Thursday, 31 August 2017

CZECH REP: Prague The Mother of Cities, Avoid Deceptive Taxi Drivers, Don't Change Money On Streets

Wenceslas Square
Prague is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. The city is famous for its unique medieval architecture, the historical centre of Prague is inscribed in the World Heritage List.

It is the 14th largest city in the European Union.It is also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.4 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of 2.2 million.The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its history. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV - 1346–1378.

It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.

Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petrin hill and Vysehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe.

Jan Palach a university student, became a Czechoslovakian martyr when he set himself ablaze in protest to the Warsaw Pact intervention against the Prague Spring reforms, which liberalised government policies and human rights restrictions. Palach died three days later from his injuries.

Palach's funeral erupted into mass protests against the government. Many Czechoslovakians mourned Palach and sympathized with his ideals including Jan Zajíc, who killed himself in the same fashion as Palach to encourage his countrymen to fight the Warsaw Pact occupation of the Czechoslovakian nation.

A little more than two months later, on Good Friday, Evzen Plocek also set himself ablaze in the town of Jihlava. However, Plocek's protest went largely unnoticed since his death was not reported by the media. In 1989, twenty years after Palach's death, large scale protests were held in what became known as Palach Week, a precursor to the Velvet Revolution later the same year.

Prague is classified as an Alpha global city according to GaWC studies.Prague ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016.Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 6.4 million international visitors annually, as of 2014. Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome.

This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by WWII, Prague's medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her.

Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.

It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming, colorful and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Vienna and Krakow. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.

During the thousand years of its existence, the city grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vysehrad in the south, becoming the capital of a modern European country, the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union.

Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century, many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age. The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

The English spelling of the city's name is borrowed from French. Prague is also called the City of a Hundred Spires, based on a count by 19th century mathematician Bernard Bolzano, today's count is estimated by Prague Information Service at 500.Nicknames for Prague have also included: the Golden City, the Mother of Cities and the Heart of Europe.

Prague is situated on the Vltava river, at 50°05"N and 14°27"E.in the centre of the Bohemian Basin. Prague is approximately at the same latitude as Frankfurt, Germany;Paris, France;and Vancouver, Canada.

The city of Prague lies between oceanic climate and humid continental climate. The winters are relatively cold with average temperatures at about freezing point, and with very little sunshine. Snow cover can be common between mid-November and late March although snow accumulations of more than 20 cm (8 in) are infrequent. There are also a few periods of mild temperatures in winter.

Summers usually bring plenty of sunshine and the average high temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Nights can be quite cool even in summer, though. Precipitation in Prague and most of the Bohemian lowland is rather low, just over 500 mm,20 in per year since it is located in the rain shadow of the Sudetes and other mountain ranges.

The driest season is usually winter while late spring and summer can bring quite heavy rain, especially in form of thundershowers. Temperature inversions are relatively common between mid-October and mid-March bringing foggy, cold days and sometimes moderate air pollution. Prague is also a windy city with common sustained western winds and an average wind speed of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) that often help break temperature inversions and clear the air in cold months.

The city is traditionally one of the cultural centres of Europe, hosting many cultural events. Some of the significant cultural institutions include the National Theatre or Narodni Divadlo and the Estates Theatre - Stavovske or Tylovo or Nosticovo divadlo, where the premieres of Mozart's Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito were held.

Other major cultural institutions are the Rudolfinum which is home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Municipal House which is home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra. The Prague State Opera or Statni opera performs at the Smetana Theatre.

The city has many world-class museums, including the National Museum or Narodni muzeum, the Museum of the Capital City of Prague, the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Alfons Mucha Museum, the African Prague Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Naprstek Museum or Naprstkovo Muzeum, the Josef Sudek Gallery and The Josef Sudek Studio, the National Library and the National Gallery, which manages the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic.

There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city. It hosts music festivals including the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Prague Autumn International Music Festival, the Prague International Organ Festival and the Prague International Jazz Festival.

Film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World Film Festival and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The city also hosts the Prague Writers' Festival, the Prague Folklore Days, Prague Advent Choral Meeting the Summer Shakespeare Festival,the Prague Fringe Festival, the World Roma Festival, as well as the hundreds of Vernissages and fashion shows.

Many films have been made at Barrandov Studios and at Prague Studios. Hollywood films set in Prague include Mission Impossible, xXx, Blade II, Alien vs. Predator, Doom, Chronicles of Narnia, Hellboy, Red Tails, Children of Dune and Van Helsing.Other Czech films shot in Prague include Empties, EuroTrip, Amadeus and The Fifth Horseman is Fear.

Also, the romantic music video Never Tear Us Apart by INXS, Diamonds from Sierra Leone by Kanye West was shot in the city, and features shots of the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock, among other famous landmarks. Rihanna's Don't Stop the Music video was filmed at Prague's Radost FX Club.

The city was also the setting for the film Dungeons and Dragons in 2000. The music video Silver and Cold by AFI, an American rock band, was also filmed in Prague. Many Indian films have also been filmed in the city including Yuvraaj, Drona and Rockstar.

Forbes Traveler magazine and TripAdvisor listed Prague Zoo among the world's best zoos.

With the growth of low-cost airlines in Europe, Prague has become a popular weekend city destination allowing tourists to visit its many museums and cultural sites as well as try its famous Czech beers and hearty cuisine.

The city has many buildings by renowned architects, including Adolf Loos (Villa Muller), Frank O. Gehry (Dancing House) and Jean Nouvel (Golden Angel).

Recent major events held in Prague:

- International Monetary Fund and World Bank Summit 2000

- NATO Summit 2002

- International Olympic Committee Session 2004

- IAU General Assembly 2006 (Definition of planet)

- EU & USA Summit 2009

- Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2009

- USA & Russia Summit 2010 (signing of the New START treaty)

The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but pollution often hovers over the city due to its location in the Vltava River basin.

