Nov 20, 2019
Photo by Pedro Szekely, Attribution CC BY SA 2.0
Although Prague is famous for its winters, its summers are also beautiful
Maybe you've fallen in love with Prague on a holiday, maybe you've only ever seen it on travel programmes or read about it in articles, but you're taking the plunge and starting your property search. The Czech Republic is a wonderful place to buy your new home. This country has a rich and vibrant history, as well as brilliant food culture and stunning chocolate box architecture. When it comes to the most exciting city to live in though, it has to be Prague. The capital is visually beautiful, but also buzzes with all the life and excitement that you'd expect from such a successful city.
A Brief History of Prague and The Czech Republic
Prague has had a colourful history, from it's humble beginnings in 4000BC when the city was known as Bohemia and inhabited largely by Germans, to it's booming success as a capital today. Although there's plenty of ancient history to cover, there's simply not enough time; though if you are interested then plenty of tour guides offer scripted walks through the oldest parts of the town, which provide an invaluable insight into the city's history.
Focusing on 20th Century history, Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia in 1918 after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The castle which still stands today was to become the home of the first president. The KSC seized the country in 1946, but communism was hard on Prague and the city suffered years of harsh decline under its rule. Thankfully by 1990 the city was to become free from communism after it's first democratic elections. Following the success of Václav Havel as the new president, the country of Czechoslovakia was to be split into two separate countries: Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Less than twenty years ago, in 2002, the Czech Republic was approved as a member of the European Union and since then, the country has gone from strength to strength. They've formed a thriving economy, preserved centuries of stunning architecture and created a capital city that anyone would be proud to call their home.
Buildings of Note
As mentioned before, Prague has many architectural wonders; in fact, its gothic buildings have earned it the name of 'the city of a hundred spires'. Some buildings of particular note include The Powder Tower, a marvelously dramatic gothic tower that first served as a gate to the city. Studded with intricately carved sculptures, this dramatic tower was used as a gunpowder store during the 17th century, which is what earned it its nickname.
Any walking tour will take you past the Saint Nicholas Church and for very good reason. This imposing building took three generations of the same family to complete and it's not hard to see why. The delicate ceiling fresco is a spectacular example of the Baroque work of the time.
The Astronomical Clock or the Orloj, is another beautiful piece of design that really must be seen to be believed. It is one of the three oldest astronomical clocks in the world and the only one that still works. It is mounted on the wall of the Old Town Hall and every hour plays an enchanting scene in which the figures on the clock appear to come to life.
For those who revel in the idea of snow on Christmas and many an evening curled up by the fire, Prague is a veritable winter wonderland. This picturesque city, although absolutely freezing, really comes into its own in winter. Christmas markets pop up across the city and provide a huge variety of different offerings. Hot chestnuts or nuts coated in sticky caramel are top of the list when it comes to cold weather indulgences and can be found dotted around every town square. Market traders and local artisans also have their own stalls, offering homemade decorations that look charming adorning a Christmas tree, as well as soaps, candles and other pretty trinkets.
Photo by Karel Macalik, Attribution CC BY 2.0
Still, warm Trdelnik is a delicious treat on a chilly day
Owing to the cool climate, Prague is a great city for lovers of comfort food. Hearty meals that centre around stewed meat, potatoes and soft buttery vegetables are usually the order of the day. The soups are particularly good, with Kulajda, a creamy soup of mushrooms and potatoes, and garlic soup, being particularly warming on a cold autumn day.
Cold cuts are also hugely popular in the city, with Pražská šunka (Prague Ham) taking pride of place on many of the aforementioned winter markets. It's lovely to enjoy a generous slice of this wonderfully smoky ham, with a fresh, tart sauerkraut. Although perhaps not so much the case in history, Prague now caters very well to vegetarians. Potato pancakes are crispy and golden on the outside with flavourful fluffy centres. For dessert, Trdelnik is a delicious treat, comprising of hot cinnamon spiced pastry, cooked until golden and chewy and sprinkled with sugar.