Exploring Prague - Part Three!
At the end of our last blog Exploring Prague - Part Two we were leaving Prague Castle and heading back into Prague centre. We are going to start this blog Exploring Prague - Part Three right there!
As we left Prague Castle behind and walked towards our chosen lunch location, we had a great view of the Vltava riverfront:
And the Charles Bridge:
Lunch at Forky’s
Less Eating, More Exploring!
Refreshed and ready, we made our way to the famous Charles Bridge (Karlův Most) for a closer look. On our way we walked by the Church of St. Francis Seraph (Kostel sv. Františka Serafinského) which was consecrated in 1688 by the Archbishop of Prague, Johann Friedrich von Waldstein.
And the Church of St. Salvator (Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora).
The Charles Bridge and surrounding area was packed with people, it was a struggle to get through at times. J who had been running early in the mornings (6am), to avoid the heat had been lucky enough to see all this area with no one else around. You will read online that very early or very late is the only way to see the bridge without the crowds that flock to it. In addition, as you walk across the bridge itself there are lots of stalls and vendors on both sides selling everything and anything which of course narrows the path over the bridge, but everyone has got to make a living!
Old Town Bridge Tower
Of course, the first thing you see as you approach the bridge from the old town side is the 14th Century Old Town Bridge Tower at the entrance. According to muzeumprahy.cz the Old Town Bridge Tower is:
“… one of the most impressive Gothic works in the world.”
Furthermore, they state that this gateway to the Old Town of Prague was conceived as:
“… a symbolic triumphal arch through which the Czech kings went on their coronation journey through the city to the Church of Sts. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.”
“… made of sandstone blocks, 515.76 m long, 9.5 m wide (it was one of the most powerful bridge constructions of its time), rests on 16 arches of unequal span from 16.62 to 23.38 meters. It was damaged several times by floods, inter alia in 1432 (5 pillars were demolished), 1784 and especially in 1890, when driftwood from the upper reaches of the Vltava River pulled down 2 pillars and 3 arches.”
I found a great article about the Charles Bridge here, definitely worth a read if you want a more in-depth knowledge of it.
With the crowds on the bridge I did not take photos as they would be filled with people and nothing else! I did snap some of the view from the bridge, on either side. These colourful buildings were on the left as we started to walk over. The neo-renaissance painted building on the right on the first photo below is the Bedřich Smetana Museum. The museum was founded in 1936. Previously the building was a water station.
Side view of the Bedřich Smetana Museum on the Vltava river:
In the next photo you can see further up the river, to the left as you walk over the Charles Bridge. The bridge in the distance is the Legion Bridge and the cluster of green trees that you can see is the Střelecký Ostrov Park and Gardens. The park is actually a small island accessed via steps from the Legion Bridge.
To the right as you walk over the Charles Bridge there is a lovely view of the river with Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral in the background:
The Charles Bridge is also famous for the statues that line it. According to historyofbridges.com:
“… the bridge received international fame for its inclusion of 30 statues of baroque-style that were added around 1700, but are now almost all replaced with replicas.”
Here is one of the statues:
Lesser Town Bridge Tower
As you exit on the other side of the Charles Bridge you will see the two smaller Lesser Quarter Bridge Towers, on the (Malá Strana) side. The smaller tower to the left in the photo below is the older of the two towers and is now a museum. Read more about these bridge towers here. You can also see how busy the area was in the photo.
We strolled around some of the streets once we left the bridge but it was just so busy we decided to make our way to the next tourist stop on our map, the Lennon Wall.
The Lennon Wall or John Lennon Wall
As the name would suggest, the John Lennon Wall is covered with John Lennon inspired graffiti, such as lyrics from The Beatles and it changes daily with visitors constantly adding to it. There were no artists “at work” when we visited, but there were dozens of “Instagrammers” doing their thing, with a queue in place to get the best shots!
Between fellow tourists and the parked cars that blocked the view, it was hard to get good photos (unless you wanted to queue as mentioned above) but it was cool to see it as I love street art.
You can still just about see the John Lennon Portrait on the wall:
I expected to see more artistic work on the wall but in reality it was just a lot of “tagging” with most of it impossible to decipher due to the amount of it. To be honest, I thought it was a shame that the John Lennon portrait had been almost completely covered by this but I am certainly not an art expert so what do I know!
The Buquoy Palace (Buquoyský palác) is located right next to the Lennon Wall. With its vibrant orange paint, you won’t miss it! This is the home of the French Embassy in Prague since 1919. According to prague.eu Buquoy Palace is:
“… one of the gems of Baroque architecture.”
Within walking distance of the Lennon Wall is Kampa Park and it was full of life on the day we visited due to the great weather. We walked around the Park and got some nice photos. You are rewarded with a closer view of the Střelecký Ostrov Park and Gardens and Legion Bridge.
And a great view back towards Charles Bridge and the Old Town Bridge Tower.
We sat in the park for a little while before deciding to have a coffee and cake in IF Café III (Cafe Werichova Vila) located within the park. They have a massive selection of cakes, it took me ages to choose one!
Coffee on board we walked on, continuing through Kampa Park where we passed some Art installations. Here is one of the Crawling Babies:
Another great view from the park:
We left the park and walked over the Legion Bridge to the other side of the river once again.
Home To Prague 8
It was at this point, after a long hot day of sight-seeing that we decided to head back to our Airbnb in Prague 8 and grab a nice cool beer along the way - so that is what we did! The perfect end to another great day of exploring.
Keeping reading, head straight to Exploring Prague - Part Four now!