Travel Guide: The Fairy-Tale Architecture of Prague

Prague is a city that speaks its own story full of pearls, that is simply called a fairy-tale. Prague is a place where pastel colours enchant at each step. It’s a world full of magic where creative hobbies burst at hidden corners.

The divine architecture of Prague can overwhelms even the beauty of Barcelona or any other European city. It’s one of the most amazing places in Eastern Europe. Gothic architecture governs the dreams where princesses have the main role. As the pastel colours pour into the images of fantasy, wonder turns the page.

The most beautiful bridge in the world awakens the artist in yourself. The Castle lives its own adventure, while the Vltava conducts the music. The photographer’s paradise of this unique city turns every step into magic.

The history of Prague

The Celtic tribe Boii were the first inhabitants of today’s Prague. That’s how the region Bohemia got its name, though Prague is truly a bohemic city.

The stunning Old Town Square in Prague
The stunning Old Town Square in Prague- Credit:

The Prague Castle defines the origins of Prague, it was built by Prince Bořivoj in 870 AD. It’s one of the largest castles in the world and a symbol of Czech history.  Since its beginnings, it’s been the seat of the Czech rulers, firstly belonging to the dynasty called Premyslovci. Today, it’s the seat of the Czech president.

Prague became a town during the 13th century when King Wenceslas I shaped the Old Town.

Charles IV, as the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, put the seeds to the flourishment of Prague. Prague in the Gothic style, experienced a bloom. It was the time when the architectural wonder started. Numerous structures took shape at Charles Bridge and other buildings.

Romanesque Architecture

Romanesque architecture pulls its roots in the Roman times during the Middle Ages. It’s a strong blending of the Roman and Byzantine styles. Emphasizing the wide massive walls and mighty towers comes into focus.

Symmetrical design and round arches float around the gracious romanesque style. Appearing in the 9th century, rotunda dominates the Romanesque style. It represents the cynical nave with a conical roof.

The oldest rotunda in Prague is Saint Martin in Vysehrad. It was a parish church during the 11th century.

The lovely rotunda of Saint Martin in Vyšehrad represents the Romanesque architecture
The lovely rotunda of Saint Martin in Vyšehrad represents the Romanesque architecture- Credit:

St. Cross Rotunda in the Old town is the second oldest rotunda. St. Longin Rotunda near St. Stepan Church is the smallest of the three rotundas in Prague.

Inside Prague castle lies the best example of Romanesque architecture, within the beautiful Saint George Basilica. It was renovated in the 17th century in the Baroque style but the interior is pretty Romanesque.

Gothic Architecture

Appearing in the 13th century, the Gothic architecture takes shine in the pointed arches. They replaced the semi-circular arches of the Romanesque style. The ribbed vault dominates as it’s thin and light. The stone vaults of the Romanesque style are very heavy.

The oldest example of Gothic architecture in Prague is the Saint Agnes of Bohemia Covent from 1233. It’s a monastery close to Vltava.

The Old-New Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Central Europe belonging to the Jewish heritage. It’s taking the name Old-New Synagogue because more synagogues were built in one building. It’s other name is Altneuschul. Stunning decoration fills the entrance portal.

The Old-New Synagogue in Prague represents the Gothic style
The Old-New Synagogue in Prague represents the Gothic style- Credit:

High Gothic style dominates during the empire of Charles IV.

Charles Bridge, the New Town and Saint Vitus’ Cathedral shine with the Gothic touch. The sculptures enchant the stunning decor of the Saint Vitus Cathedral.

The Old Town of Prague

The Old Town of Prague is the heart that leads to this fairy-tale. The square known as Staromestske namesti transfers in a second into the medieval world. Its soft colours and magical buildings delight at every step.

Its origins lead to 1338 when the Town Hall was founded as the seat of administration. In the 14th century, trade and craftsmanship nourished the rapid bloom. Charles IV shaped today’s Prague by founding the University of Prague. Charles Bridges is his marvellous idea as well as the New Town of Prague.

