For Mucha Lovers From Prague With Love

The end of 2016 meant not only the end of the year but also the end of one whole chapter – the exhibition of the Slavic Epic by Alphonse Mucha in the Prague National Gallery, which was launched in 2012. Large size paintings are making their journey to the far away Japan right now. They will be available for visitors in Tokio between March and June 2017. During the whole time of the exhibition in Prague, a total of 380 000 people paid a visit to the Slavic Epic. 

For people like me, who like to boast about any world-known artist with a feeling, as if the genius belonged to our own child, the temporary removal of Slavic Epic exhibition is a highly tragic event. However it is important to keep in mind, that for Mucha lovers, Prague has still plenty to offer!

If you want to admire Mucha’s works, there are several places which are a must visit in Prague for you!

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While being immersed in deep prayers in the St. Vitus Cathedral of the Prague Castle, one of the major Prague tourist attractions, your spiritual experience (somewhat obscured by a huge portion of duck with dumplings and sauerkraut accompanied by Pilsner bier which you consumed just now in one of the many local pubs) can be deepened by the very look at the glass window designed by Alphonse Mucha between the years 1928-1930, depicting the dawn of Christianity in Czech lands. The window became one of the most popular artifacts in the Cathedral. But don´t let your spiritual experience to get spoiled by the potential tour guides in your surroundings having a Prague castle tour, telling people something about murders- that is probably only our first baptized duchess Ludmila killing her daughter Drahomíra, or maybe Ludmila’s grandson king Václav being killed by his younger brother. We all have our little faults!

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Stained-glass Window by Mucha at St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

For those of you who would rather prefer traveling to the past instead of prayers, there is Alphonse Mucha museum in the city centre. You can even book a guided tour there (at least a week ahead). You can find there most importantly the exhibition of Mucha’s works from his Paris period. This period was the one, when Alfonse Mucha became famous artist for the first time. It was for his posters painted for a theater star Sarah Bernhardt. While admiring the works of “the king of art nouveau” there is one important detail to keep in mind. Mucha wasn´t one of those who would create their art works under the motivation in form of golden coins in their pockets and would blindly follow the customs or trends of that time.  High art was available only for the richest people and therefore the highest esthetic experience of an average citizen at that time was probably the entrance sign of the factory gate, where he or she worked. Commercial posters were conventionally without any taste and kitschy (from my own experience I must admit, that for attention drawing it really works well). Mucha however, as one of the first people created posters as artistic works and the time he spent with creating them was also no different from a real painting. In this way he gave the opportunity for common people to enjoy art on the street, the kind of art for which you had to spend astronomical sums of money in that time. Some people might call this casting pearls before swine, but I am on the opposite delighted that thanks to people like Mucha, I can visit my favourite exhibition in the 21. century, because even the world leading authorities have realized, that even though a human being is only a mere workforce for them, catalyzing economic growth, in order to boost their productivity and ensure their compliance, it is necessary to fulfill their psychological needs, which were scientifically proven to exist.

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Back to Mucha though. Another aspect of this extraordinary artist was his nationalism. The proof for his love of motherland is not only the Slavic Epic (he created it for 24 years), but also the decoration of the Mayor room in the Municipal house. The Municipal house was built in the year 1912. It was one of the most important buildings for the Czech nationalist movement. For the decoration of the Mayor room Mucha didn´t accept any monetary reward, as a sign of solidarity with Czech artists. In that time in most of the public places in Czech the only language was German as we were part of Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Czech language started to fade. The Municipal house was therefore intended as a gathering place for Czech artists and all performances were conducted only in Czech language. The Municipal house played also an important role in our independence. In the year 1918 the independent Czechosklovakia was announced by our first president Tomáš Garrique Masaryk from the balcony of the Municipal house and with that event, Czech became an independent state after almost 400 years.

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The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha

It was no coincidence that it was the Municipal house where our independent state was announced. In the place of the house used to stand the Royal palace, where the last king of Czech origin- Jiří z Poděbrad use to rule in the 15th century, not long before Czech lands became part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. In the Municipal house decorated wholly in art nouveau style, you can enjoy the magic atmosphere of local restaurant or visit the most prominent classical music concerts in the Smetana hall of the first floor.

