I had not heard a single negative thing about Prague before arriving – most of the travelers I had encountered prior had preached about how amazing of a city it is. This had my expectations sky-high for the Czech city, which I hereby declare the Interstellar Mistake (Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey, Hans Zimmer, reality-based space sci-fi… how could it have not been the best film of all time?!) When I only get to visit a place for a few days, my entire perception of it is largely dependent on the weather while I’m there (Ireland is beautifully sunny and warm, in case you were unaware). Unfortunately for me, my visit to Prague was accompanied by clouds, rain, and cold weather.
That said, it still is architecturally a magnificent place, thanks partially to it not being blown up by war. After all the historically significant, gigantic, celebrated churches I’ve seen over the past three months, the Gothic churches of Prague are far and away my favorite. The charred-looking stone and ridiculously intricate gold and black ornamentation stand out prominently above the other buildings of the city. The largest of these, St. Vitus Cathedral, sits in the middle of the Prague castle on the top of a hill overlooking the Vltava river. The castle itself is a pretty well protected peek into the past, with the palace, churches, shops, and residencies that once inhabited the space within the castle walls.
Another thing Prague does do well is public / street art. This is also most definitely in response to Soviet rule of the city. One particular space called the “Lennon Wall” celebrates the freedom to write anything on a public wall without an authority covering it up. Every day, hundreds of people come by and paint their own drawings and words on the wall, which is now feet thicker due to so many coats of paint. Beyond this street art, there are many humorous statues with implied political meaning, such as giant bronze babies with barcodes instead of faces, and two men urinating in a pool shaped as the Czech Republic. I don’t exactly remember the point of that one, but it’s funny nonetheless. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to return to Prague under clearer weather and lower expectations, and be able to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the place.