Prague has a temperate climate with variations throughout the year. Average temperatures in Prague you can find there.

In the winter, Prague has definitely its own magic. The snow may cover the surface but it sooner or later melts, so it doesn't usually last too long. However, the weather is pretty unpredictable so it very well may burst into a snow storm but that is not very common. In some years the weather is very mild with no snow at all, so beautiful snowy roofs are not guaranteed.

Spring season is one of the best times to come for a visit, especially in the month of May with the flora beginning to bloom after months of hibernation.

The summer is a very popular time to travel and you can expect to see an influx of tourism throughout the warmer months. The weather is warm and sunny but sometimes the heat waves can be overwhelming, so people with respiratory problems may have some trouble, this is also the country's rainy season.

Colourful and chilly,these two characteristics define the fall/autumn season. Getting dressed warmly is a must because the wind and overcast sky may get in your way. Nevertheless, there are also beautiful sunshine days that practically call you out for a walk.

Many Prague residents have a small cottage which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chata, plural form chaty are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects.

Each reflects its owners' character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. There were no Home Depots under communism. Chata owners used the typically Czech - it's whom you know - chain of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today.

People had to be careful building these cottages to make them nice, but not too nice that the party officials would take them for themselves. Many were designed to look dilapidated on the outside, but on the inside they are nice and comfortable. Chaty are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.

Confusingly, several incompatible district systems are used in Prague. Partially, different systems are from different historic periods, but at least three different systems are used today for different purposes. To make things even worse, a single district name can be used in all the systems, but with different meanings.

The old district system is used. In this old system, Prague is divided into ten numbered districts: Praha 1 through to Praha 10. If you encounter a higher district number, a different system is being used. For example, Praha 13 is part of the old Praha 5 district.

The advantage of the old system of ten districts is that it is used on street signs and house numbers throughout the city, so you can always easily determine the old system district you are located in.

Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city, the original Town of Prague, and has by far the densest number of attractions. Praha 2 also contains important historic areas. In this central area, the old district system or any of the newer systems is too crude to be practical, a finer division is needed.

Traditional city quarters provide such a division. Their disadvantage is that they are somewhat incompatible with the modern district systems although quarters are smaller than the old system districts, a single quarter can belong to two or even more districts.

The advantage is that these central quarters are well known and widely used and identical with the homonymous cadastral areas shown on on street and house number signs along the old district designation, allowing easy orientation.

Buildings in big cities in Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red. The blue ones are the orientation numbers, it is the ordinal number of the building on its street. Historically these numbers always started from the end of the street which is closer to a river. As is normal in Europe, odd numbers belong on one side of the street and even numbers on the other.

This allows you to find quickly the house you are looking for. The red numbers are related to the house register of the entire quarter,for example, Stare Mesto, and thus usually correspond to the order the buildings in that district were constructed. Most people do not remember them; if somebody says e.g. the house is in Dlouha str. number 8, they will usually mean the blue number. Red numbers usually have 3 or more digits.

Castle (Hradcany)— The historic nexus of the city, and the highest point on the left bank. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a small part belongs to Praha 6.

Lesser Town (Mala strana)— The settlement around the castle; location of most governmental authorities, including Czech Parliament. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a very small part belongs to Praha 5.

Old Town (Stare mesto)— The nucleus of the right bank, the oldest part of Prague. The whole Old Town belongs to Praha 1.

New Town (Nove mesto)— The district adjacent to Old Town, established in the 14th century. Large parts of the New Town belongs both to Praha 1 and Praha 2. A small part belongs to Praha 8.

Jewish Town (Josefov)— A small enclave within Old Town, the old Jewish ghetto. The whole Jewish Town belongs to Praha 1.

Vysehrad — The site of the old Vysehrad castle south of the medieval Prague. The whole Vysehrad belongs to Praha 2.

North - Praha 7, Praha 8 and Praha 9. Praha 7: The large river peninsula just north of the city center. Includes the districts of Letna, Holesovice, Bubny, Bubenec, Troja as well as a small part of Liben. Praha 8: Karlin is the small strip of land sandwiched between Zizkov and the river and bordering the old town on the west side. Karlin belongs to Prague 8 and prior to 2002, it was a rather unsavory part of the city.

After the flood of 2002, Karlin was revitalised and is fast becoming a somewhat conservative, cosmopolitan, professional-class area. On the north-east side, Prague 8 balloons out and encompasses urban areas, business premises and furniture/homeware shopping districts. This is generally not regarded as a tourist area.

East - Praha 3, Praha 10, Praha 14 and Praha 15. Zizkov is the name of the district referred to as Prague 3. Previously a working class suburb, Zizkov is home to many expats, short term travelers and university students; and sits on a hill on the right side of the old town. The plentiful array of intriguing and often unusual bars and restaurants, combined with a small but dedicated culture of poets, artists and musicians, gives the area its reputation for being both fun, relaxed and alternative.

It is considered one of the more Bohemian districts of Prague.

South - Praha 2, Praha 4, Praha 11 and Praha 12. A large part of Praha 2 is divided between historic quarters of New Town and Vysehrad described in individual articles. The remaining part includes most of Vinohrady. Praha 4 is the biggest and most modern district in Prague.

West - Praha 5, Praha 6 and Praha 13.

Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. There are three terminals; Terminal 1 for non-Schengen flights and Terminal 2 for Schengen flights are connected whilst Terminal 3 for private jets is two stops away by bus. Located 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the city centre, it generally takes about 30 min to reach the city centre by car. The airport is served by a number of airlines, Czech Airlines (CSA) being the national carrier operating the highest number of flights. Check airport website for list of all carriers and destinations.

How to travel between the airport and the city center:

Public buses offer connections to several metro stations, from which you can travel to the city center in a total travel time of 45 minutes. Public transport tickets, which are valid on the buses, metro, and trams can be bought from kiosks called Public Transport in the arrivals halls credit cards accepted.

