Prague is a charming capital, famous for its hundreds or thousands of spires. It is home to some wonderful and inspiring architecture all across the city from many different eras. The great news is that many of the city's best sights can be seen and experienced for free. We have gathered the best Prague attractions that won't cost you a thing. We hope you will enjoy these insider tips for a freebie-filled holiday.
Explore Josefov – The Prague’s Jewish Quarter!
Anyone can freely walk around the tiny district that once used to be home to nearly all of Prague’s Jewish population. The Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town and the Vltava River and dates back to the 10th century. Its torrid history began in the 13th century, when Jewish people were ordered to leave their homes and settle down in this area. Over the centuries, with Jews banned from living elsewhere in Prague, and with new arrivals from other parts of Czech Republic and also Germany, Austria and Spain, more and more people were crowded in. So while you are walking along its streets you can try to imagine what this tiny area was like when it had approx. 18,000 inhabitants. You can also explore the remarkable synagogues and Old Jewish Cemetery, where the admission fee is applied. The Jewish Quarter with its monuments even survived the Nazi occupation in the 20th century, because Adolf Hitler decided to preserve Josefov as a Museum of the planned Extinct Race. You should also know that Josefov is the birthplace of famous writer Franz Kafka, he spent the majority of his life here. If you want to explore this area in relative calm, we advise you to plan your visit for Saturday (the Sabbath). You will find this area significantly quieter.
The Prague astronomical clock, also known as Orloj is a medieval astronomical clock that is a part of Old Town Square's Old Town Hall. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still in operation. The famous clock is a daily attraction for Prague's tourists and one of the free attractions you should not miss out on. Every hour, you will see crowds gathering in front of the clock to observe the 'Procession of the Twelve Apostles'. The clock itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details and the procession of Twelve Apostles. They are set in motion by the clock’s mechanics every hour between 9 am and 9 pm; notably, the figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
Explore the Prague Castle Complex
The castle grounds are interesting to see and the great thing is that you can visit them for free. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in the world at 18 acres (7 hectares). The Prague Castle, an ancient symbol of the Czech lands, is the most significant Czech monument and one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. It is the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic. Its history dates back to the ninth century, and the castle has been a seat of power for the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The greatest attraction of whole complex is definitely St. Vitus Cathedral, probably the most important cathedral in all the Czech Republic. The oldest parts of the cathedral are from the 14th century, but the cathedral was not completed in the Medieval period. The highest tower was completed in Renaissance and Baroque styles much later. St. Vitus Cathedral 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. You should not miss out on seeing the Changing of the Guard, we suggest you come a little early to find a good spot to watch. Quite a lot of people come to see this parade. The ceremonial Changing of the Guard including a fanfare and the flag ceremony is held daily at 12.00 in the first courtyard.
Enjoy Charles Bridge and all it offers
While you are in Prague the Charles Bridge should be definitely on the top of your must-see list. The Charles Bridge is without any doubt the most famous bridge in Central Europe. The Bridge is the place to enjoy Prague’s best sights such as the view of Prague Castle. All along the bridge, you'll find street artists, musicians, dancers and other entertainers. We advise you to get there early in the morning or late at night if you’re keen to see it without the crowds. There are towers standing on each end of the bridge. Both the Staroměstská věž on the Old Town end and the Malostranská věž on the Malá Strana end can be climbed for a view of Prague and the bridge from above, a small admission fee is charged. There are many beautiful statues along either side of the Charles Bridge. Their history dates back to the 17th century. Now many of them are copies and the originals can be seen in the Lapidarium. The most popular statue is probably that of St. Jan of Nepomuk, a Czech saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown into the Vltava from the bridge. The plaque on the statue has been polished to a shine by countless people having touched it over the centuries. So do not forget to also touch it, as it is said to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.
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