Smetana Hall, at the Municipal House, Prague
Smetana Hall, at the Municipal House, Prague

However even the missing Slavic Epic doesn´t leave the womb of Prague for too long. Already now the city authorities are searching for a place to exhibit Slavic Epic after its return form world tour. After all Mucha also returned to Prague in the end after his stay in France and America. It is in the human nature to thrive for exploring new worlds and broadening horizons during long journeys to tropical lands with the feeling of courageous missionary gaining spiritual knowledge. However it is only after I return home and see hundreds of cute towers under the curtain of tender mist that I realize that no matter what adventure I experience, no matter what place I go, there will always be plenty of fun things to do in Prague!

New Year’s Eve Prague Guide

Prague is a popular tourist destination to celebrate the New Year’s Eve. Prague in December is animated by colourful lights and decorations, while bars and restaurants are filled with people. Prague is well known for its lively nightlife throughout the whole year and all the more so on the New Year’s Eve!

If you are a gourmet looking for something special on this day, we recommend welcoming the New Year from the Žižkov Tower. The TV transmitter constructed between 1985 and 1992 is the highest building in Prague. Today, it serves as a luxury restaurant, café, bar and a one-room hotel. At 93 metres above the ground, you may enjoy wine degustation, molecular drinks mix, a delicious buffet and music programme. At midnight, you will watch the fireworks cover the whole city from the restaurant windows. Price: 149 EUR/person.

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If you’d rather spend the New Year’s Eve in the heart of a pulsating city but still be surrounded by greenery, visit Prague and the Žofín Garden Restaurant. Located on the Slovanský Island in the middle of the Vltava River, its programme for the last evening of 2016 takes place in the neo-renaissance Žofín Palace surrounded by a park, an oasis of peace and calm in the middle of the city. The New Year’s Eve’s theme this year is CASINO, so a mobile casino will be opened the whole night. With the services of a professional croupier, the night promises a lot of fun without the risk of losing any money. You may also look forward to a music programme, carefully selected buffet menus, a welcome drink and a midnight toast. Price: 149 EUR/person.

photo: http://www.slovansky-ostrov.cz
photo: http://www.slovansky-ostrov.cz

Would you like to spend the New Year’s Eve in the city but instead of restaurants, bars and clubs, you are looking for a less conventional public space to fully take in the magic of the metropolis with your closest friends and family? Then we’ve got another tip for you!

The functionalistic National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill covered by a large park in the very centre of the city offers a unique view on the whole of Prague with all the major monuments. The memorial was built in 1929-1933 and the bronze equestrian statue of Jan Žižka on the top of the Vítkov Hill is the third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world. You will hardly find a better view on the New Year’s Eve’s sky in Prague than this one.

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You may also celebrate the New Year from onboard a ship on the Vltava River. During the cruise, you will see all the Prague monuments beautifully lit at night and listen to a live jazz band. The voyage is a perfect opportunity to see the city from a different perspective. Price: 20-130 EUR (buffet and music included).

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Whatever your choice of party on your holiday in Prague, be it cheap or expensive, intimate or wild, the Czech capital is the place to be at the very start of 2017.

Touch enlightened official and get your wish come true before Christmas!

There are countless mysterious, romantic and culturally enlightening places in Prague an adventurous tourist would probably be eager to know about. Yet as we all know the darkest place is under the candle, and inspired by this knowledge I will lead your steps along hundreds of other visitors to the good old Charles Bridge.

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The Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in town (the foundation stone being laid in 1357) and another proof that Czech people just can´t stop thinking about carnal pleasures even during bridge building. As a result of this it is said that the bridge contains also eggs and milk. The naive expectation of having a peaceful walk on the Charles Bridge, enjoying fully the historical atmosphere of a small Eastern European town someone might perhaps hold, will be probably not fulfilled only unless ceaseless crowds are on your ideal romantic experience list. However for those introverted you, who got cold feet just now, please don´t get too dispirited by my heartless remarks.  The magical atmosphere of this place, which feels new and different even during 500th visit, totally overshadows the fear that the almost 700 years old bridge might collapse every second under the attack of eager tourists. But it is exactly the beauty of the place which makes most of the tourists indulge in mindless awe, leaving them often unaware of the most interesting spot of the whole bridge – the tiny statue of John of Nepomuk hiding between a golden grid in the middle of the bridge wall.

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This is the time when I get superstitious and having thousands of wishes in my head in the time of Christmas, when we should think of our neighbours, I pick up the most useless and selfish one, approach the statue and try to suppress the knowledge of the true identity of the depicted saint into my deepest levels of subconsciousness.  Yet I am prepared to make a journey into my subconscious again in order to shed light on this little tragic comedy story.

