Prague From Stalin’s Viewpoint

You may have come across a beautiful postcard or an amazing Photoshopped picture of Prague that made you wonder where the heck the picture could have been taken?! You comfort yourself with the idea that the photographer must have suffered a lot and surely walked miles before getting to this distant secret place, or even worse, must have gone on some kind of dreary walking tour of Prague! 

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photo credits: http://poprve.blogspot.cz

However, things that seem distant and unreachable are often closer and more accessible than we think. In fact, one of the most beautiful and popular parks in Prague – Letná – is only a short ride from the city centre! You can take tram no. 15 from “Náměstí republiky” (the square with two shopping centres, the Municipal House and the Powder Tower) or tram no. 17 from “Právnická fakulta” (Faculty of Law at the riverbank at the end of the famous “Pařížská ulice” (Paris Street) full of luxury boutiques). Either way, you will get to the stop “Čechův most” in no time and then you just have to climb up the stairs.

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Still having trouble finding this place? Don’t worry, the people of Prague have gone to great lengths to make it clearly visible from far away… Just look for a huge ticking triangular thing right next to the Vltava River. By now, some of you might be asking yourselves who in their right mind would build a giant metronome in the middle of a city? To satisfy your curiosity, we must look back at a chapter of Czech history, which is not a particularly happy one to recall for most Czechs.

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In 1948, the Soviet Union decided that the freedom celebration party in Czechoslovakia after the Second World War had been going on for far too long, so we became a communist country. As peoples’ hearts were being injected with communist ideals, the park in Letná suddenly started feeling too empty. The Czechs were forced to show their gratitude to their Soviet liberators (just like we are grateful to our boss for letting us work overtime, thus liberating us from the chains of laziness…) and the empty Letná Park was the perfect place. As a result, since 1955 no tourists (if there were any), however bad their sense of direction was and even without a tourist map of Prague, could have possibly missed this place. There was a huge statue of Stalin, enjoying a beautiful view of Prague from the top of the Letná Park (while everyone else worked in factories). It was the biggest statue in the whole of Europe at the time (no wonder the architects committed suicide before it was officially revealed, probably due to exhaustion). What is interesting (and a bit upsetting for some) is that some of the stone used for the statue was taken from sites playing a significant role in the history of our nation (e.g. the Old Town Hall, our national hill Říp or from village Ležáky, annihilated by the Nazis along with Lidice).

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Fortunately (for us), Stalin’s supporters didn’t enjoy this magnificent statue for long (those who miss it can buy Chinese Pu-erh tea with a picture of Stalin and Mao Zedong in one of the many Prague tea shops).  When Khrushchev took power, he openly criticized Stalin’s cult of personality and the statue was taken down (narcissism never gets fully appreciated…). After the fall of communism in 1989, when the hearts of people were being filled with money for a change, the Letná Park seemed a bit empty again.  The Metronome Monument was built at exactly the same spot where Stalin’s statue used to stand. The rationale was to remind us that times can change and to warn us against repeating the mistakes of the past (anyway, there is no need for that today, since dry river beds, infertile soil and climate change can do the job very well on their own).

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So come and enjoy the view Stalin once had and see our beautiful city of Prague from a different angle. Since there are several playgrounds in the park, it is one of the things to do in Prague with kids. And don’t forget to learn from your past mistakes (especially don’t make the mistake of not having an awesome once-in-a-lifetime Prague holiday)!

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.

La Putyka, an Unforgettable Show

Tourists ask me all the time what to do in Prague but when it comes to shows and entertainment for English-speaking tourists in Prague, they face one particular challenge. The language barrier. Despite all these wonderful shows in Prague theatres, the language barrier makes it impossible for tourists to enjoy them properly. As an experienced tourist guide from Prague, I always want to recommend something special, something I would enjoy myself. Recently, I saw an excellent show to visit in Prague, for both the locals and non-Czech speakers. Primarily visual with very little or no spoken word, it is the ideal entertainment for tourists coming to Prague!

Foto: HN - Lukáš Bíba
Foto: HN – Lukáš Bíba

The show La Family is performed by a group called Circus La Putyka. But don’t expect anything like a circus in the traditional sense. Instead, remember Ernest Hemingway, who once said you could write a novel with only six words: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Hemingway wanted his readers to use their own imagination and that is exactly the basic concept of the La Family show. The performance is surreal, almost Dadaistic and there is no real storyline to follow. So, it is entirely up to you to interpret it.

Foto: HN - Lukáš Bíba
Foto: HN – Lukáš Bíba

The show is full of great visual effects and acrobatics. My favourite part was when one of the artists stepped on the trampoline and started doing moves in slow motion. I was also stunned by the number of artists on stage at the same time. I counted nearly 20. The show is diverse in terms of languages, too. I’ve heard Czech, English, Italian and French. And this is exactly my main point: you have no reason to worry about whether you’ll understand the actors. Me personally, I speak only two of these languages.