No American Express cards, the DPP kiosk in the arrivals area of Terminal 1, or the vending machine next to the bus stop outside the terminals,1 vending machine accepts cards.

Tickets are available in time increments of 30 minutes (24 CZK), 90 minutes (32 CZK), 24-hours (110 CZK) or 3-days (310 CZK). You can also buy a 90-minute ticket from the bus driver only cash, but it costs 40 CZK. You can transfer between the buses, metro, and tram for no additional charge as long as your ticket has not expired.

Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get on the bus by sticking it into a yellow machine with green glowing arrow, or you may be subject to a fine of 800 CZK if you are caught. Info on the schedules and routes can be obtained here.

Buses that operate between the airport and the metro stations are as follows:

- Bus #100 to Zlicín - Metro Line B (18 minute ride). Departures every 10-20 minutes from 5:41-23:36, usually less crowded than #119.

- Bus #119 to Nadrazí Veleslavín - Metro Line A (17 minute ride). Departures every 3-10 minutes from 4:23-23:44. This bus is recommended if your destination is anywhere near the center.

- Bus #191 to Petriny - Metro Line A (24 minute ride) and metro B Andel (48 minute ride). Departures every 20-40 minutes from 4:57-23:31.

- Night Bus #910 going via Arbesovo náměstí (36 minute ride) and I. P. Pavlova (42 minute ride). Departures from the airport every 30 minutes from 23:52-3:56, every 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday night.

- Airport Express Bus (Bus AE), operated by Czech Railways, departs from Terminal 1 every 15-30 minutes from 05:30 to 21:00. It costs 42 CZK if bought online or 60 CZK if paid to the driver. The bus doesn't make any stops on its way and terminates at the main train station (Hlavní Nadrazí).

- Door-to-door shuttles are operated by various companies with stands in the arrivals hall. The cheapest shuttle is Prague Airport Shuttle (290 CZK per person). Other companies charge 400-500 CZK to the city center.

- Taxis cost 400-800 CZK to the city center. Fix Taxi and AAA Taxi have exclusive contracts with Prague airport. When you buy your voucher from the taxi stand, you will get a coupon for 20% off of the cost of your trip back to the airport.

- Door-to-door private transfers are offered by many companies for fixed prices. This service must be booked in advance and the driver will be waiting for you at the airport with a sign with your name. They usually cost 500-800 CZK to the city center. Chosen companies: Transfer-Service.cz,Transfer-Service.cz, Prague Airport Shuttle, Transfer Prague, 24-ATP, T&A Transfers.

- Rental cars are useful for exploring the Czech Republic beyond the city of Prague. Numerous rental companies have desks at the airport, in the ground floor of Parking C. For a price, the cars will include GPS for navigation. You should not use rental car if you just want to travel around Prague, especially in the city center.

The airport has three Terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 are close to each other and host most of the flights, whereas Terminal 3 is somewhat further on the highway and serves mainly private and charter planes. When going back to the airport, remember to look up the terminal number so that you can arrive directly to the correct one.

The airport is quite big, modern and spacious. Considerable walking time may be needed between the security control and the exit gate. In terminal 1, gates A have 15 minutes walking time and gates B have 10 minutes walking time. In terminal 2, gates starting with C have 5 minutes walking time and gates D are located directly behind security.

- Unlike other airports, there is an extra control on the size of your hand-luggage operated by the airport authorities.

- There is unlimited free Wi-Fi access in whole airport.

- There are smokers' lounges near many gates.

At arrival, it is possible to exchange currency before leaving the baggage drop area, but you will get much better rates in the city. Another option is regular ATMs at Terminal 1 and 2 which can be found after exiting baggage claims. Turn right after going through doors, walk a few meters, the ATMs will be in the right hand side in Terminal 2 and on the left hand side in Terminal 1.

These ATMs will have more favorable rates compared to the Travelex ones in the baggage claim.

Pardubice Airport, is a small airport 100 km near Prague on main railway. New airport terminal is being built now, scheduled to open in September 2017. There is a train station, Pardubice hlavni nadrazi from where you can go to Prague,travel time 50 - 60 minutes, price varies by rail company and time, approx 140 CZK). Flights:

- St. Petersburg by Rossiya airlines (every Sunday)

- London Stansted by Ryanair from 5th September 2017 (every tuesday, thursday, saturday)

Prague is very well connected with the rest of the European rail network, and trains run daily between Prague and most major European cities. Trains in the Czech Republic are operated by Ceske drahy or Czech Railways, RegioJet, and Leo Express. The high-speed SuperCity train is a great option for exploring the major cities in the Czech Republic.

It connects Prague to the eastern city of Ostrava and also Austria and Slovakia in the south. Since 2014 a high-speed RailJet has been deployed on the Prague – Brno – Vienna – Graz route. The Railjet trains travel at line speeds of up to 230 km/h with modern, fully air-conditioned open spaces carriages.

Berlin: 4¾h, EC trains every 2 hours

The train line from Berlin to Prague passes through the Erzgebirge mountains, and for a couple of hours the passengers are treated to a series of beautiful alpine river valleys, surrounded by rocky escarpments and mountains.

Munich: 5¾h, 4 regional expresses a day. Alternatively you can use non-stop bus operated by German Railways (5h, 4 buses a day).

Vienna: 4h, Railjet train roughly every 2 hours. Tickets approximately €19 one way if purchased in advance.

Linz: 5h, 2 REX trains a day

Bratislava: 4h, EC train every 2 hours; one night train Metropol

Budapest: 7h, 5 EC trains a day; one night train Metropol

Warsaw: 8h, 3 EC trains with transfer in Ostrava; one night train Sirava

Direct night trains connect Prague also with Cologne, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Zürich, Basel, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For ticket prices see Czech Republic#By train.

All international trains arrive at Praha hlavni nadrazi,the central station, abbreviated to Praha hl.n. which has a connection with Metro Line C. The station has undergone a major refurbishment in 2010.

