Are you planning a trip to the capital of the Czech Republic? If so, you’re about to discover a hidden gem maybe unfairly shadowed by the most famous European capitals. Prague isn’t as big as London or Paris, but its dark, old charm will make an impression you’re not likely to forget. Prague has a very old and interesting history, and has been able to jump to modern times with elegance and wit, as prove the following facts about Prague. Take good note of them so you can impress your travel partner with your knowledge!
5 historical facts about Prague
Prague is nowadays the capital of the Czech Republic, but as you probably know, that wasn’t always the case – the country was constituted as such only in 1994! Of course, Prague is much, much older than that, and it used to be the capital of Bohemia, one of the three historical regions that form the Czech Republic today. As you will see later on in this same article, Prague is a fun city, but there are lots of things to learn there too – and you can see that in the following historical facts about Prague:
- A bridge with ghosts: The majestic Charles Bridge crosses the river Vltava and connects the Old Town of Prague and the neighbourhood of Mala Strana, and it is said to be haunted by many ghosts, those whose heads ended up at pikes by the bridge after being executed. It is said that they walk up and down the bridge as they wish.
- The largest castle in the world… According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Prague Castle is the largest one in the world. It dates back to the 9th century, but it was expanded several times until the 18th. It’s one of the top things to visit in Prague, so don’t miss it!
- And the oldest university: One of the least known facts about Prague is that the Charles University, founded in 1348, is the oldest one in Eastern and Central Europe.
- Specific Markets: In old times, Charles Square was known as the ‘cattle market’, and Wenceslas Square as ‘horse market’, so Prague had an interesting market culture!
- Death marking time: The Prague orloj or Prague astronomical clock, which is located in the Old Town Hall and is of medieval origin, shows a skeleton marking the time. That skeleton represents, of course, Death.
5 fun facts about Prague
There are tons of things to do in Prague, and a lot of important monuments to visit. however, make sure to leave some time to enjoy the little details that are spread around the city – they will add a different touch to your sightseeing experience. As a button, here you have five fun facts about Prague that you can spot in its ancient streets:
- A building that dances around: Well, not really around but over itself! We’re referring to the Dancing House, probably one of the most famous facts about Prague. The building, designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic, was inspired in dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but has a much deeper meaning: it symbolises how communism started changing to make space to democracy.
- Climbing babies: David Cerny, born in Prague himself, is quite a controversial sculptor. One of his most famous works are the babies that are crawling up Prague’s TV Tower. The sight can be quite a shock the very first time you see it!
- Graffiti as a homage to John Lennon: John Lennon never visited Prague, but the shadow of the long-deceased musician is a long one no matter where. Near Charles Bridge, you will find the ‘John Lennon Wall’, where artists, locals and visitors have left their graffitis as an homage to the ex-Beatle.
- Bars, bars, bars! Prague is considered to be a real party city – so besides sightseeing, make sure to enjoy the welcoming and exciting nightlife. Did you know that the in the Czech Republic people drink more beer on average than anywhere else in the world? It may not be a surprise then that it’s usually the cheapest drink in bars and restaurants’ menus, even more than water! Prague is full of pubs, bars and clubs, so prepare to join in the fun with the locals!
- Unsteady ground: According to some writers and intellectuals, the grounds of Prague aren’t that steady, and they felt some sort of tremor underneath their feet. Kafka, for instance, said that the drumming-like sounds where produced by ghouls.
As you can see thanks to many of these facts about Prague, the darkness and the unknown play an important part in the history and the culture of the city. Now you must be so excited for your next trip to this old and beautiful capital! Don’t forget to tell us the facts about Prague you discover during your trip – we’re looking forward to reading them in the comments!