Prague's preserved Old Town Square dates to the 12th century.
  • Prague's preserved Old Town Square dates to the 12th century.
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My spouse and I just returned from our trip to Prague. We made our must-see list on the plane ride in: 6,200 miles gives you plenty of time to jot down (and agree on) all the sights and experiences you want to live in the days you have to spend.

We had three weeks to absorb as much history, theater and absinthe ice cream as we possibly could. We spent Saint Patrick’s Day in the Czech capital, so it only made sense to have an abundance of (green) absinthe ice cream, known to some as the “green fairy.” It being St. Pat's, we simply had to indulge. For the record, it’s a delicious compliment to a day’s walk around Prague’s Old Town.

A bit of newfound knowledge: the city has remained perfectly preserved for over 800 years, and cars are barred from entering the Old Town to keep its old-world beauty and impeccable tradition intact.

Prague is a walk into the past, a historian’s delight. Its architecture is a prism of Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic, with a very minor addition of contemporary buildings. For all you architecture buffs out there, it’s something to see.

My spouse and I, being the theater buffs we are, spent a good portion of our time frolicking from one theater to the next. Some days were planned; other days we simply went with the flow and allowed Prague to take us in the best direction possible. I have to say, the days we left to chance were the most memorable.

The city covers just a bit over two miles, making it very walking-friendly. We had surprisingly little need for a map, since the town’s built in such a way that everything is sort of self-contained, if you will. Its gorgeous cobblestone streets are so inviting.

And there’s food a-plenty. Prague’s eateries serve gourmet sausage, dumplings, pork, wines and beer; this is everyday cuisine. My spouse was in heaven. The beer is refreshing, made with premium ingredients – and there are plenty of morning drinkers.

If Prague’s on your bucket list, we recommend seeing the Powder Tower. A true Gothic masterpiece, it at one time greeted visitors entering the medieval town.

Old Town is also home to the Royal Way, which includes the grand majority of the city’s sights. We began our tour in Republic Square. As you pass through the grand arch, you are overcome with a feeling that you’re leaving the present and going back in time 800 years ago – it really is that magical and dynamic.

One of the highlights that lingers in my mind is the 15th-century astronomical clock. We stood in front of it for literally an hour and had a sketch made of us with the clock behind in all its glory.

Upon entrance to the Charles Bridge, you pass through another Gothic arch. This area here is a mecca for all you shoppers out there: it’s filled with souvenirs ranging from banners to masks to, of course, the famous marionettes.

And ahh, the castle… nestled high on a mountain overlooking the city, it’s majestic even from afar.

The Museum of Miniatures is a must – just a few feet away from the castle, it houses only two rooms (I know, hard to believe it would be that small). But it’s something to see: everything in this museum is miniscule, and can only be viewed through a microscope.

Prague’s Old Town by far surpassed my expectations. Its cobblestone streets were romantic, and the intricate details to the buildings is superb. As we left the grand city, I looked back at the splendor of red-orange rooftops in the distance and knew this place would linger in my mind.

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Comments

Matthew Hudson April 27, 2012 @ 9:59 a.m.

Great article! It brought me back to Staromesto Namesti!!

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Rocket_J_Squirrel April 27, 2012 @ 9:38 p.m.

I agree - great article. I loved the clock tower and seeing the Jewish Quarter. The Plzen beer wasn't too bad either! Can't wait to go back and see more.

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