Prague is known for its UNESCO-listed Old Town, the Charles Bridge, the Vltava River, the Prague Castle, and the Dancing House. Prague is also famous for its rich history and culture, musical legacy, stunning architecture, abundant art scene, vibrant nightlife, and culinary temptations.
To fully understand the enthralling city everyone falls in love with, we’ve prepared 33 things Prague is known for.
From gigantic fortresses to breathtaking architecture, and from mouthwatering delicacies to famous musicians who called Prague home, let’s explore the Czech capital!
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The Historical Landmarks Prague Is Famous For
The Czech capital abounds in historical attractions. In this section, you’ll discover the top landmarks Prague is popular for.
- Prague Castle (Prazský Hrad). With a whopping area of 718,609 sq. ft. (66,761 sq. m), Prague Castle is large and impressive, and it’s one of the city’s top tourist attractions. The complex dates back to the 9th century and acts as the official office of the president of the Czech Republic.
- Charles Bridge (Karlův most). The majestic construction over the Vltava River is one of the main reasons why Prague is so popular among tourists. Except for being a favorite spot for cityscape photography, the story of the Charles Bridge is what makes it so attractive. The superstitious King Charles IV inaugurated the construction on July 9th, 1357, at exactly 5:31 AM. That might seem random, but he was following a palindrome – a numerical sequence you can read the same way from both ends. In writing, the date and time create the 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1 sequel. Plus, there are stories about the bridge being haunted by several ghosts That’s one of the craziest facts about Prague, isn’t it?
- The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Prague. Yes, Prague has only one site on the list, but it’s not a single building or a monument. The whole historic center of Prague is included. In the labyrinth of its cobblestoned streets, you can find architectural wonders and magnificent monuments erected between the 11th and 18th centuries. They include Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, and many other gorgeous churches and palaces that King Charles IV built in the 14th century.
- The Dancing House (Tančící dům). What started as a collaboration between architects Frank O. Gehry and Vlado Milunić quickly became one of Prague’s most famous architectural symbols. Inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the building showcases the capabilities of architecture. It features a terrace with panoramic views of the city. And the good news is, you can book one of the 21 luxurious rooms that are for rent in the Dancing House.
- The Petřín Lookout Tower. The tower stands on Petřín Hill and resembles the Eiffel Tower. However, the Petřín Tower is smaller than its French equivalent. Still, with its 197 ft. (60 m) of height, it is enough to provide one of the best vantage points in the city. You’ll only have to climb 299 stairs to the top to be rewarded with breathtaking views of Prague.
- Žižkov TV Tower. This awkward Soviet-era structure looks like it’s about to fly into outer space. The Žižkov Tower is also popular because figures of creepy-looking crawling babies cover its façade. David Cerny, the author of the installation, wanted to provoke with his creation. No matter what you might think of the result, the tower seduces with astonishing vistas. You can enjoy a 360°-panorama from the observatory, a fine meal at the restaurant, a trendy cocktail at the bar, or a night of luxury at the unique One Room Hotel.
- The Old-New Synagogue (Altneuschul). The temple is the oldest active synagogue in Europe and the first Gothic structure in the Czech capital. Its fame stems from the gorgeous façade of the building, and admiring it should be part of your Prague itinerary. You’ll find the Altneuschul in the Jewish Quarter, which is one of the best areas to stay in Prague.
- The National Museum (Národní Muzeum). Prague’s National Museum is the oldest in the Czech Republic. Apart from the amazing exterior, inside, you’ll discover countless exhibits. They make up different collections, such as anthropology, archaeology, arts, music, and zoology.
- The Astronomical Clock (Pražský orloj). When asked “What is Prague known for?”, many people would answer “The Astronomical Clock”. As part of the medieval Old Town Hall Tower, the Pražský orloj is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world. What’s curious about the clock is the procession of the Twelve Apostles. You can witness it every time the clock strikes an hour between 9:00 AM and 11:00 PM.
- St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrala St. Vita). St. Vitus is the biggest and most important Christian church in the country. Located within the Prague Castle complex, this Roman Catholic temple dates back to 1344. It was erected on the site where a Romanesque rotunda stood centuries earlier.
- The Prague Zoo (Zoo Praha).The Prague Zoo is home to 650 different species, including several almost extinct animals. This zoo is among the best zoological parks worldwide thanks to the combination of its size and the variety of animals. 140 acres of land offer an unforgettable experience. Inside, you’ll also find a petting zoo and an adventure playground.
- The 34 bridges over the Vltava River. Many consider Prague one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the bridges over the Vltava River contribute greatly to this title. Sure enough, there are cities with more bridges (for instance, Amsterdam has 1,753 bridges). But the way these 34 structures shape Prague’s landscape is unmatched. No wonder every picture of the city looks like a postcard. Crossing at least a dozen of them is a must when you tour Prague.
- Wenceslas Square. Just 10 minutes on foot from Old Town Square, you’ll discover Wenceslas Square. As a famous Prague social hub, the place is also the vantage point of all cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. The square houses shops, cafés, and cocktail bars.
- Vyšehrad. This historic fort overlooks the Vltava River. Estimates suggest Vyšehrad (“Upper castle” in Czech) is around 11 centuries old. It houses the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Rotunda of St. Martin. The Vyšehrad Cemetery contains the remains of famous historic figures such as Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and Karel Čapek.
The Distinctive Culture and Lifestyle of the Czech Capital
When it comes to art, culture, and lifestyle, the Czech capital can easily rival cities like London, Barcelona, and Paris. In this section, we’ll show you the culture and lifestyle Prague is famous for.
- Central Europe’s biggest club. Except for the historic sites Prague boasts, it is also a nightlife hotspot bursting with energy. The presence of Karlovy Lázně is a testimony of that. The five-story complex is full of bars, dance floors, and peculiar establishments such as an ice bar.
