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Get the help you want here to discover and plan what to do and what not to miss on a first visit to Prague!
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“Prague is a unique blend of freedom and hesitancy.” – Kenneth Jackson The best things to do in Prague are enhanced by an understanding of Czech culture.
The modern Czech mindset begins to make sense when you remember that since beginning of WWI, Czech citizens have been alternately liberated, self-democratized, relinquished to appease a tyrant, conquered, relinquished to another tyrant, oppressed and persecuted, re-liberated and self-determined.
Spanning both sides of the picturesque Vltava River (called the Moldau in German), Prague’s pre-medieval Old Town (Staré Mesto) lies on its east bank with New Town (Nové Mesto) to its south, jutting the river back upon itself in the shape of a question mark.
The result has been a legacy of resignation and lack of trust, even with one’s close neighbors, combined with a hopeful, yet dark and rueful sense of humor.
It’s hard to put a finger on it, but the best description we can make is that Prague tips the atmospheric scale away from the German toward the Slav.
Czechia and Austria are the geographic center of Europe, but Prague feels more eastern than Vienna, even though it is not.
During the House of Habsburg era (not to be confused with the Habsburg Monarchy which emerged later), Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II lived in Prague Castle, turning the city into a cultural capital where the arts and sciences flourished.
Famed astronomer Johannes Kepler, mentored by Imperial Court Astronomer Tycho Brahe, became the Imperial Mathematician and developed a new form of astronomy he called “celestial physics.” If Prague first timers have already visited northerly cities in Western Europe such as Paris, Brussels, or Munich, Prague will be delightfully different.