When you go on holiday with friends, I guess sometimes you can have reservations as to what it will be like spending full, whole days with each other. I can safely say the four days we spent in Prague as a foursome was SO much fun! We laughed, there was the odd dispute between each pair – such as ‘matchgate’ and predominately never having change when someone needed to spend a penny, we covered off everything we wanted to see that was open, ate great food, took way too many photos, walked about 35 miles and are already looking forward to our next Christmas market. I mean, Nathan and I are anyway, Ollie and Alex may tell you you otherwise 🤣….
Our last day saw us up and check out, being lucky enough to leave our bags in reception as we weren’t flying home until late that day. We headed in a different direction this time, down towards ‘Dancing House.’ It was a lovely walk all the way down the river.Beautiful coloured buildings lined the Vltava River and it was about half an hour before the Dancing House came into view. Named because of its whacky stature, and nicknamed ‘Fred and Ginger,’ after the iconic duo, this modern building doesn’t look at all out of place against its ageing counterparts. From here it was a short walk to the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror.Sadly for us again it was closed today so we weren’t able to go inside this amazing memorial. The exterior was impressive in itself however I can only envisage what the inside looked like. During WWII, the Nazis appointee Heydrich as the protector of Bohemia and Moravia. This was on the back of some aggressive strikes by the Czech which led to a serious crackdown by Heydrich. Britain was secretly training paratroopers to assassinate Heydrich and it succeeded in 1942. It only took two paratroopers to assassinate him. Needless to say the heroes fled but were betrayed of their hiding place and this is what is told within the memorial.We located the Church of Our Lady of the Snows next with its impressive precipice which looked incredibly intricate compared to its surroundings! Charles IV commissioned the church in the 14th century however it was never really fully finished, at least not to his idea of it being the grandest church in Prague! Just around the corner is the worlds only Cubist Lampost – a piece of art made from striated concrete. Worth a look if you’re in the area!Back in Wenceslas Square, we located a donut shop (we have done more than eat our way around Prague I swear!!) before re-locating Powder Gate and Municipal House. I say re-locating it because I only had a vague recollection of seeing it that night before….The exterior of municipal house is more intriguing than the inside and was only restored in the 1990s. Powder Gate sits next to it which dates back to the 1470s and is on the site of one of the original city gates. We actually missed the opportunity to climb up and see the view from the top! What were we thinking!The main attraction for the day before heading home would be the Jewish Quarter. We passed through the much quieter Old Town Square one last time before arriving at the ticket office. We opted for the short tour. Pinkas Synagogue was the first place we visited. Dating back to the 1530s this was a practicing place of worship until the 1940s. Nowadays, it is a moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. On the walls are inscribed the names, dates of birth and disappearance of the 77,297 Czech Jews during that time. There was an eerie silence as we walked around reflecting on the atrocities that occurred many decades ago. As we exited the synagogue we found ourselves in a cemetery of epic proportions. The Old Jewish Cemetery holds in excess of 12,000 tombstones and has to stop taking new burials as long ago at the 1780s. There may only be 12,000 tombstones but there are certainly more than that many people buried here. There are two types of burial monument with the oldest being a slab of wood and the tent shape that came later on. The so called ‘tents’ have the remains buried underground. It wasn’t until the 17th century that gravestones became more decorated and personalised to inform others of the name and date of the persons death. They even used symbols to illustrate characteristics and professions of those buried.We entered into ceremonial hall to try and understand Jewish traditions for things such as health and burials. We’d exited the first part of the Jewish Quarter and found ourselves in the Jewish Museum next. Founded in early 1900 as a base to preserve artefacts that needed a home as the quarter underwent renovation. Many of the synagogues house artefacts but a lot are stored in the museum. Scroll of Ecclesiastes (19th Century) Beginning of SabbathScroll of the TorahThe museum encompassed all sort of artefacts spanning life from birth to death, to circumcision, beliefs, the sabbath, religious artefacts and so much more. It was incredibly interesting with a lot to read and take in! On our way out we passed the Old New Synagogue but needed a different ticket to enter so we proceeded to the Spanish Synagogue. WOW!It may not look like much from the outside, however the inside will blow you away! The designers of the colourful interior were inspired by Arabic designs and you can see that essence coming through throughout the building.
Prague really has been a place where there’s been so much to see. In hindsight we probably should have checked the opening days of a few things but we were lucky enough to see everything on our list we set out to see. With one last jaunt back along the river, we picked up our bags and caught the Uber back to the airport. Prague – you have been wonderful.
Ollie and Alex – here’s to our next Christmas market adventure 🥂