Beware of the taxi drivers operating from the official-looking taxi rank alongside Praha hl.n.; they will attempt to charge a fixed price of CZK1760 (~$100) for a trip within the city center zone, or more than this if you want to travel further.

The park in front of the main train station is a haunt for some of the city's undesirable elements and should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, it's best to avoid coming through the park and approach from the Southeast along Washingtonova. As you get to the corner of the park there's a police station, so the likelihood of running into problems from this direction is minimalised.

Prague has several bus stations. The main bus station for international buses in Prague is Florenc, metro lines B and C. It is located east of the city centre not far from the City Centre. Numerous domestic long-distance buses also depart from here e.g. for Brno or Karlovy Vary.

Other bus stations are:

- Na Knizeci station located at Andel metro station (line B) serves towns in south and southwest Bohemia including Cesky Krumlov, Ceske Budejovice, Pisek or Strakonice.

- Zlicin station located at Zlicin metro station (line B) servis towns in west Bohemia including Plzen, Klatovy, Domazlice, Beroun or Kladno.

- Cerny Most station located at Cerný Most metro station (line B) serves towns in north and east Bohemia including Liberec, Hradec Kralove, Spindleruv Mlýn or Trutnov.

Other, less frequently used bus stations are at Nadrazi Holesovice (metro C) and Dejvicka (A). Local suburban buses depart from various metro stations throughout the city.

Regiojet, Eurolines, Ecolines , Leo Expres , Polski Bus , Flixbus and Orange Ways connect Prague to major European cities.

Tickets for international and long-distance buses should be preferably purchased in advance (online or at bus station), tickets for local buses are usually sold at driver.

Prague has highway connections from all around. Highways, expressways very similar to highways and having the same speed limit and first-class roads in the Czech Republic meet European standards and are well marked, with many gas stations alongside. Other roads are usually uneven and poorly marked.

When travelling on highways and expressways, you must have a vignette,except for small in-town sections which are extempt and marked so. You can buy ten day, monthly or annual vignettes at gas stations, post offices or border crossings CZ government motorway site. You should fill your license plate number on it and place it on your windscreen from the inside, in the lower right-hand corner.

Failure to display the vignette is fined on the spot. The vignette has a second part which you fill in with your license plate number as well and save it for any future police check-up. If your car is over 3.5 tonnes, you need toll unit or premid instead which is required on first-class roads as well marked with M in a circle.

The southeastern highway D1, E50 and E65 is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway but it's undergoing a massive reconstruction so expect delays and diversions. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for about 270 km (165 mi) and usually takes about two hours to Brno.

The southern highway (D3, E55) is not completed up to Prague, part of D1 and then first-class road 3 are used instead; traffic is very heavy on this road. There is also a southern expressway R4 but it goes on the other side of Vltava and is in quite a bad shape.

The southwestern highway (D5, E50) leads through Plzen to Germany where it continues as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (151 km / 94 mi).

To the west, there is expressway R6 (E48) leading to Karlovy Vary and Cheb. Only about one fourth is completed with heavy traffic in the other sections.

The northwestern expressway R7 leads to Chomutov and Chemnitz. Near Prague, only very small part is finished. Vaclav Havel Airport is located on this expressway.

To the north, you can take highway D8 (E55), but it is not complete to the German border. It ends now at Lovosice,about 60 km / 37 mi from Prague and starts again in Usti nad Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig).

To the northeast, you can take expressway R10 (E65). It leads to Liberec and Turnov. It is not regarded as an important access route as there are no major cities in this direction - Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland, but it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerske hory and Krkonose or Riesengebirge with the best Czech skiing resorts.

To the east, you can take the newly completed D11 (E67) which goes to Hradec Kralove and Poland.

About half of the city is encompassed with the ring expressway R1 while the other half is still waiting to be completed. During work days, prefer to use this road instead of going through the jammed city as many GPS suggests.

Lot of Czech highways are unfinished and are under development (D8 and D11 being extended, D3 to Ceske Budejovice and Linz was supposed to be completed in 2020 but has been delayed and no new date has been set, so things will get better. Unless there are road works, there are only seldom traffic jams on Czech highways with the exception of D1 between Prague and Mirosovice where first-class road 3 splits.

Prague suffers from heavy traffic and on week days the main streets are one big traffic jam. It is a really good idea to use the P+R or park and ride parking places where you can park your car for a very small fee and use public transport,however these are usually full on week days as well.

The P+Rs are situated near all highways and are well marked. Note that traffic wardens are rife and parking in most residential streets in and around Prague city centre without a valid permit will result in a parking fine. In particular, avoid blue-marked areas which are residents-only all time and cars are regularly towed away.

Orange and green-marked areas are designed for 2-hour and 6-hour paid parking but spots are usually hard to find; parking in these areas is mostly unlimited and free on weekends and during night but check the signs. There is a reasonable number of other paid parking options in the centre though, such as Vaclavske garaze, Mr. Parkit or Vincipark.

Public transportation is very convenient in most of the areas visitors are likely to frequent. One key thing to note if you are staying outside of the the city centre is that public transport buses do not enter the historic districts such asOld Town, New Town, Lower Town, etc., so as to prevent air and noise pollution. One must transfer to a cleaner and quieter electric-powered tram or a metro before reaching historic areas.

Prague is renowned as a very walkable city. For those who enjoy seeing the old and new city by foot, one can easily walk from Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square, or from the Old Town to Charles Bridge and the Castle District. However almost all of the streets are cobbled, rendering it very difficult for disabled or elderly travellers to get around effectively. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian cross-walks.

Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on a red man, and if caught this incurs a fine of 1000CZK.

There are three metro or subway lines, numerous bus and tram or streetcar lines, regional (S) trains within Prague, as well as a funicular to Petrin hill and few ferries across Vltava river - all integrated in Prague integrated transport (PID).

