THE FAIRYTALE CITY, Beril Dilsiz | 10.03.2014

This is the capital of what used to be Czechoslovakia and is now the Czech Republic... it's a city right out of fairytales... Every sidewalk, every corner, every building is steeped in history.... You can't get enough of its sights, you're stunned by its buildings, its ambience makes you feel as if you've been transported right back to the Middle Ages, you get lost in its enchanting streets, you never tire of gazing upon its river, Prague is at the top of the list of cities that can't be explained without having lived them...

One of the most special things about the city is that it wasn't really destroyed by World War II... Even though Prague looks like a small city that can be seen in two days, even though it was tons of tourists and a 1.5 million population crowding it up it's still well-preserved. Those who minimize the city and say it can be done in just two days end up spending a full week there in the old and new neighborhoods and find themselves truly in a fairytale of their own.

Prague ultimately means Franz Kafka... the city gave birth to one of the most famous writers in the world! The heart of the city. You'll see this man in every store, street, and sign. His traces are all over the city, who better to tell the story of the city than the writer who spent his whole life there?

The Vlatava River breaks the city into its old and its new. The different identities of the old and new city means that the city can surprise tourists with both the throws of history as well as the airs of modernity. Transportation across the city is easy and its easy to roam across Prague in comfort, thus meeting one of the necessities for many tourists.

Things to see in Prague:

The two sides of the city are held together by the bridges over the Vlatava River. One of these bridges is the Charles Bridge. This bridge built in the 14th and 15th centuries is one of things that tourists flock to the most in the city. The bridge features 6 columns and is Gothic in style. There are statues and each one is more beautiful than the next.

One of the most important things in Prague to visit is Prague Castle, which is 570 meters long and 130 meters wide and is one of the most important castles in world history. Inside the castle are Bohemian kings, Holy Roman Emperors, and the work rooms of the presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Also in a secluded room of the castle the Bohemian precious jewels are kept safe. The castle is so big that it has the feel of a city itself and its narrow streets and courtyards all go towards making it one of the most valuable places in all of Prague.

Another place that all tourists have to see in Prague is the Old City Square. This square is both Prague's economic and political center, the lifeblood of the city. This square was built in the 10th century and has houses many historical structures: The famous Astronomical Clock Tower, Nicholas Church, Tyn Church, and so on. Many gothic structures of historical beauty are here in this square. The first houses in this region were built around the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Astronomical Clock Tower is a clock that dates back to the Middle Ages. The clock face shows the 12 time zones as well as the 12 signs of the Zodiac. As a result of this it's the most photographed thing in the city. It's known to have been built in 1410 and repaired in the 16th century. In World War II the clock got a little bit damaged and some of the statues around it were destroyed. On the face of the clock are windows and the figures of the apostles. These wooden figures are seen from the windows every hour and some statues begin to move. Regardless of the fact that this astronomical clock is so popular with tourists it also features this amazing animation.

Shopping in Prague:

The most beautiful and local way to shop in Prague is to go to the street markets. Some of the major markets include Havelske Trziste, and Prazska Trznice. Some of the most popular gifts to buy in Prague include: Bohemian crystal, wooden toys, puppets, souvenirs with Prague written on them, and pictures of Prague sold on the streets. Stores in Prague are usually open from 10:00am to 7:00pm. A lot of products include a 19% tax. With shopping you can buy things with both Czech Krona and Euros.

Food and Drink in Prague:

Because it was under the yoke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, those cuisines have greatly influenced the food and drink. Chicken, pork, different soups (potato and mushroom soup is famous) and potatoes are the most common foods. There's street food and snacks from stands and shops all over the place. Czech beer is famous all around the world. Other than beer wine is easy to find. People usually leave a 10% tip at restaurants. Regional dishes tend to have a lot of meat, vegetables and pastries. Grilled duck is the most famous of the local dishes.

Breathe in Prague's mystic medieval air. The people are lovely, the places are lovely and it’s all a feast for the eyes. You're experiencing Europe at its finest. Even after you've returned home, it still takes you a few days to wake up from the beautiful dream that is Prague.

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