The Czech Republic, only recently opened to the world from its long-time position behind the Iron Curtain, is rich in cultural and historical treasures. Its capital, Prague, has become a major tourist destination and has fomented the appreciation of Eastern Europe by travelers. Bohemia and Moravia, the major cultural regions of the country are blessed with other attractions besides the impressive capital city. See my choices for the seven wonders of the country below and then look for my photo album, soon to follow.
1. Prague Castle, Prague. One of the largest castles in the world, Prague Castle still holds the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The Romanesque Basilica of St George is the oldest building in the complex, dating to the 10th century. Construction on the huge, Gothic St Vitus Cathedral began in 1344. Ir dominates the skyline of the Castle District of the city and can be seen for miles. An interesting section of the castle complex, known as Golden Lane, contained the tiny, colorful residences of the workers.
2. Chateau & Castle, Cesky Krumlov. The second largest castle in the Czech Republic can be found in the small town of Cesky Krumlov, in the southern part of the country. Most of the buildings in the complex date to the 14th century. Perhaps the most interesting structure in the castle is its Baroque theater, complete with its original stage machinery, scenery and props.
3. Karlstejn Castle, just west of Prague. This large, Gothic castle, just a few miles southwest of Prague, was built in the mid-14th century and, for many years, held the Czech coronation jewels. It is popular with tourists who appreciate its setting and its artwork.
4. Old Town Square, Prague. This glorious complex of buildings creates one of the most elegant and distinctive squares in all of Europe. From the Gothic Tyn Church to the Baroque St Nicholas Church to the Astronomical Clock (check out the walk of the Apostles each hour), there are numerous sights to interest the tourist. There are also many places to relax, have a cup of coffee or a beer and people-watch.
5. Chateau, Litomysl. This large and prominent Renaissance-style mansion dates to the mid-16th century. The exquisite interior draws travelers from all over the world.
6. Charles Bridge, Prague. This cultural and physical landmark of Prague connects the Old (Lower) Town with the Upper Town, which contains the Castle District. Construction was begun on the bridge in the mid-1300’s and its Gothic towers make it prominent and distinctive. Its span is lined with statues
7. Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora. This church, begun in the late-14th century, is one of the most famous in Central Europe. Its five naves are distinctive, as is its exterior. Another unusual feature of the bridge is the presence of thirty statues lining its span, dedicated to various saints.
Other sites considered:
Konopiste Chateau, southeast of Prague.
Municipal House, Prague
Astronomical Clock, Prague
St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Zamec (Castle), Telc.