When You Visit Prague:
Tourist Attractions in Prague
The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism. Prague is the fifth most visited city in Europe after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. In 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached 118 billion CZK, making up 5.5% of GNP and 9% of overall export earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 people – over 1% of the population. The country's reputation has suffered with guidebooks and tourists reporting overcharging by taxi drivers and pickpocketing problems mainly in Prague, though the situation has improved recently. Since 2005, Prague's mayor, Pavel Bém, has worked to improve this reputation by cracking down on petty crime and, aside from these problems, Prague is a safe city. Also, the Czech Republic as a whole generally has a low crime rate. For tourists, the Czech Republic is considered a safe destination to visit. The low crime rate makes most cities and towns very safe to walk around.
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic is the Nether district Vítkovice in Ostrava, a post-industrial city on the northeast of the country. The territory was formerly the site of steel production, but now it hosts a technical museum with many interactive expositions for tourists.
There are several centers of tourist activity. The spa towns, such as Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně and Jáchymov, are particularly popular relaxing holiday destinations. Architectural heritage is another object of interest to visitors – it includes many castles and châteaux from different historical epoques, namely Karlštejn Castle, Český Krumlov and the Lednice–Valtice area.
There are 12 cathedrals and 15 churches elevated to the rank of basilica by the Pope, calm monasteries, many modern and ancient churches – for example Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is one of those inscribed on the World Heritage List. Away from the towns, areas such as Český ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.
The country is also known for its various museums. Puppetry and marionette exhibitions are very popular, with a number of puppet festivals throughout the country. Aquapalace Praha in Čestlice near Prague, is the biggest water park in central Europe.
The Czech Republic has a number of beer festivals, including: Czech Beer Festival (the biggest Czech beer festival, it is usually 17 days long and held every year in May in Prague), Pilsner Fest (every year in August in Plzeň), The Olomoucký pivní festival (in Olomouc) or festival Slavnosti piva v Českých Budějovicích (in České Budějovice).
Prague Tours by Vintage Cars
Enjoy completely renovated historical Praga-brand Czech vehicles, manufactured in the period from 1928 to 1935, which at the time period belonged to the luxurious class. The driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you on this exciting tour including major Prague sights. You will ride through Judish Town, Old Town, across the Cech’s Bridge to Prague Castle and then get back to the Old Town across the Manes’ Bridge.
Beer Tour in Prague
Savor the unique tastes of 5 Czech beers (0.3 L) during visits to beer halls and a microbreweryin Old Town, Žižkov, and Vinohrady.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tours from Prague
This tour is a must for beer fans! Pilsen’s history is closely associated with beer. The light “lager beer” was “born” in Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech) during 1842 and became known as “pilsner.” It did not only become famous as a brand, but also as a type of beer. Since it was introduced to the beer world, pilsner has gained worldwide acclaim. During this tour you will not only visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery and taste the golden Pilsner Urquell beer, but you will also explore the Old Town section of Pilsen, which boasts the tallest cathedral in the country.
Krakonoš 665, Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic 353 01
In Boheminium Park are the most famous Czech monuments models, with emphasis on regional buildings - castles Plzen, Pilsen castles, towers Karlovy Vary region or border farms. At one point you can see the unique castle Karlštejn, Ještěd lookout tower, colonnade, fairytale castle Cervena Lhota and other miniatures Czech monuments. The best of the modeling can be found in Marienbad in the park Boheminium!
In April 2006, Czech Centres opened its new headquarters in Wenceslas Square, Prague. Czech Centres owns and curates its own galleries in Prague that are open to the general public at Rytířská 539/31.
Czech Centres (Czech: Česká centra) is an organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic consisting of offices in 22 countries throughout 3 continents. It was established for the promotion of the Czech Republic’s history, culture, language, tourism and trade abroad. It is considered an active instrument of foreign policy of the Czech Republic through public diplomacy. In 2015, Czech Centres enrolled 2,063 students in Czech language courses.
According to its 2012-2015 Strategic Report, the Czech Centres are tasked with the following activities:
- Promoting the Czech Republic abroad in cooperation with diplomatic missions.
- Facilitating participation in foreign projects for Czech entities and the development of international cooperation.
- Promoting Czech culture (such as the fine arts, architecture, design, fashion, film, music and literature).
- Providing support for external economic relations and developing Czech export opportunities.
- Cooperating with universities and institutions of education, science, research and innovation to promote the success of Czech research and development.
- Supporting teaching the Czech language abroad by running certified Czech language courses and exams.
- Promoting the Czech Republic as a tourist destination with a focus on regional presentations abroad.
