Prague – is centuries of spires…
Prague is the equal of Paris in terms of beauty. Its history goes back a millennium. And the beer? The best in Europe.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution that freed the Czechs from communism bequeathed to Europe a gem of a city to stand beside stalwarts such as Rome, Paris and London. Not surprisingly, visitors from around the world have come in droves, and on a hot summer’s day it can feel like you’re sharing Charles Bridge with half of humanity. But even the crowds can’t take away from the spectacle of a 14th-century stone bridge, a hilltop castle and a lovely, lazy river – the Vltava – that inspired one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of 19th-century classical music, Smetana’s Moldau symphony.
Prague’s art galleries may not have the allure of the Louvre, but Bohemian art offers much to admire, from the glowing Gothic altarpieces in the Convent of St Agnes, to the luscious art nouveau of Alfons Mucha, and the magnificent collection of 20th-century surrealists, cubists and constructivists in the Veletržní Palác. The weird and witty sculpture of David Černý punctuates Prague’s public spaces, and the city itself offers a smorgasbord of stunning architecture, from the soaring verticals of Gothic and the exuberance of baroque to the sensual elegance of art nouveau and the chiselled cheekbones of cubist facades.
Prague’s maze of cobbled lanes and hidden courtyards is a paradise for the aimless wanderer, always beckoning you to explore a little further. Just a few blocks away from the Old Town Square you can stumble across ancient chapels, unexpected gardens, cute cafes and old-fashioned bars with hardly a tourist in sight. One of the great joys of the city is its potential for exploration – neighbourhoods such as Vinohrady and Bubeneč can reward the urban adventurer with countless memorable cameos, from the setting sun glinting off church domes, to the strains of Dvořák wafting from an open window.
Read more: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/czech-republic/prague
Our hotel is a short distance away from Prague Airport while still providing seamless access to the city center.
The history of the Jews in Prague (capital of today’s Czech Republic) is one of Central Europe’s oldest and most well-known. Prague boasts one of Europe’s oldest recorded Jewish communities (Hebrew: “Kehilla”), first mentioned by an Arab-Jewish traveller Ibrahim ibn Yaqub in 965. Since then, the community never ceased to exist, despite a number of pogroms and expulsions – and the holocaust and subsequent antisemitic persecution by the Communist regime in the 20th Century. Nowadays, the Jewish community of Prague numbers approximately 2,000 members, although the number of Jews in the city is probably as high as 10,000 but for various reasons they remain officially unregistered as such. There are a number of synagogues of all Jewish denominations, a Chabad centre, an old age home, a kindergarten, Lauder Schools, Judaic Studies department at the Charles University, kosher restaurants and even a kosher hotel. Famous Jews from Prague include the Maharal, Franz Kafka, Miloš Forman and Madeleine Albright.
The 16th century began the Jewish Renaissance in Prague. Prague nobility in 1501 allowed for an open atmosphere of economic activity.Yet during the Habsburg reign, the Jewish people were expelled twice in 1542 and 1561.Each time they returned to prosper even more. From 1564-1612, the reigns of Maximilian II and Rudolf II were “golden ages” for the Jews in Prague. In the early 18th century, the Jews accounted for about one-fourth of Prague’s population. More Jewish people lived in Prague than anywhere else in the world. This “golden age” ended with Empress Maria Theresa’s succession to the throne, who expelled the Jews once again.Unfortunately Prague’s Jewish Quarter was totally demolished in the early 1900s, except for the synagogues and a few other buildings, and rebuilt in the fashion of the time, art nouveau style.
Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia.