Saturday, September 1, 2012

Prague, Czech Republic: Part II

For our first full day in Prague we decided to go to the Prague Castle and Royal Grounds. Our hotel provided direct access to the castle and we were able to take in some nice views of the city that we might have otherwise missed.

Prague castle is the biggest castle complex in the world. It was founded in the year 880 and took almost 700 years to complete. It is now the seat of the Czech government. We decided to buy tickets for the long route, which included the Old Royal Palace, the Story of Prague Castle exhibit, the Basilica of St. George, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Convent of St. George, the Prague Castle Picture Gallery, and Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower. We entered the grounds in the third courtyard where St. Vitus Cathedral dominates the square. When we came up those stairs we had never seen anything quite like it; I think it might be one of my favorite buildings so far. The cathedral looks as if there had been numerous candles that had dripped wax on it, with rose and gold colored glass and frescoes. The cathedral is visible from many parts of Prague and is a staple in its skyline.

St. Vitus Cathedral

Inside the cathedral

The Old Royal Palace sits next to St. Vitus Cathedral. It dates back to the 10th century and has been home to many princes and kings. Every president of the republic has been sworn in there.

Vladislav Hall in the Royal Palace
St. George's Basilica has a simple design that separates itself from other churches in Prague. It holds the tombs of Prince Boleslav II and Prince Vratislav I from the 10th century. Next to the basilica is the National Gallery (which used to be a convent) and showcases many Gothic art pieces.

St. George's Basilica
Inside of St. George's Basilica
Other pictures of our walk through the palace grounds include:

An old cell for a prisoner in Daliborka Tower

One of the courtyards of the palace
On our last day we spent some time in the Royal Garden. It used to be an area where the king and his family would relax, play games, and raise exotic plants. There are some pieces of architecture in the garden that are inspired by Italian influences.

Since our hotel provided direct access to the gardens and palace we were able to go straight back to the hotel without having to make our way through the crowds (though the gardens were pretty empty). Our hotel was beautifully situated in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle. Each night we were presented with a different dessert in our room as well as a cheese plate and a bottle of wine when we first arrived. We were definitely spoiled at our hotel during our time in Prague. We also ate very well, trying the traditional Czech cuisine of meats, goulash, and potatoes.

Cheese and fruit plates with a bottle of wine
A good night dessert
Some of the hotel
Dinner time
Duck with "potato dumplings"
Goulash in a bread bowl
All in all we had a fantastic time in Prague and wish we could have stayed longer. We know that in life we will definitely return to this beautiful city and experience parts of Prague that we didn't get to see. Perhaps in the winter? 

1 comment:

  1. Just as I imagined it would be, Part II of your Prague trip was just as interesting and exciting as Part !. I know I keep saying this, but the architecture is absolutely amazing! The cathedrals are exquisite and each one seems to have their own personality! (I love the stained glass windows!) Your hotel is very quaint and so cute! I love the winding, narrow steps with the beautiful plants and flowers! The food looks so yummy, especially the dessert! It looks like you really enjoyed dinner that night! (How do you always manage to get a quiet, romantic table in the corner?!! (Haha!!) This is definitely one place that Dad and I have to visit!!