Prague was one of the few European cities relatively untouched during the World Wars, allowing its historic architecture to stay true to form. There are lots of old buildings, many with beautiful murals on them. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern. Some of the most known sights are:
Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) is a square in the Old Town quarter in the city of Prague. Among many churches, tourists may find the Astronomical Clock on this square. There is also gothic Týnský chrám (Tyn Chapel) and baroque Chrám sv Mikuláše (St. Nicholas' Church). The square's center is home to a statue of religious reformer Jan Hus who was burned at the stake for his beliefs.
Not only a popular meeting place, Old Town Square sees its share of celebrations (New Year's), holiday markets (Christmas and Easter), protests and, as you might expect in one of the world's top recruiting grounds for NHL hockey players, beer and fans (hockey games have been known to be shown on huge screens). Regardless of the event, you're sure to observe a representative cross-section of Prague society taking in the local culture.
The astronimical clok or Prague orloj is a medieval astronomical clock located in Prague atThe Orloj is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square and is a popular tourist attraction.
The Orloj is composed of three main components:
1) the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details;
2) "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures;
3) and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
Charles Bridge (Karlův most) is a famous historical bridge crossing the Vltava river in Prague. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished on the beginning of 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river in Prague, Charles Bridge used to be the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas till 1841. Also this 'solid-land' connection made Prague important as a trade route between east and west Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870.
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 m wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, erected around 1700.
The Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is the castle in Prague where the Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of the Czech Republic have had their offices. The crown jewels of the Bohemian Kingdom are kept here. Prague Castle is one of the biggest castles in the world at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. Next to the Prague Castle there is placed famous St. Vitus Cathedral.
Saint Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta) is a the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The full name of the cathedral is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral. Located within Prague Castle and containing the tombs of many Bohemian kings, this cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country.
The present day Gothic Cathedral was founded on 21st of November, 1344. However, the St Vitus cathedral was finally finished in 1929 so it took almost 600 years to built it!
The Lennon Wall was formerly an ordinary wall in Prague, but since the 1980s, people have filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.
In 1988 the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as Lennonism and Czech authorities described these educated peaceful people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism.
The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paints. Even when the wall was re-painted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace.
The wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross, who graciously allowed graffiti to continue on what actually is a lovely Renaissance wall, and is located at Velkopřevorské náměstí (Grand Priory Square), Malá Strana.
Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. It has been a place where many historical events occurred; it is also a traditional place for demonstrations, celebrations, and similar public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia.
Less a square than a boulevard, Wenceslas Square has a shape of a very long (750 m, total area 45,000 m²) rectangle, in a northwest–southeast direction. The street slopes upward to the southeast side. On that end, the street is bordered by the grand neoclassical Czech National Museum. The northwest end runs up against the border between the New Town and the Old Town.
The street is dominated by a mounted statue of Saint Wenceslas, made by Josef Václav Myslbek in 1887–1924 and located in front of the National Museum. The image of Saint Wenceslas is accompanied by other Czech patron saints carved into the ornate statue base: Saint Ludmila, Saint Agnes of Bohemia, Saint Prokop, and Saint Adalbert of Prague.
The statue base, designed by architect Alois Dryák, includes the inscription: "Svatý Václave, vévodo české země, kníže náš, nedej zahynouti nám ni budoucím" what means "Saint Wenceslas, duke of the Czech land, prince of ours, do not let perish us nor our descendants"
Other landmarks on or visible from the street include office buildings and shopping centres and also the Gothic Church of Our Lady of the Snows.
National museum is a Czech institution intended to systematically establish, prepare and publicly exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. It was founded 1818 in Prague. At present the National Museum shelters almost 14 million of items from the area of natural history, history, arts, music and librarianship, located in tens of buildings.
The Petřínská rozhledna (Petřín lookout tower) is a 60 metre high steel framework tower in Prague, which strongly resembles the Eiffel Tower. Although it is much shorter than the Eiffel Tower, it stands atop a sizeable hill, so the top is at almost the same altitude. The Petřínská rozhledna was built in 1891 and was used as an observation tower as well as a transmission tower. Today the Petřínská rozhledna is a major tourist attraction. If you go up the hard way, the hill is roughly a half-hour walk up paths that get quite slippy when it snows, and the tower is a shorter but fairly tiring climb; however, the hill is served by a frequent funicular and the tower has an elevator for disabled persons.
When it is not foggy, the tower offers a good view of the Prague skyline.
There is also a Mirror labyrinth placed near the Watchtower Petrin in a small castle, where you really get lost.
The Dancing House or Fred and Ginger is the nickname given to an office building in downtown Prague. It was built in 1997 by Croatian-born Czech architect Vlado Milunić in co-operation with American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot next to a building owned by Czech playwright and former president Václav Havel, whose strong support for avant-garde architecture was instrumental in getting the controversial design approved and built. Known in Czech as Tančící dům ('the Dancing House') - hence the 'Fred and Ginger' nickname, after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - the house vaguely resembles a pair of dancers and stands out among the Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings that Prague is famous for, without clashing with them. There is a highly-rated French restaurant on the roof with magnificent views, and the building's tenants include several multinational firms.
Prague Zoo was founded in 1931 with the goal to "advance the study of zoology, protect wildlife, and educate the public" in the district of Troja in the north of Prague. The zoo occupies occupies 45 hectares (111 acres) and houses about 4,600 animals that represent 630 species from all around the world. Prague Zoological Garden has contributed significantly to saving the Przewalski horse. For many years it was the biggest breeder of the species in the world.