Foto: HN - Lukáš Bíba
Foto: HN – Lukáš Bíba

If you are into hip stuff, you’re going to love the space where the show is performed. Its Czech name “Jatka 78” stands for a “slaughterhouse” as the the whole area used to be one. Before I tell you a little bit about the history of this amazing place, let me first describe the atmosphere. The walls are not perfectly white, implying this space used to have a completely different purpose. The former slaughterhouse was closed after 100 years of operation and in 1983, it was turned into the Holešovice Market. Today it is known as Little Hanoi. There are countless stalls, restaurants and shops at the market run mainly by the Vietnamese, the largest minority of immigrants in the Czech Republic. If you decide to see a show in Jatka 78, I suggest stopping for a meal in the excellent Vietnamese restaurant Phang Trang, which serves really amazing Vietnamese food. There is a good possibility that this visit might turn into one of the highlights of your entire stay in Prague.

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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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.

6 great coffee shops in Prague you don’t want to miss

Twenty years ago, it was impossible to find a coffee shop in Prague. Let alone a good coffee shop. Times have changed and specialty coffee shops are experiencing a boom around the world and Europe. Prague is no different. Think Prague gives thumbs up and love to these six coffee shops for you to choose from; both new and established on the Prague coffee scene.

 

Barry Higgel’s coffeehouse | Prague 7

These guys bring their coffee from London’s Workshop Coffee and with the sleek minimalistic design, they are the much-needed addition to Holešovice neighborhood. Barry’s Coffeehouse has an incredible potential to become the neighborhood’s top spot. Excellent coffee with healthy food options. With breakfast granolas, sandwiches, and soups, there is plenty to choose from.

Photo: Barry Higgel’s coffeehouse

 

Twenty7 | Prague 7

A rather serious affair, Twenty7 is an excellent good choice for an afternoon coffee or an early evening glass of wine. Cozy with modern design, rich menu, and coffee the way it’s meant to be. A place like this was needed in Prague a long time ago.

Photo | IG: @tanya_akulova
Photo | IG: @wnb_mischa

 

The Kavárna | Prague 2

They said “don’t open any more coffee shops in Vinohrady”, so the duo behind Coffee Break & Cake went ahead and did just that. Minimalist design, beans from Mamacoffee, and a whole list of drinks and food options; you can’t do wrong with The Kavárna.

Photo | IG: @nasekavarny

 

Ema Espresso Bar | Prague 1

The talk of the town. That’s Ema Espresso Bar. Hardly a new coffee shop in Prague, yet the hype has not worn off. Long queues outside of their doors speak for the coffee and the lack of cakes in the afternoon for their scrumptious sweets. They disappear fast and with a good reason. The only negative? No healthy food options. Go for the coffee and not for the cakes, unless you plan on hitting the gym.

Photo | IG: @pereguinn

 

Kavárna co hledá jméno | Prague 5

These guys definitely stirred up the pot. Newly opened on the left-side of the river, this coffee shop is a little bit of everything: an art gallery, a working space, a garden, and your business meeting point. Rustic details and a spacious main area set this place from the rest. Sweet cherry on top: the coffee is from Nordbeans. Although with its bitterness it might not be for everyone.

Photo | IG: @kavarnacohledajmeno

 

Můj Šálek Kávy | Prague 8

It seems like they do everything right: excellent coffee, food, locale, and they are open on Sundays! Go for the breakfast and cappuccino or a flat white, if you prefer your coffee stronger. Quality beans from Doubleshot do not disappoint. Get ready to wait for a seat or call in for a reservation in advance. You won’t be disappointed, though.

Photo | IG: @janlosert

Perfect filmmaking destination in the Czech Republic? Bohemian Paradise!

In the years of 1990’s, the Czech Republic has been considered as one of the top destinations for filmmakers. Low production costs, professional staff and beautiful scenery, that sounds great even to foreign productions. Recently, there are big competitors in Europe as attractive filming locations. Namely Hungary or Greece provide distinct tax incentives, however, Bohemian Paradise is still a fairytale place, literally. Countless classic movie stories loved by children and adults, too, have been shot right among breathtaking sandstone rocks area, just 50 kilometers far from Prague. As well as numerous US films shot after 2000’s.

Image credits: sometravels.com

The first nature reserve in the Czech Republic magnetizes tourist, climbers, artists and all nature lovers by its splendid rock towns, chateaux and green hills. You could see the paradise in movie scenes of Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman, Hellboy with Selma Blair casting, Brothers Grimm with Matt Damon or Beautician and the Beast with Timothy Dalton starring. The frequently visited gothic Kost castle served as a backdrop while making of Hannibal Rising. Stunning Prachovské rocks can be found in The Last Knights where Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman act.

