By Valerii Tkachenko (Prague|city|landscape|sunrise) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons By Zlobr 007 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons By Valerii Tkachenko (Prague cityscape at dusk) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Czech Republic · Prague
Prague (Czech: Praha), City of a Hundred Spires, a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is the equal of Paris in terms of beauty. Its history goes back a millennium. And the beer? The best in Europe.
It is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. The city’s historic buildings and narrow, winding streets are testament to its centuries-old role as capital of the historic region of Bohemia. Prague lies on the banks of the beautiful, meandering Vltava River that reflects the city’s golden spires and 9th century castle that dominates the skyline.
This historic atmosphere is combined with a certain quirkiness that embraces the entire city. From the Museum of Czech Cubism to the technicolor Jubilee Synagogue; the castle to the river, Prague is a bohemian capital in every sense.
The best beer in the world just got better. Since the invention of Pilsner Urquell in 1842, the Czechs have been famous for producing some of the world’s finest brews. But the internationally famous brand names – Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar – have been equalled, and even surpassed, by a bunch of regional Czech beers and microbreweries that are catering to a renewed interest in traditional brewing. Never before have Prague’s pubs offered such a wide range of ales – names you will now have to get your head around include Kout na Šumavě, Svijanský Rytíř and Velkopopovický Kozel.
Prague’s intact medieval Old Town connects to an equally well-preserved Lesser Quarter by way of a 14th-century stone bridge—all brooded over by a castle that is part Disneyland and part Franz Kafka. In the 1989 Velvet Revolution, this “city of 100 spires” (more like 500) awoke like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle in the heart of Europe—shrugging off decades of slumber under first the Nazis and then the Communists and, centuries before that, the Habsburgs. Prague drips with history, but it is hardly a museum piece. The booming tourist industry has fed a revival of the city’s arts and museums, and made its hotels and restaurants the envy of Central Europe.