3 days in Prague: the new town and the Vysehrad castle

Monday, June 5, 2017

After having visited the Hrad or the castle of Prague, it is now time to follow an off the beaten path itinerary in Prague, that includes a mix of famous and other landmarks of the city: the New Town ( Nové Mesto) and the Vysehrad castle.

Diaries of an explorer

Ready to explore it?

1) The first stop is the large Wenceslas Square (Vaclavské Namestì), one of the largest squares in Prague. It has become for sure one of the most important squares in the city due to the recent political facts and for the presence of the large National Museum that dominates a grass boulevard with its Neorenaissance dom.

Approaching to the museum, you can find the Jan Palach grave and monument,  dedicated to the Prague student that decided to burn itself as protest against the occupation of the Russian red army in 1968, event that stopped the so-called "Prague spring". It has therefore become a symbol of freedom of old Czech-slovakian country.
Diaries of an explorer

The second landmark of the Wenceslas Square is the Saint Wenceslas monument, with the four Bohemian protectors that represent the values of independence and sovereignity of the Czech people.
Diaries of an explorer

Besides the Jan Palach episode, in 1989 in this square the "gentle revolution" ended the communist regime and established the return to the democracy.  So the importance of this square for the events occurred in the 20th Century has become a representation of freedom and sovereignity of the Czech people, making it the centre of the New Town.

After the Saint Wenceslas monument, you will find the large National Museum (Narodnì muzeum), founded in 1818 and now unfortunately closed for reconstruction: it is planned to be open again in October 2018, so during the 200th anniversary of the opening of the museum. I was lucky I could visit the museum before its closure.
Diaries of an explorer

Inside, you can visit different sections: one dedicated to the Czech most famous individuals with some art galleries and other ones dedicated to the natural history and other sciences.
Diaries of an explorer

Left the buiding, you can walk along Wenceslas square with its restaurants, hotels, shops 
Diaries of an explorer

and get to the so-called Golden cross, that is the crossroad between the square and the two streets, 28 rijna and Na prikopé, one of the most important points of the city. Here, I followed the Na prinkopé towards the river.

One of the features of the New town is represented also by the street art and particular modern architecture. Here you will see an example of street art:
Diaries of an explorer

2) Another important landmark is the stunning National Theatre (Narodnì divavlo),  a Neorenaissance building built in 1868 representing the Bohemain culture and also a sort of cultural rebirth after the deep crisis that was involving the Habsburg empire after the big defeat against Prussia.
Diaries of an explorer

3)  If then you turn left and follow the Masarykovo nabrezì, you can find another interesting landmark, the Dancing House (Tancicì dum), built in 1996 by Vlado Milunic and Frank Owen Gehry. The building is formed by a tower and another construction that reminds a dancing move.
Diaries of an explorer

4) Following the Resslova, you reach the Charles square (Karlovo Namestì), the largest square of Prague, dedicated to the emperor Charles IV and now the center of the New Town. I the 19th Century it has become a sort of big public garden, but it still has some interesting buildings such the New town town hall and the Sv. Ignac church.

Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer

5) From Wenceslas square you can walk a bit towards the hill where the Vysehrad castle (Vysehrad) is located. This castle had a strategic position since it dominates a rocky hill over the river and has a sort of legend. In fact, it seems that the princess Libuse, in the 8th Century, predicted the birth of a city whose fame would have "reached the stars" ( and she was right lol). 

The first fortifications seem to be built just before the year 1000 by the duke Boleslav II. Although some expansions and new buildings, the fortune of the Vysehrad did not last so long, since the new and rising Prague Castle (Hradcany).

Anyway, Charles IV gave again importance to the Vysehrad and ordered that any new king / emperor should have made the path from the Vysehrad to the Hradcany and also gave importance to the old castle making it an important defensive stronghold of the New Town.

The first thing you find are the walls 
Diaries of an explorer

Not far from it, you access to the castle through the Tabor Gate
Diaries of an explorer

The first landmark is the Rotunda of St. Martin (Rotunda sv Martina), romanic church built in the 11th Century but modified more times later. 
Diaries of an explorer

Not far from it, you can find the Church of St. Peter and Paul (Sv. Peter a Pavel), that became a monumental courtyard that contains the church and a cemetery, where the Czech glories were buried.
Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

Probably the best part of the Vysehrad is the panoramic view over Prague and the Vltava River. 
Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

You can leave the Vysehrad by crossing the monumental Leopoldova gate
Diaries of an explorer

Once left the Vysehrad, if you do not want to walk anymore, you can go to the underground station Vysehradskà (line C) to come back to the centre of Prague.

Travel tips:
  • Depending on what you want to see, it takes half a day ( max one day) to visit everything. 
  • Keeping in mind that the National museum is closed, you can visit the temporary National museum new building: you can find more info by clicking here.
  • The Vysehrad is an interesting landmark especially for the panoramic view over the city and the Vltava River. If you don't have enough time, I would say you can easily do not go there, but it is always a less touristic and less crowded place for sure. If you go there, please consider the opening times by clicking here. The entrace is free.
Where to sleep:
If you want to sleep in the New Town, these are the options:
  • Budget accomodation: Welcome Hostel Praguecentre, located at only 150 meters from Charles square and 500 meters from Wenceslav square, you can select double rooms with shared or private bathroom. According to your choice, the first option costs 44 Euros per night and the second from 60 Euros per night per room.
  • Medium budget: Apartment Opatovicka, located in a strategic point, less than 1 km from the Charles Bridge and the Wenceslas square, it has wifi, kitchen, dishwasher. The prices goes from 80 Euros to 100 Euros per night and it is ideal for two people.
  • Luxury accomodation:  Grand Hotel Bohemia, 5 star hotel located not far from the Powder Gate, breakfast included, prices around 220-230 Euros per night per double room.
Don't miss the next post: 3 days in Prague: the trip reports.

0 commenti:

Post a Comment

No spam allowed or comments with link to products or services: your content will be removed. Please check the Contact page for more info.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...