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March 2016, Prague – Czech Republic
For decades, Prague has been sweeping visitors off their feet with its romantic atmosphere and impressive legends.
So we thought, why not give it a try for the weekend. And since we’re big fans of walking city tours, we found out some pretty cool facts about Prague.
Want to hear some ? 🙂
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle complex in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Seat of power for Bohemian kings, Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia, this one is really impressive.
It’s like discovering a whole different city, inside its walls. The huge 70 000 square meters area includes palaces, churches, great halls, a monastery, towers, fortifications, museums, art galleries and historical houses.
One more cool thing, about the Prague Castle: it was Illuminated by night thanks to the Rolling Stones donation!
In 1990, the Rolling Stones were one of the first bands to play in a newly free Czechoslovakia. They became friends with a politician in the city. In 1996 after another concert, they were out with the politician and Mick Jagger said to him:
“Hey, why don’t you light up your castle at night?”
The politician said:
“Well, we are just freshly out of communism. The country does not have the money for that.”
So, when the Rolling Stones left Prague, they paid the money for the castle’s lighting system. And the one setting it up, was the man responsible for the band’s own light show.
Couldn’t believe it when we heard it from our city-guide! True story, searched it again after getting back home.
Prague astronomical clock is the oldest one of its kind in the world. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world. And the oldest one still operating.
As we walk and hear more stories, we realise that the glory of the past is shadowed by abuse and cruelty, under both the Nazis and the Communists.
Hitler kept the Jewish Quarter intact in Prague. He did not want it destroyed because he was going to keep this sector as a memorial for an extinct race.
The Jewish cemetery of Prague is a very small section. When that cemetery was filled, the city did not offer more space. Bodies are stacked in the cemetery one on top of the other, as deep as 14 layers, and it is estimated that there are around 100,000 people buried in a small area.
During the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 1800’s, only 20% of Czechs spoke their own language, as it had been made illegal at that time. It was only spoken behind closed doors, with family and friends.
Last but not least, the BEER. 😀
The locals drink more beer per capita, than any other country in the world. The total beer consumption per head in the Czech Republic equals approximately 150 liters per year. In other words almost half a liter daily.
Oh, almost forgot: beer is often cheaper than bottled water. And it’s so good!
We’re taking a last walk, across The Charles Bridge, over the flowing Vltava River. It’s late in the evening and the imposing castle is showing up, in shimmering lights.
Thanks again to the Sandeman’s New Prague free city Tour. It was so informative and fun, despite the rainy weather.
There’s a great place to stay close to the city center: Green Garden Hotel. Breakfast was fantastic, a great variety of dishes to choose from, maybe the best we had in a hotel in Europe.
Happy travels and stay safe!