Old Town Square, one of many places you'll see on your walking tour of Prague — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
Journey on this free walking tour of Prague, and you will no doubt see some interesting sights.
Begin in front of the gold-crested National Theatre on Narodni Trida in Prague's Nove Mesto district. Have a close look at the architectural features. Cross the road for a better view. The most striking details are the two bronze, three-horse-drawn chariots, which carry the Goddess of Victory. The roof is prickled with allegorical figures staring into the distance. The sparkling stars on the sky-blue roof top symbolize the summit all artists should aim for.
If you're craving a cup of coffee, then pop into Cafe Slavia opposite the National Theatre at the corner of Narodni Trida and Smetanova Quay. Once the place where writers, artists and dissidents met, it is now the haunt of young professionals and theatre-goers. Choose your favourite cake from a scrumptious selection, and take a window seat to enjoy the view of the Vltava River. National Theatre in Prague — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
Cross Legii Bridge but stop halfway. On your left rises Vysegrad Hill on your right stretches Charles Bridge. Turn to the right into Malostranska Nabrezi. Keep the river on your right side. You are now on Kampa island. The village atmosphere makes you almost forget that this spot is right in the center of Prague.
Museum Kampa is the first building on your right. This modern art gallery is housed in an old, riverside watermill. You've come here to see a selection of Cubist works by the early twentieth-century sculptor Otto Gutfreund. After World War I, he abandoned Cubism and started depicting scenes from everyday life in which ordinary people stood central, in a style that would later be known as Socialist Realism.
Three gigantic babies stand guard right in front of the museum. They are the work of David Cerny, a Czech artist who is also responsible for the same type of babies crawling up the telecommunication tower in the Zizkov neighborhood and an upside-down horse dangling from the ceiling in Lucerna Passage in the New Town district.
Stroll through Kampa Island. The southern tip is a park and ideal for summer picnics. Sit at the water for a sweeping view of Charles Bridge, Smetana Museum and Vltava weir, built in the nineteenth century to make the river navigable. Soak up the village atmosphere at Na Kampe Square, and make yourself comfortable in one of the outdoor cafes where the aroma of freshly ground coffee rushes out to greet you.
Climb the double flight of stairs at the far end of Na Kampe Square, and weave your way through the crowd on Charles Bridge. It is peppered with statues, but they are all replicas. The originals weathered badly and are in the Lapidarium Museum in Vystaviste. Divide your attention between checking out souvenir stands and not bumping into other people.
Pass under Old Tower Bridge and crabwalk through Karlova Street until you get to Old Town Square. Sit at the foot of the Hus Monument and soak up the eclectic atmosphere of the square. Be sure to join the crowd in front of the astronomical clock to watch the spectacle of the apostles popping out when the clock strikes the hour.
Are you feeling a little hungry? Grab a seat at one of the cafes that spill out on to Old Town Square. Palacinky ("pancakes," in English) filled with ice cream and fresh fruit, smothered in chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream may be the snack you're craving. Or try bramborak (in other words, "potato pancake"), made for the not-so-sweet-toothed.