Things to Do in Prague - page 4
Prague’s outpost of the worldwide Hard Rock brand is one of the most popular hangouts in the city. Tucked away behind the fresco-covered façade of the 19th-century VJ Rott House, it is just a five-minute walk from the focus of the night-time action in Old Town Square. As one of the largest branches of Hard Rock in Europe, it has two sleek bars in which to sample Czech pilsner beers or a couple of cocktails, plus three floors of restaurant selling the world-famous menu of steaks, salads and legendary burgers.
The ornate Art Nouveau interior of the restaurant contrasts neatly with Hard Rock’s grungy displays of rock ‘n’ memorabilia—from Johnny Cash’s embroidered Western-style shirt, a pair of Elvis’s trousers and a tails coat worn on tour by Madonna, but these are all totally overshadowed by the huge, guitar-shaped chandelier hanging over the atrium. Prague’s Hard Rock also offers live music on Thursday and Friday nights.
The Becherovka Museum, less than two hours west of Prague, is home to one of the Czech Republic's most beloved liquors, called Becherovka. At the museum, visitors can learn about the liquor as well as tour the distillery and the original cellars. While you're there, you can also taste this liquor that has been produced for centuries. It is made from Karlsbad water, alcohol, sugar, and a mixture of herbs and spices, although the exact recipe is said to be known by only two people today.
The company was founded over two centuries ago by Jan Becher, who came up with the recipe in a pharmacy that is now the museum. A visit to the museum also allows visitors to learn about the history of the company's beginnings and how the liquor survived during the communist regime when the company was forced to hand over the recipe.
This spa town located about 150 kilometers from Prague is one of the nation’s most favored getaways. With a near perfect climate, panoramic mountain views, stunning architecture and lush gardens, Marianske Lanze is the perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend or plan for a day-trip escape.
Though the spas are Marianske Lazne's main draw, there are many other reasons worth visiting. Travelers can explore the tiny Dion E Chopin museum or wander through quaint roads lined by numerous coffee houses and turn-of-the-century apartments. An annual festival paying homage to the Polish composer Chopin takes place each August, and visitors who make the trek to Marianske Lanze in June can enjoy the classical music festival this spa town has become famous for. And because no trip to this relaxing respite is complete without a visit to the spa, most hotels provide a wide range of services to meet the pampering needs of most any guest.
Run under the auspices of Prague’s National Museum, which has five branches, the Czech Museum of Music is located in the former church of St Mary Magdalene in Malá Strana (the Lesser Quarter) on the west bank of the River Vltava. This 17th-century Baroque beauty was designed by Italian architect Francesco Caratti and over the years it has served as a Dominican monastery, police barracks and a history archive before its interior was remodeled into a light-filled, high-ceilinged atrium to accommodate the museum’s vast collections of precious musical instruments and scores. An entertaining permanent exhibition entitled ‘Man–Instrument–Music’ features the relationship between man and his musical instruments, set to the backdrop of music recorded on those displayed; among the highlights is a piano once played by Mozart and a series of ornate harps inlaid with mother of pearl.
Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews first came to Prague in the 10th century and over the years they became a thriving part of the city’s cultural and financial community. Their first cemetery was located in Josefov, where most of Prague’s Jewish resident were required to settle; by the 1890s there were 23,500 Jews living in the city and the Old Jewish Cemetery was full. A new one was built in the suburb of Žižkov, many times bigger with capacity for around 100,000 graves; it is Art Nouveau in style, with imposing entrance gates, ornate mausoleums and majestic family tombs adorned with statuary and inscriptions. Its peaceful and orderly tree-lined avenues are a respite from the hectic street life of central Prague, although tragic reminders of World War II include a memorial wall inscribed with the names of the victims of the Holocaust who perished in Terezín concentration camp.
More Things to Do in Prague
Travelers in search of a unique and memorable performance need look not further than Prague’s Krizik Fountain. This iconic Czech landmark has been in operation since 1891 and served as an easy meeting place for city residents on the move. Today Krizik Fountain hosts dozens of live shows and its one-of-a-kind spectacle features dancing water, traditional music and brilliant colors. A few of the regularly schedule evenings even include film projections on the water and live accompaniment by the regional ballet company. While tickets are essential, advance reservations aren’t, so catching a show at Krizik Fountain can be done on the fly for visitors who find themselves nearby when the performance starts.
Central Europe’s biggest waterpark is 3.75 miles (six km) south of Prague and is a family-centric attraction featuring saunas, a fitness center and a spa as well as swimming pools and water rides. Vodní svět (Water World) is largely undercover and comprises four themed zones, with lap pools, lazy rivers, a coral dome and wave pools as well as rapids and kamikaze twisting tube slides for the more adventurous of families. On offer elsewhere in the park are 14 different kinds of sauna, fitness classes — from Pilates to spinning — gyms equipped with cardio zones and power plates, solariums and a raft of massage options and beauty therapy treatments. There’s a children’s corner for young kids, swimming courses for all levels of expertise, private trainers in the gym and scuba diving classes in the Diving Pit.
Opened in 2011, the KGB Museum in Prague is a small museum dedicated to displaying memorabilia related to the activities of various national security authorities, including the KGB, the Cheka and the NKVD. Items on display include spy cameras, weapons, electrical interrogation equipment and other equipment from KGB laboratories. Of particular interest to visitors are Vladimir Lenin’s death mask, the weapon used to kill Leon Trotsky and the personal belongings of Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the NKVD.
A separate room of the museum features a collection of photographs taken in Prague in 1968 by KGB officers, while other rooms give visitors a sense of the offices and everyday work environments of the officers. It is said that some of the materials on display are still officially classified.
Prague’s outpost of the Grévin Wax Museum is one of the largest in Europe, famous for its waxwork likenesses of international celebrities, royalty, sporting heroes and historic Czech figures. Opened in 2014, the museum provides three floors of family fun and fantasy and is found close to the Baroque beauty of the Staré Mesto (Old Town) on one of the city’s main shopping streets.
Although displays change along with the world of stardom, the Grévin is currently divided into six themed and interactive sections, giving visitors the chance to pose with Michael Jackson, meet the alchemist Emperor Rudolf II and marvel at the outfits worn by actresses Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep. Uniquely Czech attractions include the world-famous ice hockey team HC Sparta Praha, Franz Kafka in a traditional Prague café and former President Václav Havel at his desk.
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