You will hardly find a person who hasn’t heard of one of the most well-known historic places in Prague – the Charles Bridge. But do you know anything about the person that bridge was named after? Actually, it was built by one of the most respected and loved kings of the Czech Republic – Charles IV. It’s not only the bridge, his name is connected to many famous places in the country. Thanks to Charles the main castle in Prague was restored and now the Czech Republic has one of the biggest castles in the world. He was the man who founded the famous resort at the thermal springs that is known as Karlovy Vary now. You could hear his name even more often this year as in 2016 the Czech Republic celebrates 700 years since the birth of the king (to find out more visit the K700 site.) The golden era of the country is associated with this person and Prague became one of the most beautiful cities in Europe thanks to him. That is why I didn’t think twice to come and visit the historical places and Christmas fairs of the Czech Republic in December.
I just settled in my room and set off to explore the Old Town quarter. It was my third time in Prague, but I haven’t seen so beautiful streets and squares of the city before. The streets were decorated with garlands, Christmas fairs were here and there and a huge Christmas tree was placed in the middle of the Old Town Square. At the Christmas fair around the tree you can treat yourself with hearty dumplings, smoked sausages, delicious trdelníks in cinnamon and powdered sugar (I got addicted to them in those days) and spicy mulled wine! By the way, Charles IV was born not far from the Old Town Square.
The Charles Bridge
This bridge was built by Charles IV to replace the one that was washed off by the flood. Besides, it was made wider, more reliable and, of course, more beautiful. The stone pavement, gothic statues on the sides and stunning light in the golden hour make this bridge one of the favorite tourists’ destinations in Prague. I explored it up and down and walked around in several ways, so I want to say that it looks perfect from any side. By the way, according to the legend its first stone was laid in 1357, July 9th, 5:31 in the morning, so if we write down the numbers (135797531), they will form a palindrome. Magical signs were of great importance that time (especially in Prague), so it was believed that this figure should help it to last for centuries. Well, it is exactly what happened.
The fortress on the elevation to the left of the Vltava River and St. Vitus Cathedral is truly a visiting card of Prague. It has the same atmosphere as the Old Town and at some points it even excels it. For example, it offers a stunning view of the city, and there are fewer tourists than on the other side. Well, the size just goes without saying! Before the Royal Palace became one of the largest fortresses in the world it was ruined by the fire. Guess who reconstructed and enlarged it?
My trip wasn’t just about the Prague, as the next day I went to the city of Olomouc that is located in the center of historical region of Moravia (once it was a country and the city was its capital.) It isn’t a long way, so you can get from the center of Prague to the center of Olomouc just in 3 hours. By the way, it was on my way to Olomouc when I saw true Czech winter with icy firs and snowy fields. And as the sun was rising the frosty morning turned golden.
It is a small city compared to Prague, but very cozy and beautiful. The Christmas fair at the main square (Horni Namesti) was very cool! Indeed, “cool” is just what it was: live rock music was played all the day long and in the evening the local musician played Hendrix with his mouth which was awesome! Actually, the size of the fair as well as the range of goods was huge, but there were less people than in Prague. And it was a sight to be seen when the lights were turned on after the sunset. Another worthwhile location is the Olomouc fortress (which is also connected to Charles IV.) So, when I will be in the Czech Republic next time this place will be among my favorites.
But, unfortunately, this trip came to the end as all the good things do. The next day I went back to Prague, walked along the Old Town a little bit more, made a couple of photos and finally took a taxi to the airport as the city farewelled me with another incredible sunset (in fact, the weather was fantastic for the whole trip). Actually, the Czech Republic was a December treat, as it was sweet, endlessly beautiful and cozy in a wintry way. So, when I will find myself in December fuss next year, I will definitely know where I should go to get some Christmas mood!
This post was brought to you as a result of the blog trip in partnership with Visit Czech Republic. Near The Lighthouse want to thank Czech Tourism for all help and support provided during the travel.