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According to the legend, five stars emerged on the surface of Vltava River (the one flowing under your feet while standing on the bridge) in the 17th century. (Hint: it was right after the end of 30 years war, when 85% of people in Czech lands were Protestants and all of them had to either emigrate or convert to Catholicism… what an interesting coincidence!). People saw the emergence as a sign from heaven and dived into the water. To their astonishment, they found the skull and bones of the 14th century priest John of Nepomuk right there! And what more, his tongue was still preserved! (Well it is actually quite difficult for modern capitalist creatures to imagine such an excitement over few bones with no apparent business utility, but just you wait!). John Nepomuk was said to have served as the personal priest of the kings Wenceslaus IV wife Žofie. He enjoyed her full trust and thus she told him all her personal secrets. Unfortunately the king became afraid, that he might have “parohy” (horns, in Czech language having horns means to be cheated on by wife, I am sure she wasn´t the only one for him either though). He wanted John to reveal everything she entrusted to him during confessions. John however being a decent priest refused to break the seal of confession even during torture and was eventually executed by throwing into the Vltava River.  And because this miracle he was canonized and proclaimed a saint. According to the legend when you touch the five stars around his head with your right hand and five stars of the cross below with your left hand, John of Nepomuk being able to return to Prague again after his death (even if in the form of bones) can help you to return to Prague again also. Or just fulfill some of your wishes.

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While being a bit reluctant of destroying the mystical curtain of John of Nepomuk’s holiness and revealing his true identity, I realized that in today’s world we don´t fall victim to the presumption, that a hero or icon must necessary be moral, or even can be moral, since we are all just human beings, having our cute little flaws.

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John of Nepomuk while indeed having lived in the 14th century and served the king Wenceslaus IV, he wasn´t a mere priest but the vicar general of the Prague archbishop. It was because of the fact, that John threatened the power of the king with his intrigues and rising power that the king decided to get rid of him and his bones ended in the depths of Vltava River. After the end of the 30 years war however, there was an urgent need for some catholic saints in Czech lands (how sad) and his newly by chance discovered bones were a great opportunity to trick the people.

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So please, when you make your trip to Prague and see the beautiful scenery of this city from the Charles Bridge for the first time in your life (envy you), spend a thought about Czech history and appreciate the creativity and narrative genius of our ancestors. Touch the statue of John of Nepomuk and make a wish (and at the same time please avoid the unpleasant feeling that the society actually didn’t change that much over the centuries).  I am sure that a vicar general who has made it to a saint is surely powerful enough to make it come true!

Hello Steak, Nice to MEAT You!

My fellow gourmands, this time, I must apologize to all the vegetarians among you, but you might want to avert your eyes. I previously talked about finding food for a fair price and will do so again today; you‘ll just need to dig a little deeper in your pockets. So let’s talk steak. 

I don’t think that it needs mentioning that the best is to look for places where you can choose your cut, where they follow your wishes and make you feel divine. One of those places is Naše Maso (“our meat”) which is a small butcher‘s shop where you can find EVERYTHING, and if they do not have what you are looking for at that moment, they will do their best accommodate you and order it. I cannot recall any better customer service at a butcher‘s shop than here.

image credits / www.michaelatomiskova.com

For a fee you can have your cut of meat prepared right there and you can likewise enjoy a burger or pastrami from their daily menu. The only disadvantage is that they do not have many places for seating and the place always seems to be at peak capacity. Yet they have a solution for that too. Every evening, after they close the shop, they have something called “večeře u řezníka” (dinner at the butcher‘s), where for 1000 CZK (excluding drinks) you can sample some of their best dishes. There are only 6 seats at the table available and I recommend reserving with a bunch of your closest friends for maximum enjoyment.

image credits / www.tasteofprague.com
image credits / www.tasteofprague.com

Furthermore, when speaking of Naše maso, we should note it is a member of the Ambiente group, which has a diverse repertoire of restaurants, all of which have the same amazing standard in meat. For steaks I recommend the specialized Čestr (abbreviation for Czech mottled cattle) or Brasilero which offers Churrasco rodízio, both of which are members of this group.

