tower, from which visitors can get stunning views of the city. The Philosophical Library and the Baroque Theological Library, both with exquisite furnishings and painted ceilings, are located in the 12th-century Strahov Monastery (Strahovsky kláster).