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Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 6, 2006
A fairytale setting for love
Known as the “Golden city of a hundred spires”, Prague is a fairytale destination crammed with romantic architecture. One of Europe’s most beautifully preserved cities, its heart‐stopping skyline is dominated by castle turrets, minarets and domes; everywhere there are picturesque clusters of ancient, pastel buildings. Steeped in history, each street is lined with Baroque and Gothic churches, and Wenceslas Square, the centre of the Velvet Revolution, is now a bustling commercial centre with pavement cafes and bars.
The city is bisected by the swirling Vltava river and overlooked by seven hills, one of which is surmounted by Prague castle and its royal parks and gardens. It is small enough to wander around on foot, but there are always horse‐drawn carriages for evening rides when the illuminated city really comes into its romantic own.
Prague also has a rich cultural history and is famed for its music, literature and puppet theatre. Native musical greats include Dvorak and Janacek, and the Prague Symphony orchestra and Czech Philharmonic rate amongst Europe’s best. It was also home to writer Franz Kafka and, of course, the writer and former president Vaclav Havel.
Start your meal with Bechoroova, a potent yellow liqueur, and move on to Budvar beer, the local pride and joy. Czech food is a rich and meaty affair featuring dishes like wild rabbit casseroles, venison, and potato and sour cream.
The Palffy Palace, with its high ceilings and gilt mirrors, is the perfect place for a lighter lunch al fresco on a long balcony overlooking a garden. For an intimate candle‐lit dinner for two, head to the Opera Grill with live piano music accompaniment. If you’re fond of art nouveau, go for The Hanavsky Pavilion, which has perfect views of the city. Macdonalds in Wenceslas Square is not very romantic, but might inspire a debate on the success of capitalism over communism. Kavarna Slavia, centre of the dissident movement in the past, is a must‐visit bar.
On Charles Bridge in the evening in full view of the illuminated castle, preferably with snow on the ground and the sound of classical music in the distance. Who could possibly refuse you?
Milan Kundera’s novels, delightful combinations of humour, romance, philosophy and politics, are frequently set in Prague. Try The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Joke, his short story collection Laughable Loves, or The Unbearable Lightness of Being ‐‐ also a memorable film starring Daniel Day‐Lewis and Juliette Binoche.
Vsechno nejlepsi k vasemu vryoci! = happy anniversary
Miluji te = I love you
Gratuluji = congratulations!
Vezmes si’ mie = will you marry me?
There is a good young crowd in Prague and bars and taverns stay open late. With Budvar beer going cheap, there is nothing to stop the revelry going on until well into the early hours. The U Flecku bar is the biggest in the city and the waiters automatically give you a new beer when your last glass is two‐thirds empty. You have been warned…