The earliest preserved stone buildings in Bohemia and Moravia date back to the time of the Christianization in the 9th and 10th century. Since the Middle Ages, the Czech lands have been using the same architectural styles as most of Western and Central Europe. The oldest still standing churches were built in the Romanesque style (St. George's Basilica, St. Procopius Basilica in Třebíč). During the 13th century it was replaced by the Gothic style (Charles Bridge, Bethlehem Chapel, Old New Synagogue, Sedlec Ossuary, Old Town Hall with Prague astronomical clock, Church of Our Lady before Týn). In the 14th century Emperor Charles IV invited to his court in Prague talented architects from France and Germany, Matthias of Arras and Peter Parler (Karlštejn, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Barbara's Church in Kutná Hora). During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were built by the king and aristocracy, as well as many monasteries (Strahov Monastery, Špilberk, Křivoklát Castle, Vyšší Brod Monastery). During the Hussite wars, many of them were damaged or destroyed.
Royal Summer Palace in Prague considered the purest Renaissance architecture outside Italy The Renaissance style penetrated the Bohemian Crown in the late 15th century when the older Gothic style started to be slowly mixed with Renaissance elements (architects Matěj Rejsek, Benedikt Rejt and their Powder Tower). An outstanding example of the pure Renaissance architecture in Bohemia is the Royal Summer Palace, which was situated in a newly established garden of Prague Castle. Evidence of the general reception of the Renaissance in Bohemia, involving a massive influx of Italian architects, can be found in spacious châteaux with elegant arcade courtyards and geometrically arranged gardens (Litomyšl Castle, Hluboká Castle). Emphasis was placed on comfort, and buildings that were built for entertainment purposes also appeared.
In the 17th century, the Baroque style spread throughout the Crown of Bohemia. Very outstanding are the architectural projects of the Czech nobleman and imperial generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein from the 1620s (Wallenstein Palace). His architects Andrea Spezza and Giovanni Pieroni reflected the most recent Italian production and were very innovative at the same time. Czech Baroque architecture is considered to be a unique part of the European cultural heritage thanks to its extensiveness and extraordinariness (Kroměříž Castle, Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, St. Nicholas Church at Malá Strana, Karlova Koruna Chateau). In the first third of the 18th century the Bohemian lands were one of the leading artistic centers of the Baroque style. In Bohemia there was completed the development of the Radical Baroque style created in Italy by Francesco Borromini and Guarino Guarini in a very original way. Leading architects of the Bohemian Baroque were Jean-Baptiste Mathey, František Maxmilián Kaňka, Christoph Dientzenhofer, and his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.
In the 18th century Bohemia produced an architectural peculiarity – the Baroque Gothic style, a synthesis of the Gothic and Baroque styles. This was not a simple return to Gothic details, but rather an original Baroque transformation. The main representative and originator of this style was Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, who used this style in renovating medieval monastic buildings or in Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk.
During the 19th century, the revival architectural styles were very popular in the Bohemian monarchy. Many churches were restored to their presumed medieval appearance and there were constructed many new buildings in the Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles (National Theater, Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape, Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Brno). At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the new art style appeared in the Czech lands – Art Nouveau. The best-known representatives of Czech Art Nouveau architecture were Osvald Polívka, who designed the Municipal House in Prague, Josef Fanta, the architect of the Prague Main Railway Station, Jan Letzel, Josef Hoffmann and Jan Kotěra.
Bohemia contributed an unusual style to the world's architectural heritage when Czech architects attempted to transpose the Cubism of painting and sculpture into architecture (House of the Black Madonna). During the first years of the independent Czechoslovakia (after 1918), a specifically Czech architectural style, called Rondo-Cubism, came into existence. Together with the pre-war Czech Cubist architecture it is unparalleled elsewhere in the world. The first Czechoslovak president T. G. Masaryk invited the prominent Slovene architect Jože Plečnik to Prague, where he modernized the Castle and built some other buildings (Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord). Between World Wars I and II, Functionalism, with its sober, progressive forms, took over as the main architectural style in the newly established Czechoslovak Republic. In the city of Brno, one of the most impressive functionalist works has been preserved – Villa Tugendhat, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The most significant Czech architects of this era were Adolf Loos, Pavel Janák and Josef Gočár.
After World War II and the Communist coup in 1948, art in Czechoslovakia became strongly Soviet influenced. Hotel International in Prague is a brilliant example of the so-called Socialist realism, the Stalinistic art style of the 1950s. The Czechoslovak avant-garde artistic movement known as the Brussels style (named after the Brussels World's Fair Expo 58) became popular in the time of political liberalization of Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. Brutalism dominated in the 70s and 80s (Kotva Department Store). Even today, the Czech Republic is not shying away from the most modern trends of international architecture. This fact is attested to by a number of projects by world-renowned architects (Frank Gehry and his Dancing House, Jean Nouvel, Ricardo Bofill, and John Pawson). There are also contemporary Czech architects whose works can be found all over the world (Vlado Milunić, Eva Jiřičná, Jan Kaplický).
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