The welcome appearance of summer across Europe signals one thing at EAIE: the countdown to Prague is well and truly on! If you’re looking for some extra-curricular activities to fill your conference free time this September at the 2014 EAIE Conference, here are our top ten city tips as featured in the winter 2013 issue of EAIE Forum magazine. Just make sure you save some time for all the exciting conference events too!
1. Prague Castle
The largest medieval castle in Europe, Prague Castle was the seat of the Kings of Bohemia for centuries, and today the President of the Czech Republic rules from the castle. Dominating the skyline, and taking up roughly the size of seven football pitches, the castle complex will keep you entertained with its churches, gardens, alleyways and royal residences.
2. Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička)
While you’re visiting Prague Castle, be sure to take a stroll along this ancient street complex within the castle grounds. The houses here were built in Mannerism style and date back to the 15th century. Housing both rich and poor, famous writer Franz Kafka was a former resident. Be sure to look out for his house, number 22.
3. Charles Bridge
Connecting the Old Town with Malá Strana, Charles Bridge is Prague’s most picturesque bridge, dating back to 1347. Head onto the bridge for the best view of the river Vltava, and look out for St. John of Nepomuk (1345–1393) – one of the 30 statues that line the bridge– as legend has it, rubbing his foot will bring good luck.
4. Staroměstské Náměstí (Old Town Square)
Bursting with tourists in summer, Old Town Square has been the city’s main marketplace since the 11th century. The square is home to the famous Astronomical Clock, and simply admiring the square’s historical buildings and magnificent churches will transport you back around 700 years in time. Soak up the atmosphere over a coffee in one of the many cafes lining the square.
5. St. Nicholas Church
Located in Old Town Square, St. Nicholas Church is a Baroque church which was completed in 1735. Construction lasted approximately one hundred years, and three generations of great Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law – worked on the church. Today it serves as both a church and a magnificent venue for classical concerts.
6. Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Back in the 13th century, the Jewish community in Prague were forced to leave their homes and congregate in one area, the ‘Jewish ghetto’. As time went on, and increasing restrictions were placed on the Jews, the number of people living in this area rose substantially. Six synagogues remain here, including the Old-New Synagogue – the oldest preserved synagogue in Central Europe.
7. St Vitus’ Cathedral
This Gothic masterpiece was commissioned in 1344 and took almost six centuries to complete. It is the largest cathedral in Prague and has been the venue for the coronation of Czech kings and queens. The cathedral’s tower holds the biggest bell in the Czech Republic, and at more than 90 metres high, it affords some fantastic views from the top.
8. Museum of Communism
Learn about the lives of the Czech people during the times of the Soviet Union at this informative museum. Displays include many original artefacts from the communist era, such as statues and pictures, reading materials, military objects, and there is even a fully reconstructed school classroom.
9. Vltava River
The Vltava River is a perfect point from which to admire the beauty of Prague. There are many different cruises available, some offering lunch, dinner and music. Prague Venice boat trips will show you Prague’s main sights from the perspective of the fisherman sailing Vltava River with his boat 100 years ago.
10. Local cuisine
Check out the Alcron and Kampa Park restaurants, both noted for their gourmet sea food. Beer lovers could head to U Medvidku Beer Hall and Restaurant to sample the infamous X-Beer which is fermented for six months and is said to be the strongest brew in the country (11.8%).
Don’t forget to register for the EAIE Conference by 27 August (and by 25 June to save more than €200 on the regular conference fee!).