The tram and bus schedules are posted on the stops, and the metro operates from early in the morning around 05:00, until approximately midnight. Buses and trams start earlier and finish later to connect to metro. Between 11pm and 1am you an use trams going to the depot, sometimes taking unusual routes. The schedules, maps and prices may be consulted at their website.

Prague public transport is fast and efficient when you know how to use it. Sometimes you have to change a few times - the schedule website is the best way to plan your trip. If you get lost, you can take some bus / tram, almost all lines pass through a metro station where you can orient yourself.

Tickets and prices valid from July 2017:

- 24 CZK – full ticket: 30 minutes - transfers allowed, children get 50% discount

- 32 CZK – full ticket: 90 minutes - transfers allowed, children get 50% discount

- 110 CZK - 24-hour ticket, children get 50% discount

- 310 CZK - 3-day ticket (72 hours), you can take one child free of charge with you

- 550 CZK - Monthly pass, but also requires obtaining a photo ID (+150 CZK)

Children under 15 years get the discount. Children under 6 years travel free of charge.

As you can see, the 24-hour or 3-day tickets are not economical unless you plan to travel more than 4 times a day for 90 minutes (6 hours).

Buy your tickets here:

Ticket machines - sell 24, 32, 110 CZK tickets,take coins only but do return change, sometimes also contactless cards. Some new machines also accept all credit cards and banknotes,currently installed at the airport and at main train station.

Tobacco shops, convenience stores - usually 24 and 32 CZK tickets only

Prague Public Transit offices - usually located at Metro stations and the airport, sell all kinds of tickets

Bus but not tram drivers - sell the 32 CZK tickets for a higher price of 40 CZK

Czech Railways ticket offices - sell the 110 CZK tickets validity is printed on the ticket, so ask them to set it to the date and time you need

EC/IC trains - sometimes the conductors of these trains offer the 110 CZK tickets for sale before arrival to Prague

via SMS - service working for all operators, you have to send an SMS in format: DPT32, or DPT24 or DPT110 or DPT310 to cell number 90206 and your sms ticket comes in about 2 minutes.

Validate your ticket by slipping it into one of the yellow boxes in the tram or bus, as soon as you board. In the metro, validation boxes are located inside the stations before the stairs. After having changed the tram/bus, you must not validate it again. Be sure to keep it handy until it expires.

Tickets are not checked upon boarding, but usually uniformed in metro or plain-clothed in a tram or a bus ticket inspectors often make the rounds asking to see your ticket. An unstamped ticket, or a ticket which has been stamped more than once is invalid,it will be confiscated, and you will incur a 800 CZK fine when paying on the spot, penalty fare desk or by bank tranfer within 15 days otherwise supplementary charge raises to 1 500 CZK.

Bank account details are provided in a record of transport inspection that you will receive. Don't sign the form and don't forget that you are not obliged to pay on the spot in any case! Even though fare dodging seems easy in Prague and it is almost impossible to collect fine abroad, you should invest in the cheap ticket for the simple reason that Prague's transportation works perfectly and it functions on the honor system.

Public transport continues at night and it's fairly extensive. Night trams or night buses (00:00 to 05:00) usually come every 30 minutes. Every 15 minutes during this time, trams leave the central exchange stop of Lazarska in the centre of Prague. All night trams go through this stop. You can easily change tram lines here if nowhere else. At all night exchange stops, trams and buses wait for the connecting tram/bus.

Do not underestimate how close to the footpath the trams will be when they reach the stop. It's safer to take a few steps back before the tram arrives, as wing mirrors could cause injury for taller people. In Metro, you should stay behind the dashed safety line on the floor about half a meter from the edge of the platform. On an escalator, it is customary to stand on the right side and walk up on the left side.

When you use public transport in Prague, keep in mind that it is good etiquette to let elderly people, pregnant women or disabled people sit down.

Try to avoid getting taxi on the street,public transportation is always the better option in Prague and if you have to, try to negotiate the price in advance. If you take a taxi on the street, you should know that maximum price designated by city council per kilometre is 28 CZK/km (approx 1€).

Prague Taxi services:

- Green Prague, 18 CZK/km when ordered online, site available in English

- AAA Radiotaxi, 26 CZK/km site available in English, mobile app available

- City Taxi, 24 CZK/km site available in English

- Halo Taxi, 24 CZK/km site available in English

- Kuryr Taxi, 20 CZK/km mobile app available

- Modry andeel, 28 CZK/km site available in English, mobile app available

- Nejlevnejsi Taxi, 18 CZK/km site available in English, mobile app available - Part of Taxi Praha with cheapest prices but sometimes low on free cars. Check you have rate No. 4 on the taximeter.

- Profi Taxi, 26 CZK/km

- Sedop, 23 CZK/km

- Speedcars, 28 CZK/km mobile app available

- Taxi Praha, 24 CZK/km site available in English

- Taxi Praha 14007, 28 CZK/km site available in English, mobile app available

- Taxi Premier, 17 CZK/km site available in English

- Tick Tack, 28 CZK/km for luxury Audi cabs with wifi site available in English, mobile app available

Since 2014 mobile taxi apps have become widespread in Prague. The advantage of using a taxi app is that you always get a fair price, all payments are done by card, there's no need to call anyone, and you can get a taxi at any time in less than 10 minutes.

Uber, the global taxi giant, officially illegal in the Czech Republic. If you have an account from any other country, you can use it in Prague as well. New clients get a 400 CZK bonus for signing up. App available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. In rush hours it may be more expensive than maximum price allowed by city hall.

Liftago, the local equivalent to Uber which uses official cabs rather than regular cars. Around 30% more expensive than Uber. New clients get a 300 CZK bonus for signing up. App available for Android and iOS.

Deceptive taxi drivers are another trap that can badly surprise a tourist. Mostly they charge more than they should.

The municipal council has been trying to solve this problem since the Prague mayor dressed up as an Italian tourist and was repeatedly overcharged. The most frequent cases of cheating happen between the central station or airport and hotel. If you must take a taxi, and cannot call one directly or call your hotel for a referral, the best way to find a reputable one may be to look for a hotel and ask them to call a taxi.

