WHEN YOU GO:
Prague, Czech Republic
|Getting There: The best way to travel to Prague is via train from Germany or Austria. Train connections are available from Munich, Berlin, and Vienna, as well as Amsterdam, Paris, and Zurich. If you are using a Eurailpass, Europass, or German railpass, you will need to purchase tickets for travel from the Czech border to and from Prague. Do this at the city of your departure, explaining at the station that you have a ticket that covers you to the border. Alternatively, you can purchase a Czech Prague Out pass, which provides passage into and out of Prague from any border station in neighboring countries. The journey in and out must be completed within one week for this pass. The pass is sold by EurAide, tel. 630/42-02343. Train Web links are listed in this magazines Trains page. Airline Web links are listed in this magazine's Airlines page.|
You will find that it is not necessary or convenient to rent an automobile in Prague. Prague has a convenient Metro, tram, and the main sites of the Old Town, Little Town, Prague Castle, and Wenceslas Square are all within a 1-1/2 mile area, convenient for walking.
There are a variety of accommodations near the center of Prague. The price range is generally $100-$200 per night, although less expensive alternatives are available. Rick Steves Germany, Austria, & Switzerland includes an excellent chapter on Prague, including good-value lodging, dining, walking tours, and sights. This and other appropriate guidebooks are available through the amazon.com ad link below. The Novomestsky Hotel at Reznicka 4, is a reasonably priced, basic hotel approximately 1/2 mile from Old Town Square for approximately $100/night.
Prague Castle was started in the 9th century and came under control of the German Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century. Prague's Golden Age was the 14th century. Jan Hus was a rebel against Catholic Church corruption in the 15th century. He was tried for heresy and executed in 1415, becoming a symbol of Czech nationalism for his Hussite followers. Religious wars ensued, followed by subjugation by Austria for more than 300 years. It was not until the end of WWI that the independent country of Czechoslovakia was born. However, the Nazis assumed control in 1939, followed by the Russians at the end of WWII. Today, ten years after the successful 1989 bloodless revolution resulting in a liberated Czech Republic, the economy is growing and the democracy is strong.
Prague is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. No place in Europe has become so popular so quickly. Prague is the only major city of Central Europe to escape the bombs of WWII. It's Gothic and Baroque architecture is well preserved. The profusion of inexpensive classical music venues is unparalleled in all Europe. Low prices for food, drink, and entertainment are very attractive. The currency, the Czech Koruna, has an exchange rate of approximately 33 Kc to $ 1.00 U.S.
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