Prague Hotels Articles

June 23, 2010

Journey to the Magical City of Architecture: Prague

As the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague attracts over three million visitors every year, making it the sixth most visited city in Europe. Prague is known as one of the best cities in Europe in which to view buildings from nine different architectural periods, built over the past 1000 years.

The city’s biggest architectural boom occurred in the 14th Century, as the city became the cultural and political hub of Europe. Many buildings and monuments were erected in the Gothic style during this time, including the world famous Charles Bridge and much of the Old Town area.

The Old Town draws a large number of visitors seeking to explore the windy, narrow streets and the elaborately designed gothic buildings. The prize in the Old Town’s Gothic jewel is the Astronomical Clock, built in 1410, and which chimes every day at midday over a crowd of tourists. Legend has it that once the clock maker had finished his work, the town officials blinded him so he could not reproduce the same masterpiece in other cities. The clock has been modified and added to over the years, including the addition of a Grim Reaper in the 17th Century, who still tolls the bell today.

The 17th and 18th Centuries also brought a new style of architecture into fashion in Prague. Baroque architecture features lavishly ornate buildings and, in particular, churches. Large residences, with generous gardens, began appearing in Prague as Europe’s wealthy classes and cultural elite washed over the city. Cultural activities such as opera and music grew in popularity and Mozart even premiered The Magic Flute at the Baroque Church of St Nicholas in Prague.

As time wore on, further architectural styles came into fashion and were adopted by the city’s planners and architects. They were influenced by movements in the art world and architectural styles from other European cities. Elements of Romanesque influences can be seen in the Basilica of St George and Art Nouveau architectural styles were used to design the main railway station and the New Jewish Cemetery.

The best way to view all of Prague’s architecture is to visit Prague Castle. Originally built in a Gothic style, the St Vitus Cathedral in the heart of the castle grounds is now surrounded by structures from the Baroque, Renaissance, Romanesque and Art Nouveau periods. What’s more, many hotels in Prague were built in these traditional styles of architecture also.

It is from the vantage point of Prague Castle that you are able to view the city in all its splendour, including the breathtaking city skyline which is created by the maze of architectural styles across the great and beautiful city that Prague is today.

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