image credits / http://cestr.ambi.cz
image credits / http://cestr.ambi.cz

Moving on to their biggest rival and, in my opinion, the second best choice is The Real Meat Society. The meat here is more accessible with slightly friendlier prices. They also have their own signature butcher‘s shop with a “restaurant” called Maso a Kobliha (“Meat and doughnut”), however, with stronger stress on the doughnut! Don’t get me wrong, their meat is beyond delicious, but their lamb is preferable to their good old beef steak.

image credits / www.masoakobliha.cz
image credits / www.masoakobliha.cz

Last but not least, we have George Prime Steak. Personally, this is a one time experience unless you you have a soft spot for snobbery and the expensive atmosphere. They claim to give you the best dry-aged steak in Prague, but it‘s up to you if you to believe them. Their prices are definitely worth the glory served on your plate, and if you are celebrating a life milestone, this is the place to go. However, that does not necessarily mean comparable steaks cannot be achieved at home.

image credits / http://georgeprimesteak.com
image credits / http://georgeprimesteak.com

Though you can have a steak in almost any restaurant in Prague, if you are a true bon vivant, you’ll appreciate a little hint where to find something refreshingly different to the usual beef on your plate.

Christmas tree light up in Prague will be special again!

There is one event, which all citizens of Prague truly love. Not even they get out of their warm and comfortable homes, but they will take their whole families just to see it. I’m talking about a traditional light up of a Christmas tree at Old Town Square in Prague.

The tree is going to be first lit up on 26th November at 17:30 and is going to be 31 meters tall and its age is estimated at around 70 years. If you can’t make it on time, don’t worry, because this is not the only time the Christmas tree is going to be lit up this year.

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In the past few years, the city of Prague, has been concerned about terrorist attracts and it changed its concept about lighting up the tree, which makes it even better for tourist who want to see it. Two years ago, there was one big event when the Christmas tree was lit up at a certain hour on a certain day. In the new concept the tree is going to be lit up every hour between 17:30 and 20:30 until 6th January. As a citizen of Prague, I do not really understand why the authorities are so concerned about terrorist attacks, but new era requires better precautions, so we all are going to be safe and sound.

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As a spectator, you might get cold while watching the Christmas tree being lit up. I’m mentioning this, because the tree is literally surrounded by traditional Czech Christmas market and you could help yourself with some warm mulled wine, tea or punch. My personal favourite is warmed almond mead. But the alcohol is not all what Christmas market offers. You could buy yourself a nicely decorated gingerbread or a handmade Christmas tree decorations and baubles.

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It is important that Christmas market have got something for everybody, including the music fans. Every year, there is a stage by the Christmas tree where children choirs and various musicians perform Czech Christmas carols. You might hear carols like Good King Wenceslas. Even though this is English Christmas carol, the story is linked to Czech saint Wenceslas I. from 9th century.

Vanocni trhy 2006 - If someone read this, write me e-mail

There is another tradition you might love to see as well. Celebration of Saint Nicolaus day. This happens on 5th of December. People will get dressed up as devils, angels and Saint Nicolauses and on the evening they will head into the city centre of Prague as a triplet. The idea behind is to scare little kids. If the kid was not behaving well all year long and it was annoying its parents, then they might pass it to the devil, who puts them into massive sack and take it to the hell with him. There is also possibility that kid was good and in that case, the kid will receive some sweets from angel and Saint Nicolaus. I do remember being so scared as a kid as I never was good all year long.

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I hope you are going to embrace idea of Chrismassy Prague and you’ll add it onto your travel list. In case you would like to learn more about Prague, book a tour with Think Prague and we’ll make sure you have the best possible experience.

5 Home style cooking places in Prague you need to go right now

We all know those expensive restaurants all around the world that offer something “special”. Consider, for instance, molecular cuisine: no one is exactly sure what you are eating and you end up with a slice of bread with a tiny bit of infused butter that will mesmerize your taste buds but you will also have to dig deep into your pocket. So are there places where you can eat well, not spend a fortune and still truly enjoy that little something on your plate? The answer is YES! Fortunately, trends in modern cuisine are changing and places offering “home style cooking” are on the rise.

Let’s start with the basics: soups

With the onset of low temperatures and rainy days, sometimes associated with depression resulting from short days with little sunlight, many of us start craving soups. Well, at least in my case. The soup restaurant Polévkárna paní Mančo is one of the places to visit if you’re a soup lover. Their daily menu includes thick soups as well as broths to warm you up and keep you well hydrated. Each soup is special and cooked with love, which is something I found very refreshing.