The stunning Astronomical Clock at the Old Town of Prague
The stunning Astronomical Clock at the Old Town of Prague- Credit:

Powder Gate is the eastern entrance to the Old Town and one of the most historical attributes of the city. This dark Gothic structure was built in 1475. The incredible view spreads after climbing the 186 stairs within the narrow staircase.

The Astronomical Clock or Orloj is the famous attraction of Prague, sitting in the Old Town Hall.

Kinsky Palace

Kinsky Palace in the Rococo style dominates the Old Town. It’s now an art museum belonging to the National Gallery. Its rich decorations cover the tranquil atmosphere in the soft pink colours.

The palace was built by the Golz family in 1755, but the ownership of the noble Kinsky family inspired the name. The palace got into the hands of the Kinsky family in 1768.

The beautiful pink building of the Kinsky Palace in Prague
The beautiful pink building of the Kinsky Palace in Prague- Credit:

Its designer was Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and the exterior statues were made by Ignaz Franz Platzer. Franz Kafka attended a secondary school in the palace and his father had a store inside.

Many historical events happened in the palace. Its most significant permanent exhibition is about the Old World Cultures of Asia, Europe and Africa.

Church of Our Lady Before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn or Týn Church impressively shines in the Old Town with its magical towers. This Gothic church from the 14th century has a stunning Baroque interior. The Baroque elements filled the interior during the 17th century. Also, the Gothic dome of the main nave took the Baroque style due to the fire that happened in 1679.

The fascinating Church of Our Lady before tyn that dominated the Old Town in Prague
The fascinating Church of Our Lady before tyn that dominated the Old Town in Prague- Credit:

The small spires of the towers define Prague’s beauty. The two towers are not symmetrical as they represent the masculine and feminine powers. The towers of Tyn Church illuminate the image of Prague in such a pretty way during the night.

The main altar represents the Assumption of the Virgin Mary done by Karl Škreta, pretty famous in his time.

The Tyn Church also inspired the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

St Nicholas Church is another church that enlightens the Old Town and represents the Baroque style of the 18th century.

The Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge celebrates Prague through ancient magic, dating back to 1357. This beautiful bridge connects Old Town to Malá Strana. Its original name was Bridge (Kamenny Most), but in 1870 it was renamed as Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge actually took the role of Judith Bridge, which was destroyed by floods in 1342. Also, the Charles Bridge experienced many floods, among which the worst happened in 2002.

The amazing view of Vltava at Charles Bridge, Prague
The amazing view of Vltava at Charles Bridge, Prague- Credit:

The towers frame beautifully the Charles Bridge from both sites and offer stunning views from above. 30 statues and decorative lamps enrich the bridge and tell their own stories.

The Statue of St. John of Nepomuk is the most popular one. He was one of the most significant Czech saint,  who was executed and thrown into Vltava from the bridge.

Always filled with artists, Charles Bridge is a place to enjoy the breathtaking sunset. It’s one of the most stunning historical bridges in the world.

The Prague Castle

The Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world, belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in the 9th century and became the symbol of the Czech state over the centuries. Now it’s the seat of the president of the Czech Republic.

The colourful Golden Lane at Prague Castle
The colourful Golden Lane at Prague Castle- Credit:

Three courtyards intertwine with the rich collection of palaces, churches and fortifications. St. Vitus Cathedral dominates the castle complex and is one of the largest churches in Prague.

Golden Lane is the cutest street inside the castle, the colourful testimony of Franz Kafka’s life. Tiny cottages serve mostly as the souvenir shops here. At the end of the street is Daliborka tower, that’s not open to the public. It got name from Knight Dalibor of Kozojedy, who was imprisoned there.

The Old Royal Palace took the place of the original wooden palace buildings.

Dancing House

The most popular piece of modern architecture in Prague is the Dancing House or Fred and Ginger. It’s a Nationale-Nederlanden building in Prague that lies on the Rašin riverbank. The famous film couple- Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers- are embodied in this building.

The modern architecture of Dancing House in Prague
The modern architecture of Dancing House in Prague- Credit:

The authors are the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.  The Dancing House was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.

