Photography of Prague – Secret Gardens

Secret Gardens in Prague

What to see and do in Prague – Secret Gardens

You go to Prague to see:

-Prague Castle
-Walk over the Charles Bridge at sunset
-Visit St. Vitus Cathedral
-Watch the Astronomical Clock on the hour
-Plus various meals and coffee, dining on traditional Czech food
*And now, hopefully after reading my blog – Visiting the Mucha Museum and the Municipal House.

And in addition to the above list, there are the gardens. Prague has many gardens, some are easy to find and visit and others are difficult to find and truly secret gardens.

 There are a series of gardens belowPragueCastle. You can enter one and continue on into the others – they are all connected by passages and doors that if you were not looking for you would miss entirely.

— Small and Great Palffy Gardens are the first gardens which have many terraces and stairways to each level. It is worth the hike up to the top where the view of the city becomes increasingly expansive with each terrace.

From the first garden you can enter the second garden by going to the right of wall on the second terrace and passing through a small doorway, which will make you feel as if you are intruding onto a private garden, but you are not. Here you will find another stairway that leads up to a small fountain with lily pads. Behind the fountain are another staircase and more terraces.

— The last garden is the Ledebur Garden, which has unusual paintings covering the ceilings of a building on one end and a fountain with a statue of a giant at the other end.

— And of course there is the Royal Garden, that is part of the summer palace (you have to cross a bridge from Prague Castle to reach the summer palace). The Royal Garden is said to hold a singing fountain – the fountain in front of the summer palace. In order to hear the music you have to get very close to the fountain and almost touch your ear to the rim, if you close your eyes it helps to imagine that it is singing.

** I would add a visit to these gardens to the above list of things to do in Prague!

For more Prague gardens stock photography visit my stock photography site.

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PRAGUE – Alphonse Mucha part two

Municipal House in Prague

— Seeing the works by Alphonse Mucha in Prague —

The Municipal House in Prague is a magnificent Art Nouveau building built in 1911. The building was used as the Royal Court Palace but now serves as a cultural center with two concert halls, restaurants, reception rooms, and more. The Municipal House is a building I highly recommend seeing!

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Municipal House in Prague: Info and ticket prices

You can tour the Municipal House; the tour is wonderful and lasts about an hour and a half. It is best to buy your tickets for the tour ahead of time. Tickets are CZK 270 which is about 15 US Dollars or 10 Euros (be sure to check the exchange rates). * And you must purchase a special ticket (5 or 10 extra Euros) for permission to take photos inside!

The tour leaves the best room for last – the room that Alphonse Mucha designed and painted. Mayor Hall is a small room with a dome but it is the most impressive. The dome is painted so it is as if you are looking up into a cloudy sky with an eagle flying overhead and the edge is bordered with children peering down with smiles on their faces. The dome is held up with eight pendentives painted with historical Czech figures that symbolize human virtues: strength, militancy, maternal wisdom, vigilance, intractability, independence, faithfulness, and justice. Each of these paintings is exquisite. The room also includes three paintings that show a country’s suffering, strength, and looking towards the future.

Mucha designed the room, from the paintings to the windows to the decorative panels.

* For more information about the Municipal House visit the official website by clicking here.

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Mucha also spent many years on The Slav Epic, a series of twenty paintings depicting the history of the Slavic and Czech peoples. These paintings are on display in Moravsky Krumlov, a chateau in the Czech Republic – which I plan to see one day!

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Alphonse Mucha was a gifted artist who represented his country with pride in his paintings. You can see more of Mucha’s work at the Mucha Museum in Prague, another stop you cannot miss. Plus you can buy many posters in their great gift shop (I have four)!

* To see Mucha’s paintings in the Municipal House stock photography click here for my stock photography site.

Travel tips for Prague – the main sights to see

I was sixteen years old when I first went to Prague , Czech Republic. I had traveled to Europe before but it was my first time in Eastern Europe and it certainly lived up what I expected – a fairytale location of castles, bridges, towers, and more.

My first visit to Prague was a quick tour, visiting the main sites, and a bit of free time to explore and all of this was with Trafalgar Tours. Trafalgar is a great way to travel since they show you the highlights along with a personal touch of a knowledgeable tour guide.

On that tour, years ago, we stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the old town and thus had the opportunity to take the metro and since I was on this tour with my grandparents who are veteran travelers and eager to “go local” the metro was a must. I think we might have been the only ones of the tour group to take the metro. But that first night involved seeing the old town square at night and walking across Charles Bridge . I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time.

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Main Sights in Prague:

– Charles Bridge is a must see. The bridge was constructed in 1357 and completed in the start of the 15th century. The bridge crosses the Vltava river and served as the only connection between the Old Town and Prague Castle until the mid 19th century. There are 30 statues along the bridge of patron saints and saints (the originals can be seen in the National Museum ).

– The following day we toured the Old Town Square and watched the famous show of the Astronomical Clock on the hour every hour, as the figures of the apostles turn and move through the windows. The clock was built in 1410 and draws huge crowds every hour, so make sure to get there at least ten or fifteen minutes before the hour to get a good spot and hold your ground!

– We also visited shops full of bohemian crystal and purchased necklaces and bracelets.

– And then of course we visited Prague Castle . The castle occupies a large area and takes a whole day to see. One of the best ways to approach the castle is by crossing the Charles Bridge and making your way up to the castle, it give you the perspective of the grandness and fortification of the castle. The main attractions include St Vitus Cathedral (to be covered more later, in another post). The Church and monastery of St George has an interesting Basilica and the National Gallery is located in the monastery and has a wonderful collection of Bohemian art.

Visiting different sections of the castle provides a view of dungeons, large halls, and countless views of the city below. And of course there is the Golden Lane , a charming street with brightly colored houses that now hold shops but used to be were many goldsmith’s resided; the Golden Lane is like a scene from a Hans Christian Andersen story. And on the far side of the castle there is the St. Wenceslas Vineyard which you can walk through and it is also a great spot for panoramic photos of the city.

Those are the highlights.

Coming later will be other must see sites, at least on my list!

To see my photos of Prague visit my stock photography site.