Most hotels in Prague have a deal with taxi services or they have their own hotel taxi which usually charges you 50% or more than the taxi companies listed above.

At the most busy and most lucrative locations in the city centre like the Central Train Station - Hlavni nadrazi, Venceslas Square, Old Town Square, Parizska, Karlovy Lazne there is about 90% chance of being ripped off by a taxi driver if you don't speak Czech. These locations are apparently occupied by a small mafia of taxi drivers which don't hesitate to charge you 2-10 times more the actual price.

If you have the chance rather walk a little bit more and take a taxi somewhere else, or use public transport.

Taxi drivers at the Central Station may show you a printed card that details flat fares for travel within the city. This is completely a scam. Don't fall for it.

If the cab doesn't have a taxi-meter don't even enter it.

Always insist on having the taxi-meter turned on and ask for a printed receipt once you leave the taxi. The receipt should have the driver's name, address and tax identification number included. Even though you ask for a receipt the taxi-meter could be tampered with using the so called turbo, which will cause the taxi-meter price to go sky high. It's advisable to keep an eye of the total in the meter and make sure that it is visible.

If you decide to flag down a taxi on the street make sure you stop a car with the logo of one of the major companies. It's not a bullet proof solution, but at least you have some chance to get some satisfaction from the taxi dispatching company.

About two years ago, an information desk was set up on most taxi stands in the city, with orientation prices to most popular destinations from that stand. But there is a flaw in the local law, which actually allows some of the taxi companies renting the taxi stands specifically around Old Town square to charge VERY high prices,about 99CZK/Km.

There is an ongoing law suit regarding this, however the practice still hasn't stopped. The most infamous company in this regard is a recently created AAA Taxi s.r.o. deliberately creating its name to resemble regulated and popular AAA Radiotaxi Praha, however AAA Taxi cabs charge up to four times more for a ride, they even do not provide services to Czech customers.

Visitors are advised to use the services of proved phone-order taxis, as they are even reports of robberies with street cruising taxis.

If you don't speak Czech, then be prepared: There is about a 50% chance you will be cheated by the driver, if you hail a taxi in the city center.

If you are convinced you got overcharged by the taxi driver, mark the car ID numbers,license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name, etc. and contact the company which the driver is working for,if any or police.The problem is that you have to testify against the driver, which is kind of hard when you're on the other side of the world. Try to avoid suspicious taxis and when in doubt, walk away and catch another taxi.

Some hotels offer taxi services. Make sure to compare the price with other companies. Some hotel taxis are cheap but others are more than twice the price and the car is not always identified as being a taxi. Most of hotels in Prague have deal with taxi services or they have own hotel taxi and usually charge you by 50% or more then companies written above.

You can travel down the famous Vltava River or Moldau in German, which inspired writers and composers such as Smetana and Dvorak.

The Prague Steamboat Company offers sight seeing cruises as well as trips to the Prague ZOO or the Slapy River Dam.

There also few small passenger ferries across the river, integrated to the Prague's public transport tariff.

Attractions in Prague

Prague Castle or Prazsky hrad; This is the biggest ancient castle in the world, according to Guinness World Records, and rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery, several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others.

You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. A Prague castle ticket is 350 CZK and an audio guide costs a further 350 CZK.

Charles Bridge or Karluv most connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.

Old Town or Stare mesto; Prague's historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock or Orloj, the pure GothicTyn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed.

Old Town features many historical churches such as St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Tyn among others and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.

Josefov; this historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue or Staronova synagoga is Europe's oldest active synagogue and it is rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamental building of Moorish style. Other attractions include the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house.

The Old New Synagogue is NOT a part of the Jewish museum, so if you wish to see everything, it is recommended that you buy a combined pass to all of the Jewish attractions for 480 CZK.

New Town or Nove mesto; New Town was established as an extension of Old Town in the 14th century, though much of the area has now been reconstructed. The main attraction here is Wenceslas Square, a rectangular commercial square with many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look.

Midway down this historic boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views Henry Tower, romantic restaurants and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.

Lesser Town or Mala strana; Across the Vltava River from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned. The Lennon Wall, which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime, is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge.

Infant of Prague or Jezulatko. This famous statue of Christ, known also as the Holy Infant of Prague, is among the most widespread religious images in the world. The original statue can be seen in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Lesser Town.

Loreta. A beautiful Baroque convent in the Lesser Town.

Strahov Monastery or Strahovsky klaster; A monastery on the mountain. Worth a visit for both its picture gallery and its notable Renaissance library.

Prague Dancing House or Tancici dum also known as Fred and Ginger; one of the most fascinating architectural expressions of Prague co-designed by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry. Accessible from Karlovo namesti metro station.

Vysehrad. A nice castle well worth a visit.

Petrinska rozhledna. A smaller version of the Eiffel Tower on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague. Climbing the tower costs 120 CZK for a standard ticket or 60 CZK for discounts. Paid lift available (60 CZK).

Prague Giant Metronome A huge monument erected to replace the Stalinist monument that preceded it.

Memorial to the 1989 Velvet Revolution A simple brass plaque at 20 Narodni. From Cafe Louvre, walk toward the river. You will enter an archway, and after just a few meters, look at the wall on the left.

Prague Zoo. To get there, take Metro C to Nadrazi Holesovice, then bus 112 which terminates at the Zoo. Nearby is the Troja Chateau or Trojsky Zamek with a large garden displaying various sculptures and a Botanic Garden or Botanicka zahrada Troja with a tropical greenhouse.

Prague christmas markets. The atmosphere of the Prague Christmas market was then enriched by fairground attractions, there used to be singers who showed the horrific scenes illustrating the songs stories.

Vitkov Hill. Climb up the Vitkov hill to reach the National Memorial and the surrounding landscaped garden from where you can have a beautiful view of Prague skyline.

