It is getting pretty cold here, but what better to help you enjoy your cup of a hot chocolate or mulled wine than a long walk in the crisp air. With that in mind, we went to try a Free Prague Tour done by Prague Extravaganza. It was a great choice! We learned something new about our beloved city, met new friends and had a nice 7km walk. The tour started at the Old Town Square and finished at the Prague Castle. On the way, we passed the Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge and the Lesser Town. If you are in Prague and want to do a tour, we highly recommend this one. The guides are friendly, funny and do not overwhelm you with too many dates or strange names, but rather focus on the highlights and interesting facts. The tour runs twice a day, and except during the Christmas holidays, it runs the whole year around. The maximum number of people per group is 30, and it is recommended to reserve a place beforehand especially during the high tourist seasons. However, on cold November day, we were only seven frozen snowmen. If you do not feel like doing all three hours, you can also break the tour up into two parts. There is a mid-way meeting point where you can leave the group and rejoin it another day.
Some interesting facts about Prague and Czech history based of some information from the tour:
- The famous Astronomical clock on the Old Town Square is the oldest functioning clock of its kind in the world, and it does not show only time but also the position of the sun and phase of the moon, the zodiacal ring, the old Czech time scale showing the sunset and months.
- The Old Town Hall was badly damaged by the Nazis during the uprising in 1945. The anti-Nazi protest had a stronghold at the Old Town Hall and therefore it was on their radar. The worst attack came during the last day of WWII 8th May 1945 when a large fire destroyed most of the former Town Hall which was later torn down. Where the building once stood is a park with snack stands today.
- Among Czech inventions is the world “defenestration’’. The world is of Latin origin de- (out of or away from) and fenestra (window or opening) and according the Merriam-Webster dictionary it mean ‘’a throwing of a person or thing out of a window’’. Czechs are known for the former, and we can count three significant instances of this in history. Everyone one of these has marked a turning point for the worse in Czech history – the Hussite War, the Thirty Years War, the Communist Regime (this one is not confirmed as the death of Jan Masaryk is considered as suicide by some)
- It is very popular among travelers to touch famous statues for good luck, making wishes or just hoping that they will come back to a particular place. There are three such places on the Charles Bridge. You will not miss them as the places they are touched shine on the otherwise dark statue. First look for a small golden cross with a plaque, which marks the place where Jan Nepomuk was thrown from the bridge. If you touch the five magical stars around the saint’s head and make a wish, it will come true within a year and one day. If you touch Jan Nepomuk body falling into the water on a plaque under his statue just few meters away from the cross, you will ensure that you will return to Prague one day, and it also supposed to bring good luck. Another shiny spot is a dog with a queen. It seems that this plaque does not have any special legend connected to it, and maybe people touch it just because they are not sure which one to touch. However, our tour guide told us that their family story is that if you touch the dog a beloved one will came to your life, or if you are already in a relationship your partner will be always loyal. So just to be sure touch all three of them!
Walking is fun and you will never be bored in Prague despite the road you choose. More walks to come in future post! Did you do this walk? What was your favorite place?
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