Although it doesn’t get as much attention as other European cities like London and Rome, Prague is still worthy of being a dream destination. Some say that the city is as beautiful as Paris, with its many landmarks that are a testament to its rich history.
Prague is actually known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, and was once the seat of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the favourite home of many Holy Roman Emperors. It was also an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Fortunate to be spared from most of WWII’s bombings, many of Prague’s old structures remain intact to this day. The city also boasts contemporary and Modernist additions.
As you can probably derive from its colourful culture, Prague is home to a myriad of architectural styles that date back to the 10th century. Passion Passport enumerates the different architecture designs that have flourished in Prague, such as Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and Cubism.
It’s difficult to list down all of Prague’s beautiful landmarks, but we’ll try our best to discuss the most notable ones.
A prime example of Art Nouveau, the Municipal House is hard to miss with its iconic mosaic over the entrance. Before the place was constructed, the local council actually ran an architectural competition for the building’s design. The competition dragged on for two rounds, but the council remained undecided. They eventually awarded the job to architects Osvald Polívka and Antonín Balšánek. The place was opened in 1912 and has since then served as a venue for concerts and other performances. You can spot all the Art Nouveau design touches even in the interiors: stained glass, statues, and mosaics.
The National Theatre is Prague’s 19th century marvel and has proven to be resilient despite a disaster. The Culture Trip specified that the structure was damaged by a fire in 1881, but was reconstructed and reopened after two years. Its exquisite architecture is an example of the Renaissance Revival architecture, which is characterized by typical Renaissance architecture features but with variations derived from Italian styles. Today, the theatre hosts high profile ballet, opera, and drama performances.
Prague Castle attracts over 1.8 million visitors annually, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. PartyPoker states that Prague Castle is also the world’s largest ancient castle, covering a total area of 18 acres. Several historical buildings encompass the entire structure, including the Basilica of St. George and the St. Vitus Cathedral. When it comes to architectural style, both structures feature designs from different eras. The Basilica of St. George was founded in 920 and is one of the living examples of Romanesque architecture. St. Vitus, meanwhile, stands tall with its pointed spires, which is an iconic element in Gothic architecture.
The Nationale-Nederlanden building looks like something out of a dream. It’s a surreal attraction that truly stands out among Prague’s many Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau buidlings. Travel Zom cites some details about the Dancing House’s background, stating that it was built in 1996 by architects Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic. The structure features a Deconstructivist design, with its curved shapes and unaligned windows. The overall look portrays a building that seems to be in motion, hence its nickname, “Dancing House”.
Note: This post was written in collaboration with Daniel Cole.