Domus Henrici is our Hidden Places accommodation in Prague. And really, we pass by a few times before we see that this is our hotel. The entrance looks like any other private front door. Inside we see old vaults, in which the breakfast room is located, nice large rooms and from the terrace, we have an incredible view of Prague.
We stay on Hradčín mountain, where Prague Castle has been the political and cultural centre of the city for over 1000 years. It is said to be the largest enclosed castle area in the world with its three castle courtyards.
It was built in the 9th century. Over time it has changed again and again. In the middle of the 14th century the St. Vitus Cathedral was added, the towers of which today still overtop the castle. And, it is the residence of the President of the Czech Republic.
The history of the Prague Window Sturge (May 1618) is particularly well known: the statue of Emperor Ferdinand II was thrown out of the window. This was the occasion for the Thirty Years' War. The room, in which the event took place, still exists.
We reach the centre via the castle stairs, which is a challenge, especially on the way home, because the stairs are quite steep.
Prague's most famous street is the Golden Lane. Here the houses are so small that you think you are on the smallest street in the world. The Golden Lane is famous mainly for two reasons: Here, alchemists, who have artificially created gold and the philosopher's stone, have been at work. At House No. 22, Franz Kafka lived and worked (between 1916 and 1917). We also visit a toy museum before we head down to the centre.
The Charles Bridge is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe. It is bordered by two towers and is only open for pedestrians and therefore there is quite a lot going on. With 16 arches it connects the Malá Strana and Staré Mesto, the old town and the small side. One of the towers is the Powder Tower. It is one of the 13 fortified towers and gates that have surrounded Prague's Old Town.
In the old part of town, the town hall with its astronomical clock is especially worth seeing. It was completed at the end of the 15th century on the southern wall. Some parts of the clock, however, are even older, like the astronomical digits: it dates back to 1410. In the 17th century the clock was supplemented by moving figures: at each full hour, a procession of the 12 Apostles sets in motion.
The Teyn Church, the Kinský Palace, the House of the Stone Bell and the Monument to Jan Hus are also located on the Town Hall Square.
We admire the panorama of the city from the river Vltava with one of the sightseeing boats and see the salon of Expo 58, the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Rudolfinum and the National Theater. The steamers dock directly at the Cech bridge and can’t be missed.
Obecní Dum (Municipal House) is located next to Powder Tower. On 28 October 1918, the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed here. Today, exhibitions, concerts and events take place. There are also a few cafes and restaurants. You can visit the town hall only with a guide.
Before the Wenceslas Square was laid, the Monastery of St. Maria (in the) snow had already been founded in the lower part. The foundation stone was laid by Charles IV himself in September 1347 to commemorate his coronation to the Bohemian king.
The rest of the day we search for one of the secret entrances to the catacombs. In the 13th century, the city lay a few yards lower than today. To escape the danger of flooding, they decided to move the streets of the city upwards. After this huge building action, the lower real city level was buried underneath the new one and became more and more oblivious. Unfortunately, we can’t find it. Either we are just too blind, or you just have to book one of the tourist tours for it. Maybe next time.
From our terrace we always see a lit tower in the evening. Later we learn that this is the Petrin Tower. From its platform you have a wonderful view over Prague.
We visit Prague in October and have a very cold weekend. Although we are constantly on the way, we are glad to be able to warm our hands on one of the open fires. What is now quite common with us, we discover for the first time in Prague: in spite of the cold many restaurants have outdoor seating and easy heating radiators.
Why Prague is called "Golden City" is not obvious to us, but we read about it and learn that on the one hand, Emperor Charles IV had gilded the towers of the Prague Castle. On the other hand, Rudolf II supported several alchemists in the search for gold.
In 1992 Unesco declared the historical core of Prague to be a world cultural heritage. The area includes the mountain Hradčín with the Prague Castle, the district small side, the old town including Charles Bridge and Josefstadt as well as the Neustadt.
Our conclusion: Prague has a lot to offer historically and a stroll through the alleyways outside the city centre is worthwhile. Nevertheless, we are a bit disappointed overall. On our way back home we stop in Pilsen to visit the local beer museum.