We bet you already know a lot about Prague. But we believe there are still some things that you might not have heard about yet – things that will make you love this city even more.
1. You probably know that the construction of Charles Bridge was commissioned by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, in 1357. What you may not know is that the bridge was built from Bohemian sandstone. It is also said that egg yolks were added to mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge – just like adding eggs when baking to make the dough hold together better. The Charles Bridge is without any doubt the most famous bridge in Prague. Another interesting thing is that the Charles Bridge was the only way of crossing the Vltava river without taking to the water for 460 years.
2. Discover a bit of Paris at the Petřín Lookout Tower. The Petřín Lookout Tower was built in 1891 and was used as an observation tower as well as a transmission tower. Petřín bares a strong resemblance to the Eiffel Tower and this is no coincidence as it was built following the inspiration of a group of Czech travellers after a visit to Paris’ famous monument. The tower is 60m tall, which does not sound particularly high until you add the fact that it sits on the top of Petřín hill, overlooking the whole Prague. Interesting fact – Eiffel tower in Paris and Petřín Lookout Tower are the same height above the sea level (300m) as Petřín stands on the hill.
3. Did you know that Prague was bombed in WWII by mistake? In comparison with the reconstructed hearts of Polish cities and the German capital, Berlin, Prague remains intact. And why is that? I tis because Hitler loved Prague’s rich architectural heritage, and had the city in mind as an arts capital of Nazi Europe. However on Feb 14, 1945, American B-17s arrived over central Prague due to a navigational error – they mistook Prague for Dresden and dropped more than 150 tonnes of bombs, killing 701, wounding over a thousand, and flattening 93 buildings.
4. Prague Astronomical Clock (Orloj) dates back to 1410, and at 601 years old, it is considered to be the third oldest in the world and the oldest one still in operation. Orloj can be also considered as a medieval planetarium, displaying the current state of the universe. The original, simple clock was constructed by Mikulaš of Kodaň, but at the end of the fifteenth century it was altered and perfected by Master Hanuš. According the legend, the Old Town councilors blinded Hanuš with a hot poker, so that he could not recreate another similar clock somewhere else, which would overshadow the beauty and fame of this Prague’s one. As revenge, Hanuš climbed the tower of the clock and broke the clock mechanism so badly that no one could repair it. Old legend says that over decades people died or went mad when trying to repair it. Interesting, don’t you think?
The picture above is curtesy of prazsky.denik.cz
5. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in the world at 18 acres (7 hectars). Prague Castle is the place where the Czech Crown Jewels are housed. The jewels include a sword, sceptre and crown belonging to the legendary King Wenceslas. The original Crown Jewels are hidden behind a door with 7 locks that require 7 different keys to open them. Each key is owned by an important Czech figure.
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