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photo: www.polevkarnamanco.cz

Bistros Home Kitchen also offer very good soups. There are four of them in Prague and they change their soup menu every week. You can either order a small soup as a starter before the main course or a big one, which will do as a whole lunch. From time to time, they also offer the typical Czech meal called “Buchtičky se šodó” (small cakes with custard), which I highly recommend.

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photo: www.homekitchen.cz

Moving on to restaurants…

The beautiful restaurant Osteria da Clara, though a bit further from the city centre, is definitely worth the short tram ride. There are very few places that offer authentic Italian cuisine. Don’t get discouraged by their website because none of us is perfect and I value that they know what they’re doing in the kitchen rather than their IT skills. In my experience, they have fresh fish on to menu at least three times a week and you can also treat yourself to great spaghetti, delicious soups or the finest panna cotta. Unsurprisingly, they also serve great wine and coffee.

photo: www.daclara.com
photo: www.daclara.com

…And finishing off by desserts and coffee

My favourite cafe in Prague is the newly opened Kavárna co hledá jméno (“café looking for a name”). Located in a reconstructed factory building, the place has a unique atmosphere. I wouldn’t really recommend going there to work unless you’re a Mac owner as it seems to be some kind of a secret code to fit in. Be that as it may, their coffee is absolutely fantastic and they offer a different kind every week.

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photo: www.nasekavarny.cz

You may also enrich your experience by homemade desserts. I personally recommend trying their carrot cake. It’s pure heaven. And speaking of “pure things”, you might also want to visit Puro Gelato, ice cream parlour specialized in gelato. There are two parlours in Prague: in Výtoň and in Kaprova Street in the very centre of the city. Apart from awesome gelatos, they also offer mind-blowing waffles, genuine Italian espresso and other tasty desserts.

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photo: www.veronikad.com

I hope I have inspired you to try out home style cooking in Prague and I am looking forward to sharing our experience.

5 great museums to visit in Prague

Museums in Prague, the Czech capital, typically have the country’s most valuable artefacts in their collections. Once you enjoy the city tour or in case of bad weather, you might want to look for some other attractions that will make your trip to Prague fun. We have chosen 5 museums for you, in which getting bored is not an option!

Public Transport Museum in Střešovice

Once you arrive to Prague, you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get anywhere you want. The city has a great public transport network: 3 metro lines and buses and trams that will take you all around the city. Tram no. 22 will take you to their predecessors, which transported passengers in Prague in the past decades. The permanent exhibition of the Public Transport Museum counts more than 40 unique historical vehicles. History lovers will also enjoy the exhibited historical documents, plans, old tickets and photographs related to transportation in Prague. Definitely a cool experience for everyone who enjoy being on the road!

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LEGO Museum

The most attractive museum in Prague is definitely the National Museum but as it under reconstruction at the moment, we will not send you there. However, what we can do is offer you a great alternative! What about seeing the National Museum in its LEGO version? It was built using 100,000 bricks! Sounds like a childhood dream, doesn’t it? You will also see a model of the Charles Bridge with 1,000 LEGO tourists. Whatever your age, you will surely enjoy the world’s largest LEGO museum displaying breathtaking constructions built from the all-time favorite colorful bricks!

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Museum of Communism

Even though the Czech Republic is geographically a part of Central Europe, many people from all around mistakenly associate it with Eastern Europe. This may have much to do with the fact that our country was under the influence of the communist Soviet Union for much of the 20th century. Politics, art, architecture, sports… everything was governed by the Communist Party. The fascinating Museum of Communism will take you back into the time of secret police hunts, censorship and mass media propaganda and show you what everyday life for the Czechs looked like under the communist rule.

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Jewish Museum

One of the best preserved Jewish Museums in the world consists of five synagogues, the Robert Guttmann Gallery, Ceremonial Hall and the renowned Old Jewish Cemetery. The moving exhibition reminds the visitors of dark times in the history of Prague when the local Jews were aggressively repressed by the Nazis. More than 77,000 holocaust victims are commemorated by inscriptions on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue. If you are interested in the Second World War and the history of Jewish people living in Prague from the first time they settled here to the present, then this is the right museum for you. Our friendly guides will gladly share their knowledge of this dark part of our history with you.