- The John Lennon graffiti wall. The John Lennon graffiti wall is the greatest example of Prague’s pop culture vibes. Artists and travelers have been adding graffiti to the wall since the early 1980s, including lyrics, images, and even poems dedicated to the legendary rock star. You can find the wall at Velkopřevorské náměstí.
- The Vltava River. The mighty Vltava River has played a major role in the life of Prague and its citizens. Varieties of river cruises offer exceptional views of the city’s landmarks from a different perspective. The cruises are among Prague’s top attractions.
- Prague’s musical scene. No matter your preferences, Prague can surpass your wildest music desires. The Czech capital hosts numerous venues, events, and festivals. Classical music fans can enjoy spectacles at the Municipal House and the Rudolfinum. Every year, Prague becomes the scene of world-famous musical festivals like the United Islands Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Dvořák Festival, and many more.
- The endless shopping opportunities. Prague is known for being a dream shopping destination. The popular and exclusive Pařížská Street, as well as the ultra-modern shopping centers Smíchov, Chodov, Arkády Pankrác, and Palladium, are a true heaven for shopping-thirsty travelers. If you prefer buying art and antiques, head to Karmelitská Street.
- The “Man Hanging Out” (“Zavěšený muž”) sculpture. There is a figure in the Old Town that people often mistake for someone who intends to take his own life. In fact, it is a witty artwork depicting the image of Sigmund Freud. The neurologist had a fear of dying, and the sculpture’s author represented his phobia when creating the piece.
- The Rudolfinum. One of Prague’s most impressive landmarks serves as a home to the world-famous Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The Neo-Renaissance building located on the bank of the Vltava River is a beautiful example of Prague’s well-preserved architecture.
The Foods and Drinks Prague Is Most Famous For
The Czech capital is among the best cities to enjoy finger-licking delicacies. In this section, you’ll discover the foods and drinks Prague is known for.
- The delicious Czech beer. Czechs are the reigning world champions when it comes to beer consumption per capita. They devour a whopping 188.6 liters (398.6 U.S. pints) each year. The incredible variety of Czech beer is probably one of the reasons for this title. Czechs have held this crown since 1993.
- The Prague ham. Prague is a top destination among foodies from all over the world. The popular Pražská šunka (Prague ham) should be on top of your must-try local food list. The delicacy is cured in brine, stewed, and finally smoked, resulting in a mouthwatering treat.
- The deep-fried cheese. The traditional recipe for the deep-fried Smažený sýr is simple, but the result is always a feast for your taste buds. Several types of cheese come together for its preparation, including Czech varieties such as the Niva blue cheese and the Hermelin soft cheese.
- The Czech desserts. When asked what dessert Prague is famous for, locals are likely to mention the chimney cake. In Czech, it goes by the name of trdelník, and although invented in Slovakia, it’s extremely popular in Prague as well. The roasted pastry is the kind of finger-licking goodness you will remember forever. Other local cuisine treats include medovnik (honey cake) and apple strudel.
- The Golden Snake, Prague’s first café. Prague is famous for its coffee culture. So, it’s no wonder the first café in the city opened its doors in the 18th century. Since 1714, the Golden Snake has been a preferred location for coffee lovers from around the world. You can discover its cozy vibe on Karlova Street.
The Curious and Incredible Facts Prague Is Known For
The city doesn’t disappoint when it comes to peculiarities. In this section, you’ll discover the most surprising facts Prague is famous for.
- The City of a Hundred Spires. Except for being dubbed The Golden City and The Mother of Cities, Prague is also known as The City of Hundred Spires. There are more than 120 large spires and towers scattered across the city, among hundreds of smaller ones. Trying to count all of them is hard as they are more than 1,000.
- One of Prague’s most famous streets is also its narrowest. Tourists from all over the world love to visit Vinárna Čertovka Street. The reason? It’s merely 20 in (50 cm) wide. Traffic lights on both ends ensure the safety of passersby.
- The legend of the Astronomical Clock. The story has it that the Old Town councilors decided to blind the clock’s creator, Hanus Carolinum. They wanted him to never create something as brilliant as the Astronomical Clock again. Though a gruesome legend, it’s part of Prague’s curious history.
- The famous musicians who lived and performed in Prague. Several historical figures worked in the Czech capital. Beethoven put on two piano concerts in Prague. Mozart had a few of his operas in the city. Franz Liszt resided in Prague for more than six years and performed many concerts there. Many other Czech composers – Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and Leoš Janáček – performed in the Czech capital as well.
- Prague has had a co-working space since 1902. Café Louvre is an elegant establishment with a chic interior and a massive capacity of around 700 people. It served as a daily office equipped with a writing room and a telephone used for business purposes. Now, that’s an innovative idea for the early 1900s, isn’t it?
- The first Michelin-star restaurant in a post-communist city. The Czech capital became the first post-communist city with a Michelin-star restaurant. The establishment at the Four Seasons Hotel received this honor in 2008. The hotel’s restaurant is no longer open, but the title for Prague remains.
- The Prague Christmas Markets. The Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square become the scene of fairytale-like Christmas Markets (Vánoční trhy). The festive mood of the event continues throughout the holiday season and lasts until the first week of January. The Christmas Markets light up the city, bringing locals and visitors together in a true “winter wonderland” setting.
How Many of the Things Prague Is Famous For Did You Already Know?
This wraps up our list with 33 incredible things Prague is known for.
The Czech capital teems with art, culture, historical landmarks, heart-stopping bridges, and delectable seductions.
One of our best Prague travel tips would be to take it slowly when discovering the magical city that straddles the Vltava River.
Now, let us know:
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Prague?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.