Museums

Czech National Gallery or Narodni galerie. Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace up to to the Baroque, St George Convent or Czech Baroque and Mannerism and Veletrzni Palace of 19th century and modern art. The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery which is worth visiting on its own right. Also interesting is the Museum of Czech Cubism at the House of the Black Madonna in the Old Town.

Czech National Museum or Narodni muzeum. An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvorak and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.

Prague City Gallery. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th Century Czech art in a beautiful medieval edifice. 19th Century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.

Czech Museum of Fine Arts. 20th Century Czech art and changing exhibitions.

Museum of Decorative Arts. This 17th century palazzo-style building houses examples of historical and contemporary crafts, as well as applied arts and design.

National Technical Museum or Narodní technicke muzeum. Amazing collection of motorcycles, cars, aircraft and commercial vehicles, plus many examples of communist-era technological engineering. Reopened in February 2011 after extensive renovation works.

Military Museum. Showcases the uniforms, artifacts and maps relating to the Czechoslovak armed forces during World Wars I and II.

Jewish Museum. This covers six separate places four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.

Mozart and Dusek Museum. Dedicated to the works of Mozart. The Museum of W. A. Mozart and the Duseks is closed from November 1st, 2009 until further notice.

Prague City Museum or Muzeum hl. m. Prahy. An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.

Mucha Museum. A museum of the Czech artist Alfons Mucha.

Kafka Museum. There is also a permanent exhibition at Kafka's house.

The Pedagogical Comenius Museum. A museum documenting the writings of the Czech Renaissance erudite.

The Mueller Villa. A work of art of the well known Viennese architect Adolf Loos from the beginning of the 20th Century.

Museum of Communism. Interesting exhibits on how Communism changed Czechoslavakia, but skewed toward a particular view of history though this is the way most Czechs see it.

Karel Zeman Museum. The Karel Zeman Museum presents the life’s work of the world renown film maker Karel Zeman and his cinematic special effects, which made Czech cinematography world famous in the 20th century. A substantial part of the museum is dedicated to his most significant films, Journey to Prehistory, An Invention for Destruction, and Baron Munchausen.

Museum also provides workshop of animation and special film effects. The museum’s playful approach to the exhibition is unique, it allows visitors to participate directly - to try out with their own photo and video cameras selected special-effect techniques that Zeman used in his films.

Lobkowicz Palace, Art museum near Prague Castle with a Classic Midday Concert at 13:00, combo tickets,Museum Admission and Concert sell for 590kc, and a Lobkowicz Palace Restaurant & Cafe featuring the best panoramic view of Prague. Adult Admission/Student&Senior/Family: 275/200/690kc.

There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Miniature Museum at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Wax Museum, Torture Museum, Postal Museum and Brewery Museum at the Old Town and the Aviation Museum at Kbely.

Modern Arts

DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art. Newly opened gallery for modern arts, modern EU gallery style. Huge white building with lot of exhibitions, installations and interesting objects to see. Located at Poupětova 1, Praha 7 near industrial district Holesovice subway red line C is quite long way from the center but definitely worth to see. You can check the exhibitions during day (around 1-2 hr) and on the trip back to Holesovice visit the legendary underground grown up Cross Club.

MeetFactory

Museum Kampa. A museum of modern Central European art.

Jaroslav Fragner Gallery, contemporary architecture. You can find here profiles of influential people and groups, retrospective exhibitions, thematic exhibitions, recent movement in architecture. Gallery provides lectures, seminars and publishing, regarding central Prague the JFG became a centre for architects, professional and general public, students of architecture and construction companies.

Sightseeing.

As with many major European cities, you can get a good deal by buying a tourist card. Be discerning when choosing based on your needs (for example, cards may list free entry to locations that are normally free anyway - this concerns Prague Pass). Here are your options:

Prague Card. All-top attractions inclusive tourist card with tradition since 1991, is valid for 4 days and grants free entry to over 50 top attractions in the Prague area. You will receive a book with information on all the free attractions and many discounts,Prague Walks excursions, airport transfer, shopping, Mucha and Kafka museum etc. and a voucher for each attraction.

You can only enter the attraction with a valid card AND a voucher. The card does not include public transport and a separate ticket will have to be bought. The Prague Card costs 790CZK. You will not save much with this card.

With the Prague Card you can visit Prague Castle (350 CZK), Old Town, Malá Strana and Charles Bridge historical towers and other attractions, Observatory (20 CZK), small copy of Eiffel Tour (100 CZK) and Mirror Maze at Petrin Hill (90 CZK), Vysehrad all castle including his casemates and gallery, many New Town Museums and Galleries and several castles outside centre of Prague.

Welcome Card TVCzechia. Free admission to Prague castles and towers as well as a lot of discounts in Prague and Karlovy Vary region. 990CZK.

Card advantages are that the card will grant admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250CZK. Many of the town's museums and galleries including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value.

As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum.

Prague Pass. Will give you free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 1 year period, various discounts, sightseeing tours and 72 hours of public transport, including metro, tram, bus, funicular, and train all for 860CZK.

Card Benefits There is something for everyone with Vysehrad and its casemate or catacombs and basilica, take a boat trip through Prague on the river Vltava or Moldau, effortless up in the TV tower with the best panorama of Prague or enjoy a ride on the Petrin hill cable railway. The whole city in one hall a time travel to the past in Prague’s historical most significant museum.

Don't fear the sharks and marvel at the blaze of colors in the Sea World Aquarium, a magical ride at a performance of a Black-Light-Theater or let your soul swing at a concert in a church. River Navigation Museum, Army museum, Aviation museum and the UNESCO certified auto museum PRAGA all for free. Some of them however have free entry.

Also in your pack is a free map of Prague and a program guide booklet as well as a free welcome present. You will also receive discount coupons for several discounts of up to 50% for guided sightseeing and city-walking tours, Mozart museum, galleries, concerts, internet use, computer games, real laser game or for Rent a Car (25%).