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Beer Museum

Anyone coming to the Czech Republic will immediately notice that Czech people are true beer lovers. Many foreigners agree on the fact that there is a good reason for that as our beer is simply really tasty☺. We should consider it a significant part of our culture. So why not visit the Prague Beer Museum? You will explore tens of different beers and much more! Don’t expect to just look from one exhibit to another – the museum is also a cosy pub where you can try all the different brands yourself. Don’t forget to say “čau” or “na zdraví“, which means “cheers” in Czech, because beer is mostly about getting together with friends and having a good time!

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5 facts you didn’t know about Charles IV

In 2016, the Czech Republic celebrates the 700th anniversary of the most significant personality of Prague’s history – Charles IV. He was the man who ordered the construction of the bridge over the Vltava River known all over the world and founded the renowned Charles University in 1348, the first university in central Europe. The busy quarter New Town or the magnificent castle called Karlštejn were also founded during his reign. In his era, Prague was as a flourishing city and Charles was commonly known as the father of Prague. You can read about his reign and deeds in practically any Prague guidebook you can get your hands on. But you might not find there that Charles IV…

 

got first married at the age of seven

Charles IV was married four times, which makes him the king with the most wives in the history of Bohemian kings. On the day of his wedding with the first one, Blanca, they were both seven years old. Due to their youth, they continued growing up separately and met again when they were around fifteen. Blanca died young, as well as Charles’s next two wives. The four women in his life gave birth to 12 children. Not bad, uh?

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…beat the most popular hockey player of the Czech Republic Jaromír Jágr

As you’ve probably guessed, not personally, but he did beat him! In 2005, the Czech public television broadcaster carried out a national survey, asking a very simple question: Who is the greatest Czech personality ever? More than 68,000 people voted for Charles IV putting him on the top of the list, closely followed by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia. Apart from historical personalities, the top 100 included such names as inventor of contact lenses Otto Wichterle, director Forman (e.g. Flight vver the Cuckoo’s Nest), hockey player Jaromír Jágr, athlete Emil Zátopek, writer Franz Kafka (e.g. Metamorphosis) and many more personalities who represent the Czech Republic all over the world. Headed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles_IV_kneeling_before_Madonna-Votive_picture_of_archbishop_Jan_Ocko…is actually Wenceslas 

The son of Elisabeth Premyslid and John of Luxembourg was baptized as Wenceslas. He got his name Charles after his confirmation when he was seven. In the Czech Republic, everyone knows him as Karel, which is the Czech version of the name.

 

…could speak Czech, German, French, Italian and Latin

In the old times, most people, monarchs included, did not know how to read or write. In addition to these skills, Charles IV was also fluent in five languages. Such polyglots are rare even today, in the age of online language courses and movies with original sound. But Charles acquired these skills in the 14th century! This is one of the reasons why he is considered as one of the smartest and most educated historical personalities.

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…said “in vino veritas”

Have you ever heard the saying that at there is truth in wine? It means that after a couple of glasses of wine, you will say whatever is on your mind. It actually goes back to Charles IV, who was a true wine lover. He promoted wine production and strived to improve its quality and the wine making process. Cheers!

Does he deserve to be the greatest Czech personality ever? We say yes, if only because the other 99 winners would never walk across his beautiful bridge if it wasn’t for him. ☺

Pastrami – the NYC delicacy finally in Prague

The meat product pastrami, which has been popular in snack bars all over the world for years, has finally reached Prague.

History

Pastrami is a meat delicacy that has its origin in Romanian and Turkish cuisines. The word “pastrami” is derived from the Romanian verb “a pǎstra”, which means “preserve”. Carpathian villagers have been preserving meat by smoking since a long time ago. The Turkish meal called “pastirma” might be another predecessor of this dish but in this case the meat was dried, not smoked. However, pastrami is much more often associated with Jewish cuisine as it has become a popular kosher meal. It was introduced to the United States together with the two million Jewish immigrants who came to the country in the 1930s. They opened snack bars and specialised shops called “deli”, where pastrami and other delicacies are still sold today. Such places have always held the community together and reminded the people of their home through traditional cuisine but at the same time, they have always been opened to everyone.  The family businesses are passed from one generation to another. Click on the link to learn more about one such traditional “deli” on Manhattan – Katz’s Delicatessen, http://katzsdelicatessen.com/, VIDEO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEHrI0FGOOQ

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Preparation

Pastrami is made from beef brisket or short ribs. Pastrami from lamb, poultry and fish is also popular, while pork is rather rare. Preparing pastrami is quite a time-consuming and demanding process. Well rested meat (if beef is used) must be brined for at least 7 to 10 days, depending on the thickness and weight of the meat. Cooks are very protective of their original brine recipes. The cured meat is cooked at low temperature and then in steam in order to get rid of the unnecessary salt  and finally, the meat is smoked. Pastrami is traditionally served with rye bread, mustard and pickles (cucumbers, sweet pepper, cabbage…). In pastrami delis, sandwiches with a thick layer of meat and vegetables, dressings and other ingredients are extremely popular.

