July 2015

Prague on the Side

Whether you come to Prague, for assisted reproduction, plastic surgery, or obesity treatment, the city has much to offer, before, between, and after doctor’s visits. Jaunts into the heart of this majestic place can do much to divert your mind and enrich your experience abroad.

Guidebooks, for Prague, abound that provide detailed directions and advice on exactly where to go and what to do, so we will not here retread covered ground, by belabouring tourist attractions. Rather, we will offer some general guidelines that should steer you well, when you come visiting and, only briefly, mention a few noteworthy spots.

The sojourner could do much worse than keep to Prague 1, for the duration of his or her stay. This district includes the whole of Old Town and Jewish Quarter as well as the majority of New Town (not so new, in fact, as it was founded by Charles IV, in 1348), Little Quarter, and the Castle District.  In these areas, it is hard to go wrong, and you will be greatly rewarded, for your efforts. Even if you get lost or never find your way to some intended site, it matters little, as everything before you smacks of beauty. Just be sure to carry a map, so you have, at least, a general sense of bearing when it’s time to return to the hotel.

A good jumping-off point, within Prague 1, is Old Town Square, serving as a nucleus, from which you may venture any direction and be pleased with what you find.  Old Town Square originated as a market place, around the 11th century, and, in the ensuing years, structures of Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic architectural styles were erected, in its vicinity. The square, itself, boasts such features as the Prague Astronomical Clock and the Jan Hus Memorial, and from its borders snake many passages, in the form of cobblestone streets that can, each, lead you on to a great many other spots of interest.

If you need more specificity (and taking the aforementioned map in-hand, for granted), from Old Town Square, find your way to the Charles Bridge, cross the Vltava river, and head up to Prague Castle that sits, in all its stately glory, atop an ancient hill. From that vantage point, you can look out over the city and identify additional places to visit.

Guidebooks certainly have their place, and they can offer the visitor a very concrete scheme of tourism, if he or she be so-inclined. But there is another, more fluid, route to gaining a truly authentic experience: plant yourself in the heart of beauty and go forth to explore its depths. It really can be that simple, and Prague is one of the best places in the world to do it.