Image credits: expats.cz

Just a step from the rock town area, you find yourself in the city of Mladá Boleslav, which is home to ŠKODA Auto Company, currently owned by Volkswagen Group. The local former prison gave place to Tom Cruise while shooting some scenes for Mission Impossible 4. What an event in Czechia, some of his die-hard fans were standing in front of a prison for over 11 hours, just to see him getting out of car!

Image credits: prague.eu

Nowadays, the Bohemian Paradise Film Office supports the local tourism by promoting the region via movies. They help to filmmakers in all ways, from searching for attractive exteriors and chateaux interiors, arranging the accommodation or assisting while transporting, to providing services in marketing and public relations.

In additon to Hollywood movies, one of the most popular Czech cartoon characters lives in the Bohemian Paradise, too. It is nothing but a Highwayman Rumcajs and his family, created by significant Czech writer Václav Čtvrtek. The favorite cartoon series takes place in the forest situated in Jičín area – a part of the paradise. That is how this destination has contributed also in the Czech culture.

Image credits: cestovani.idnes.cz

The gorgeousness of this story-book destination could be described also by adrenaline sport fans. High rocks serve as a favorite spot to climbers. These who are not equipped with climbing gear can enjoy adventurous walking tour on staircases built right in the rocks. Last but not least adventure sports buffs come every summer to support Kozakov Challenge longboard riders. The Kozakov hill, placed under the lookout tower is one of the destinations of World Championship in Longboarding. That is truly no chance to get bored in this well-preserved area, surrounded by forests.

Since we have been charmed by a place personally, we had to put together a guided tour around the Bohemian Paradise for foreign friends, who would like to see the pure Czech nature. Easy day trip with nice views to the landscape is a great way to discover the country from different point of view, compared to Capital Prague. With Tom Cruise or not, you will certainly turn your video camera on while seeing that picturesque scenery!

4 best spots in Prague for families

Are you planning a family vacation? Looking for things to do for all ages? And want an unforgettable family vacation? Prague has plenty to offer for families, including a zoo, museum and mirror maze. Below you can find the destinations that will be sure to pique your interest.

Toy Museum 

This museum is situated at the Prague Castle near the Golden street. The Toy Museum covers two floors with seven rooms. There is an extensive exhibition of unique toys at this museum. It houses antique toys including traditional Czech toys as cars, planes, motorcycles and trains. On top of that, there are teddy bears, robots, steam engines and a collection of Barbie dolls. This place is well worth a visit for children or adults. Besides, there are many places nearby for visitors to get food and drink they like. If you visit this Museum, you will spend a great time with your kids.

Image credits: myworldshots.com

Prague Zoo

This zoo is one of the most visited zoological gardens in the Czech Republic. It is situated near the Trója Chateau in Prague. At this zoo, there are 5000 animals and 650 species such as penguins, gorillas, turtles, sea lions, lions, tigers, suricates, flamingoes and elephants. Your kids can find a number of fun play areas. By way of illustration, your kids would appreciate the petting zoo, the train ride and the short chair-lift there. If you want to explore more the attractions nearby, perhaps renting a car will tempt you. You can visit the Trója Chateau or Prague Botanical Garden.

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National Marionette Theatre

This National Marionette is situated in the Old Town neighborhood of Prague, Czech Republic. It is a must see in Prague. There are true gems of artistic craftsmanship. You will find out world-famous pieces, including Don Giovanni, The Magic Theatre of the Baroque World – Orfeo Ed Euridice. The puppet theatre is suitable for kids. There are also  many activities geared to every age group, for instance the Marionette show and the Puppet Gala Performance that is a mix of the puppeteers’ finest works. You will like this place if you are particularly one of those puppet lovers.

Image credits: panoramio.com – Dimitris Gikas

Mirror Maze

The Mirror Maze is located on the Petřín Hill. It is one of the famous attractions in Prague. This beautiful spot is fun for all ages. There is a room full of mirrors inside this Mirror Maze. If you go there, you will experience unique activities for yourself. You can see infinite reflections of yourself. You can even find shaped mirrors that would reflect you in different funny way. To be more precise, your appearance will change in crazy ways. Moreover, visitors can take photographs in this Maze. Therefore, if you want to keep your children happy and relax, this is the best place.

Image credits: wikimapia.org

Bonus Tip

Boost you children’s knowledge and curiosity in Letná museums.

There is a great combo of two amazing museums that you can visit in Letná area. Both National Technical Museum and The National Museum of Agriculture have many interactive parts that are just perfect for entertaining your kids. Once your visit to the museums is over you can walk just few hundred meters and visit beautiful Letná gardens where you can have a refreshing drink during summer.

Eager to find more ideas on what to do with your kids while visiting Prague? Check out this article with dozens of tips.