The Czech Republic – Castles, Cathedrals, Monasteries and Marionettes

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The Czech Republic in Central Europe offers significant tourist destinations and is among the most visited countries in Europe. People from around the world are attracted to the country’s architectural heritage, spa towns, historical exhibits, puppet festivals and cultural places. The country is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the north and Slovakia to the east.
The Czech Republic is famous for its marionettes exhibitions and puppet festivals. Each year, there are several puppet festivals throughout the country, such as One flew over a puppeteers nest in Prague each year during the month of November, presenting Czech professional and amateur puppet performances.
Other marionette exhibitions and puppet shows include Skupa Plzen at the Alfa Theatre in Plzen; Festival Materinka at Naive theatre in Liberec in late June; European Theatre Festival in Hradec Kralove; Dite v Dlouha at the Dlouha theatre in Prague and an international exhibition of scene design and theatre architecture at Prague Quadrienniel. Great puppetry can also be seen at the DRAK Theatre in Hradec Kralove, the Minor Theatre in Prague, Puppet Theatre Radost in Brno, Lampion Theatre in Kladno, Loutek Theatre in Ostrava and Rozmanitosti Theatre in Most.

The City of Prague

The City of Prague

Prague is the capital city of the country and the sixth most visited city in Europe. The city lies on the banks of the Vlatava River and is situated in the center of the Bohemian Basin. Prague is the cultural center of the Czech Republic and home to hundreds of music clubs, concert halls and galleries. Some of the most famous cultural centers include the Estates Theatre, National Theatre, the Rudolfinum, Smetana Theater and the Municipal House. The National Gallery in Prague boasts a large collection of international and Czech sculptures and paintings.
Prague is divided into numbered districts from Praha 1 to Praha 10. The old system of numbered districts is used on street signs throughout the city. Praha 1 and Praha 2 are the oldest districts of the city and home to several historic areas. Some of the noteworthy historical and modern places to visit in Prague include:
• Josefov – the Jewish ghetto in Praha 1
• The Astronomical Clock or Orloj on Old Town City Hall
• Strahov Monastery, an old Czech premonstratensian (religious order) abbey founded in 1149. The monastery is well-known for its Renaissance library
• Prague Dancing House – The Vlado Milunic’s and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House is fascinating building accessible from Karlovo náměstí metro station.
• The Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church at George of Poděbrady Square – Jiřího z Poděbrad
• Žižkov Television Tower featuring sculptures of crawling babies
• The Emmaus monastery and WW Memorial at Palacky Square – Palackého náměstí
• Charles Square, the largest medieval square in Europe
• Old Town Square – Staroměstské náměstí – popular for its baroque and gothic architectural styles
• Prague Castle with the St. Vitus Cathedral – The castle is the biggest ancient castle in the world. The cathedral is situated on the same site and home to the Czech Crown Jewels.
• The Franz Kafka Museum
• The art nouveau Municipal House – The concert hall is famous for its Art Nouveau architectural style
• The Prague Metronome at Letná Park, an amazing and functional metronome that watches over the city
• Industrial Palace – Průmyslový palác – Křižík’s Light fountain – Experience the Lunapark amusement park and Sea World Aquarium in Výstaviště.
• Prague Zoo in Troja – Forbes magazine selected the zoo as one of the best in the world
• Charles Bridge connects Lesser Town with Old Town. Lesser Town is across the Vltava River from the city and leads to the castle. The bridge was constructed in the 14th century. The Lennon Wall is in close proximity to the bridge.
• Ensure to visit Anděl to explore the shopping mall and modern architecture
• The neo-Gothic Church of St. Ludmila at Náměstí Míru (Peace Square) in Vinohrady
• Visit Stiassny’s Jubilee Synagogue – the largest in Prague
Prague is home to many breweries including Pivovarský Hotel U Medvídků (Praha 1), Klášterní pivovar Strahov (Praha 1), Pivovar U Fleků (Praha 1), První novoměstský restaurační pivovar (Praha 1), Pivovar Pražský most u Valšů (Praha 1), Pivovarský dům (Praha 2), Sousedský pivovar U Bansethů (Praha 4), Jihoměstský pivovar (Praha 4), Pivovary Staropramen (Praha 5) and Pivovar U Bulovky (Praha 8).
Czech Beer Festival

