Prague is one of Europe’s premier cities, with a wonderful mix of culture, food and a long history. It is a past that stretches back more than 1,000 years to when Prince Bořivoj began constructing Prague Castle in the late 9th century.
Today, the spectacular hillside fortress is just one of a number of fine examples of architecture dotted around the city that make a walking tour a must on any visit.
Here, in no particular order, are the Czech capital’s 10 most impressive buildings.
Dominating the skyline of central Prague with an area of almost 70,000 square metres is the largest coherent castle complex in the world. From the opposite bank of the Vltava River, this UNESCO World Heritage site is truly stunning when lit up at night time. At its heart is the towering gothic wonder of St Vitus Cathedral.
Surrounded on all sides by beautiful buildings dating from the 12th century onwards the city’s Old Town Square is a sight to behold. None are more attractive than Týn Church, which looks like something out of a Disney fairytale, with its twin towers topped with multiple spires.
Old Town Hall
The main reason to visit the nearby Old Town Hall is for its world-famous Astronomical Clock - an horological masterpiece originally built by Mikuláš of Kadaně in the 14th century. Every hour hundreds of people gather below and crane their necks upwards to watch mechanical figures, including Death, perform a symbolic routine.
The Dancing Building
Unlike the figures on the Astronomical Clock, the Dancing Building doesn’t actually move. It’s so called for its incredible curved facade and sweeping lines conceived by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and the well-known American architect Frank Gehry.
Petřín Observation Tower
Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Petřín Observation Tower is a 60m high, rocket-shaped needle situated atop the 318m tall Petřín Hill - meaning that you’re treated to quite a spectacular view once you’ve climbed the 299 steps to the top.
There are many bridges crossing the Vltava but none are more impressive than Prague’s oldest, the Charles Bridge. Completed in 1402, fortified towers guard either end of bridge, which is lined by huge statues of 30 saints.
Situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre is Prague’s ‘other’ castle, Vyšehrad. It’s dominated by the impressive twin black spires of the neo-gothic Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
Žižkov TV Tower
The 216m-high Žižkov TV Tower holds three accolades: the highest building in the Czech Republic; the highest observatory in the Czech Republic (93m); and the rather unfortunate title of the Second Ugliest Building in the World! You’ll have to take a look to judge for yourself.
Standing at the head of Wenceslas Square - a 750m-long and 60m-wide boulevard in Prague’s lively New Town - is the imposing facade of the National Museum, the largest and oldest museum in the Czech Republic.
The confusingly named Old-New Synagogue in Prague’s Jewish Quarter is Europe’s oldest working synagogue. It’s distinctive steep-sided sloping roof gives it a precarious appearance and it’s a delightful contrast to the brash modernity of the Žižkov TV Tower.