The start of day 2 in Prague
The second day in Prague began with the Astronomical Tower and the square surrounding it. We signed up for a free walking tour because we wanted to be able to see the city from a fresh perspective.
The meeting point was near the Astronomical Tower. As Prague is very crowded, whatever agency for the free walking tour you prefer, be sure to book in advance.
The free walking tour
The free walking tour was a real success as we got to know so many things about history, traditions, architecture and many stories about the landmarks.
The tour covered the Old Town Square and The Astronomical Clock, The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, The New Town and The Wenceslas Square, the Art Nouveau Municipal House, The Prague Castle and Saint Vitus’ Cathedral, a walk in the Jewish Quarter, visiting the Old New Synagogue. Also, we got to see Saint Nicolas Church, Jan Hus Statue, Charles’ Bridge, Estates Theatre and the Powder Tower.
We found out a lot of interesting facts about Prague’s history and how the landmarks were designed and built. I personally liked the explanation about the Astronomical Clock: it has a lot of story behind it and it’s actually so interesting getting to know what each piece of it represents.
The legend of James Cathedral
We were also told a legend about a thief who wanted to steal something from Saint Mary’s statue inside a church (James Cathedral) during the night, but the statue came to life and got this hand. In the morning, the people found the thief in the church and had to apply the punishment for stealing. And that was cutting his hand off. You can still see the thief’s hand hanging out of the ceiling in that church.
Other interesting things we discovered during the walking tour
Political and religious institutions in Prague have a very rich history. If any of you out there are fascinated by the past, you are in for a treat. It’s so much better to hear all the stories while you’re actually on the sites where everything took place than reading them from books. The defenestration and the revolution which took place in Wenceslas square are very important history lessons for the Czech Republic.
We also found out about the Jewish part of the city and how the Jewish people were treated in Prague.
Another highlight of the walking tour was learning of the numerous architectural styles that you can find in Prague. While I’m not at all an expert in architectural styles, I loved the fact that someone gave as the main traits to look out for in each building.
The rest of the day
The stories from the walking tour are sure to open your appetite for spending the rest of the day revisiting the places. The walking tour was such a great experience, but I must admit that because there are a lot of things to talk about and to see, you don’t get the chance to actually admire each and every point of interest.
That’s why we decided to go again to visit all the important landmark after a well-deserved lunch.
We went out again to see all the things that our guide told us about. We went again to Kafka’s statue and all the churches we previously visited. James Cathedral was the one that caught our attention. It’s also the cathedral with the thief’s hand. It’s located on the right (you can see the picture so that you don’t miss it)
We also took some time to visit the Jewish museums and places. We went to buy tickets for all the museums that were part of the Jewish Quarter. For us, it was an opportunity to learn more about the Jewish people.
We bought a combo ticket for the following:
- The Spanish Synagogue: here you’ll find a lot of documents about the way the Jews were treated and how they started to be part of the community and the rules they had to obey
- The Old-New Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue – this is the entrance to the Jews Cemetery
- The Ceremonial Hall – where you find out about some rituals about funerals
The last visit was Wenceslas Square, with the National Museum. By the time we visited Prague, it was closed for renovation so we only took a look from the outside. We also found a nice pub on the tram line and we couldn’t help ourselves not to go in there and have a beer.
The end of the day
We also went to see John Lennon’s Wall. It was very crazy back then because it was not such a popular landmark and not so many people knew about it. So we spent a lot of time figuring where to go.
In the end, we arrived there and even though it’s only a wall with graffiti on it, you can feel people’s need for freedom and peace. “Here comes the sun” was a message that we found on the wall (see the picture). It’s touching, I’m telling you.
The funny thing about this wall is the fact the Lenon never visited Prague.
Stay tuned for part 3 in Prague.