Czech Beer Festival

The country is well-known for its seventeen days long Czech Beer Festival where you can taste more than seventy of the best quality beers from the Czech breweries and traditional food from top Czech chefs. Beer is served in traditional Czech costumes. You can contact the offices for more information about the Český pivní festival at phone number +420 224 214 775. Visitors use a special currency, the Tolar, to pay for food and beer at the festival.
Travelling Around Prague Area
Orlik is approximately 85 kilometers from Prague. Ensure to visit the Zvikov castle near the Orlik dam. Český Ráj is an hour’s drive from the city, where you can explore the hiking trails through the forests.
The Karlštejn Castle
4 karlstejnThe Karlštejn castle and the holy cave monastery are in close proximity to Prague. You can visit the castle and go on a hiking trip to the monastery. Vysočina lies halfway between Brno and Prague and the mountainous area is perfect for hiking. If you like horse riding, then Novosedly Na Moravě is an amazing place for a horseback trip through the vineyards of Moravia. You can also visit Kutná Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs (decorated with 40,000 human skulls) and the Saint Barbara Church.
Czech Cuisine
Lunch is traditionally the main meal in the Czech Republic and is marked by a strong emphasis on meat dishes. Rabbit, duck and goose are often served. Pork is quite common, although chicken and beef are also popular.
Chicken, beef and vegetable soup are commonly found in restaurants and are usually served with nutmeg or liver dumplings. Home cooked soups are often cooked with lentils, peas or beans. The very popular Bramboračka, or potato soup, contains onion, carrot, potatoes, celeriac, root parsley, garlic, marjoram and garlic.
Pork offal is referred to as Jitmice. The dish is typically made from the liver, spleen and neck.
Svickova-vojanuv-dvur – Sirloin beef in cream and dumplings
5 svickova-vojanuv-dvur sirloin beef in cream and dumplings - traditional Czech recipeSvickova-vojanuv-dvur sirloin beef in cream and dumplings is a traditional Czech recipe and popular among the locals. Other dishes commonly found in the country are Jelito – a pork sausage made from minced meat, Ovar – a dish made from fatty pork meat and Klobása – a smoked meat sausage containing barley and pork blood.
Traditional Czech dishes commonly available in restaurants include Sekaná pečeně (baked minced meat), Guláš (beef or pork with onions), Řízek (sliced chicken, calf or pork), Karbanátek (beef or pork burger), pečené vepřové s knedlíky a se zelím (cabbage, roast pork with dumplings) and uzené (smoked meat and spinach served with potato dumplings. Strawberries, plums and apricots are often used to make fruit dumplings and are sometimes eaten as a main dish.
The Triton Restaurant at Wenceslas Square in Prague boasts a unique interior that is designed to resemble a cave. The food is great and the ambiance is relaxed and pleasant. For an exciting night out, you should try the Medieval Tavern in the Old Town. The tavern offers hearty food, entertainment and drinks included. For good, traditional Czech food, you can visit the historical Kolkovna Restaurant in V Kolkovna 8, Old Town Prague. The Lvi Dvur Restaurant is located in the beautiful Royal Gardens behind the Prague Castle, and offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere with Czech and International cuisine.
Entering the Czech Republic
Where a visa is required to visit Prague, for a stay of up to 90 days you will need to apply for a Schengen (short-term) visa. Visas are not available at border crossings or at Prague Airport. If you require a visa and arrive without one, you will be refused entry to the Czech Republic. Travelers with a visa must register with the police within 3 working days of arrival.

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