Monday, November 19, 2007

Eastern Europe - Prague, Czech Republic

For my Eid Al-Fitr break in 2007, I embarked on a week long tour of Eastern Europe. The plan was to fly from Dubai-Vienna-Prague and travel through the Czech Republic, southern Poland, and Slovakia, before making my way back to Vienna to catch my flight back to Dubai. The first stop on the trip was the majestic medieval centerpiece of Prague. Kept off the beaten path for so long under communist rule, Prague is fast becoming one of Europe's top destinations, and the city does not disappoint. Unlike some of its neighboring capital cities, Prague was pretty much left unscathed during World War II - therefore; the antique historic city center now sits as a virtual living history museum.
Meandering through the cobble-stone streets, one finds themselves transported through time all the way back to Prague's two greatest architectural periods: the Gothic period under Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and the baroque period during Hapsburg rule. While Prague has many notable tourist attractions, the essence of Prague is captured in simply wandering through it's plethora of boulevards and medieval streets and streets. Several of these attractions offer some fantastic views of the city. Prague Castle offers some fantastic panoramic views of the city, and vice-versa, the view of the castle itself from the banks of the Vltava River are also striking - at all times of the day and night. Charles Bridge, not only acts as a pedestrian transportation connection between the eastern and western banks of the river, but also serves as a shopping promenade. The carnival-like atmosphere along the bridge is one of Prague's greatest attractions and the Mala Strana Bridge Tower offers some great sights of the city.

Prague comes alive at night as well. There's a glut of restaurants, cafes, and beer tents to fulfill every taste in international cuisine. And there's never a shortage of entertainment in Prauge either with events ranging from theatre and classical music to modern rock concerts advertised everywhere. My choice of entertainment was the rather unique 'blacklight show' ( After several days in Prague, I explored the Bohemian countryside villages before heading off to Poland.
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