The interior is designed by Eva Jiricna and represents the office space. A stunning view of Prague stretches from the restaurant to the gallery. Two floors also host a 21-room hotel by Luxury Suites.

The design experienced critics as it stands among the Baroque, Gothic and Art-Noveau buildings.

Vinohrady- The Elegant District

The old royal vineyards (thus the name) filled this neighbourhood in the 14th century at its origins. Now it’s the place of villas and country manors, of classy restaurants and bars. Green spaces intertwine with elegant churches here in central Prague. It’s a quiet place to get the authentic and local vibe.

Beautiful park and colourful houses in Vynohradi, Prague
Beautiful park and colourful houses in Vynohradi, Prague- Credit:

The Art Nouveau Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord provokes attention with the largest clock-face in the Czech Republic. Riegrovy sady park invites to relax and have a picnic at its large lawns.

The Vinohrady Theatre is a gracious building of the Art Deco style from 1907. It’s one of the most important theatres in Prague. Vinohrady Water Tower is a beautiful edifice that houses offices and apartments.

Vyšehrad- Hill Views off the Beaten Track

Vyšehrad is a tranquil hill with stunning views of the city and the Vltava river. It’s the first seat of the Premyslids dynasty, dating to the 10th century.

The stunning view of Vyšehrad fortress above Prague
The stunning view of Vyšehrad fortress above Prague- Credit:

The architecture belongs to the Baroque, Romanesque and Neo-Gothic styles. Among the many parks and narrow streets, Vyšehrad hosts the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul, rotunda of St. Martina and national cemetery.

Vyšehrad Castle, also known as Chrasten, is embraced by the hill and architectural treasure. Vyšehrad dwells in the world of legends. During the 11th century, Vyšehrad experienced a glorious time. It became the seat of the first Bohemian king, Vratislav I.

The Museums of Prague

The architectural shine of Prague goes beyond its romantic streets. The plenty of museums delight with historical treasures.

The Strahow Library opens the doors to the photographic gems as its beauty just enchants. It belongs to Premonstratensian monastery with a large collection of volumes. The Baroque Theological Hall is the oldest room, which was established between 1671 and 1674. The two main halls are decorated with stunning ceiling frescoes. It’s located close to the Prague Castle and Petrin Hill.

Strahov Monastery & LIbrary, Prague, Czechia
Strahov Monastery & LIbrary, Prague, Czechia- Credit:

The National Museum is the largest in the Czech Republic. The fascinating interior covers a large collection of natural and historical items.

The Museum of Decorative Arts is a stunning tribute to historical and contemporary crafts. The exhibits range from glass, porcelaine, furniture, jewellery and toys. The fascinating interior is a reason to delight.

Magic Hour in Prague

The golden hour in Prague brings a royal touch to the photos. It’s the moment to be drawn to the medieval vibes of this stunning city. While the Vltava river pours into thousands of colours, the magic of Prague invites to explore it all over again.

Charles Bridge in Prague in the morning
Charles Bridge in Prague in the morning- Credit:

The perspective changes as we see the architecture in the new light. Prague brings the new page of a fairy-tale. The castle shines with a new melody where time stands still.

Conclusion- The Fairy-Tale Architecture of Prague

Prague is a city that stays still in time, its incredible richness of architecture passes the fabulous Old Town. Magic is simple yet full of details, but in Prague it’s so clear. Just watching the swans near Vltava awakens the artistic soul. Its beauty takes into view the philosophy of art.

The Romanesque style awakens architecture in Prague, which blends with Gothic and Baroque traces. Clasicism hides in places like Smetana Waterfront. The views or spires or majestic castle in the distance are the music to its colours.

Powder Tower is only one of the 13 entrances to the pedestrian streets of the Old Town. Full of crafts and creative power Old Town is a world of poesie. The marionettes are one of them. The Astronomical Clock dominates the divine treasure.

Charles Bridge alone is a place that gathers artists and photographers unitying them in a dream. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.


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