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Where can I get pastrami in Prague?

There are several places in Prague, where pastrami sandwiches are served from time to time, for example at the deli Lahůdkářství Sváček, http://www.lahudkarstvisvacek.cz/ or Naše maso, http://nasemaso.ambi.cz/cz/. The only specialised deli offering a wide range of pastrami sandwiches and other delicacies in Prague is La Bibiche, https://www.facebook.com/labibicheprague. The nice small bistro in the quarter Vinohrady on 21, Francouzská Street has been opened for already two years. They offer the usual pastrami dishes with coriander and ginger mustard, cabbage and cucumbers. Apart from these sandwiches, their daily menu includes warm pastrami meals (with jalapenos, homemade truffle mayonnaise, omelettes and others), seasonal pastrami, pastrami wraps and croissants. La Bibiche is not only about meat, they also have soups, salads, homemade pies and lemonades, beers from small breweries, special wines and choice coffee espressos on their menu.  The bistro also offers various vegetarian meals.

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La Bibiche, 21, Francouzská Street, Prague 2 (TRAM stop Jana Masaryka), MON- FRI 9:30 am – 7:00 pm, tel. 728 796 707, labibicheprague@gmail.com, https://www.facebook.com/labibicheprague

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How to spend a great summer in Prague

Happy July! With the warmer weather, Prague transforms into a lively city with a plethora of outdoor activities and festivities for locals and tourists to enjoy. Summer is the ideal time for a visit as it’s about being outside as much as possible. In other words, Náplavka, farmer’s markets, parks, wine tastings, and beer gardens are all yours.

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Prague Castle.

Without a doubt, Pražské Náplavky are the hottest events of the summer in Prague. Wine and cheese tastings, barbecue evenings, farmer’s markets, live music, and others are in their full swing as long as the weather permits it; every weekend and most weekdays.

July 5 and 7 – On the waves of MLP.

A literary event will take place on both days from 6 pm where poets and writers alike will be presenting their works. The Spanish writer Alejandro Pedregosa will be reading from its debut novel Un Mal Paso. The best part? There’ll be tango later and you need two for that, so bring your favorite person with you.

July 9 and 16 – Farmer’s Markets. Everyone’s favorites are on throughout July and August. Local produce, fresh fruit, and vegetables, handmade soaps, wine, bread are just the beginning of the list of what you’ll find at Náplavka’s farmer’s markets. You can  have your usual morning java and it’ll be freshly brewed by the riverside. Or if you fancy a glass of wine, don’t be shy. Weekend at the markets by the river – it’s the best of the best of what Prague has to offer.

To see what’s on this summer, have a look at Pražské Náplavky.

Riegrovy Sady.
Riegrovy Sady.

Beer Gardens

Czech Republic and beer. Beer and Czech Republic. There is nothing more synonymous than these two things. And for a good reason. It’s well known that the beer is good but it’s also cheap and in the summer little shrines pop up all over the city. Hello, beer gardens! From Letná do Riegrovy Sady to Narodní Pivovar to Pivo a Párek to the Beer Museum you can have the best beer in the world almost on every corner. You’ll never not know where to go for a beer.

Parks in Prague

Spending afternoons off in the city’s countless beer gardens is a national pastime. Parks all over Prague bloom with green trees and flowers; become crowded, and generally the most favorite places to spend free time at. Riegrovy Sady, Letná Park, Kampa Park, Stromovka, and Petřínské Sady are the most popular of parks in Prague. The suntanning spot in Riegrovy Sady with the city’s panoramic view is a definitive favorite.

Kino. Cinema.
Kino. Cinema.

Open Air Cinema

A relatively fresh concept in the capital, outdoor cinemas are gaining popularity with increasing number of locations around Prague. Stalin, Tiskárna ve vzduchu, MeetFactory, Nákladové Nadrazí Žižkov, and Žluté Lázně are just a few on the list that have recently stretched out the screens and started showing a range of beloved classics: Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To check out what’s coming up, visit GoOut.

Photos by Sara Tomovic.