National Gallery Gift Ticket— If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a darkova vstupenka or gift ticket for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions both permanent and non-permanent of National Gallery.

Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 CZK, for two persons 1000 CZK. For 240 CZK you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all Old Art exhibitions of National Gallery e.g Sternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anezka Convent, basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you 450 CZK.Or in some days you can go for free with Free admission days.

Prague or Praha is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. The city is famous for its unique medieval architecture, the historical centre of Prague is inscribed in the World Heritage List.

This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by WWII, Prague's medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her.

Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.

It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming, colorful and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Vienna and Krakow. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.

Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century - many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age.

The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.

The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but pollution often hovers over the city due to its location in the Vltava River basin.

Prague has a temperate climate with variations throughout the year. Average temperatures in Prague you can find there.

In the winter, Prague has definitely its own magic. The snow may cover the surface but it sooner or later melts, so it doesn't usually last too long. However, the weather is pretty unpredictable so it very well may burst into a snow storm but that is not very common. In some years the weather is very mild with no snow at all, so beautiful snowy roofs are not guaranteed.

Spring season is one of the best times to come for a visit, especially in the month of May with the flora beginning to bloom after months of hibernation.

The summer is a very popular time to travel and you can expect to see an influx of tourism throughout the warmer months. The weather is warm and sunny but sometimes the heat waves can be overwhelming, so people with respiratory problems may have some trouble, this is also the country's rainy season.

Colourful and chilly,these two characteristics define the fall/autumn season. Getting dressed warmly is a must because the wind and overcast sky may get in your way. Nevertheless, there are also beautiful sunshine days that practically call you out for a walk.

Many Prague residents have a small cottage which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chata,plural form chaty, pronunciation of ch as in Bach, are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects.

Each reflects its owners' character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. There were no Home Depots under communism. Chata owners used the typically Czech it's - whom you know chain - of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today.

People had to be careful building these cottages to make them nice, but not too nice that the party officials would take them for themselves. Many were designed to look dilapidated on the outside, but on the inside they are nice and comfortable. Chaty are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.

Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. There are three terminals; Terminal 1 for non-Schengen flights and Terminal 2 for Schengen flights are connected whilst Terminal 3 for private jets is two stops away by bus. Located 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the city centre, it generally takes about 30 min to reach the city centre by car.

The airport is served by a number of airlines, Czech Airlines (CSA) being the national carrier operating the highest number of flights. Check airport website for list of all carriers and destinations.

If you are tired from walking or just don’t have enough time this is your best option. Riksha can get into nice old tiny streets and parks where you can’t get with buses or cars. It is also very personal and flexible. You can discuss the route before departure. Most rikshas are on Old Town Square or you can also make order in advance.

There are many opera and Black Light Theatre companies in Prague. Prague is so called home of black light theatre. There are several performance groups that cater to tourists. They aren't strictly to be avoided, but common sense should tell you that the opera advertised by costumed pamphleteers is not going to be up to truly professional standards.

- AghaRTA Jazz Centrum.

- The Estates Theatre.

- Ungelt Jazz & Blues Club.

- HILT black light and shadow theatre.

- Black Light Theatre.

- Prague Shakespeare Company.

- Festivals.

- Prague Spring - the most famous classical music festival in Czech republic.

- Prague Folklore Days- the biggest folk dance festival in central Europe.

- Prague Advent Choral Meeting.

River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music.

- Cruise Prague. Offers a wide range of regular and private cruises.

JazzBoat. Combines cruising and jazz concerts.

Prague Flights.Offers sightseeing flights by airplane, helicopter or in hot air balloon and tandem skydiving.

Treasure Hunt Prague. Treasure Hunt Prague is a dynamic team competition, that makes use of modern technology and GPS-enabled tablets and let's you visit a wide range of historical monuments in Prague in a record time. Suitable for larger groups and companies.

Prague Sports gives you the chance to play a range of sports from football, cricket, rugby union, and hockey in Prague. Packages can be tailor-made to include accommodation, transfers, activities etc.

Lakshmi Tantric Massage Temple offers a special intimate treat for body and soul. An intense experience for all of your senses, discover the Tantric refined sensuality in a magical Indian atmosphere. Slavy Hornika 17,Prague 5 - Kosire. 7 days: 09:00-21:00.

For the travelers who wants to get a real taste of Prague, you can join real native people that will show you their city around. Everyday with small groups they share their passion of the Magical city during 90 minutes walking tours. This service is free, guests choose their tip. Learn about the main landmarks but also the everyday life, the best addresses from young energetic, fun and educated guides.

The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find the exact same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path.

Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague, they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.

In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city.

There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take Na Prikope street - the 18th most expensive street in the world,measured by the price of property, with famous shopping arcades Cerna ruze or Black rose and Palac Myslbek and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle.

There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square. The other typical,if rather expensive Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones gathered near the town of Turnov are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity.

Parizska street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious and expensive boutiques in Prague.

Popular shopping Centres

Palladium - situated directly in the city centre, it's the newest and perhaps most luxurious shopping mall. On the top level (+2) are some moderate to expensive restaurants and a food court with McDonald's and a few other options. Tram/metro station Namesti Republiky.

OC Letnany - the largest shopping mall in Czech Republic located near metro station Letňany (free of charge OCL and T,E,S,O bus). In addition to famous brand shops this shopping mall offers its visitors cinema, aqua center and ice rink services.

OC Chodov - a huge shopping mall with hypermarket located slightly further away from the centre at metro station Chodov.

Sestka - new shopping mall just 1 station from the Prague Airport. Very far away from the center but ideal for last minute shopping before your departure. Take bus 119 from Dejvicka metro station.

Palac Flora - medium-sized shopping mall with IMAX cinema in the top floor. Tram/metro station Flora.

OC Novy Smichov - big shopping mall with 2-floor Tesco hypermarket, a cinema, bunch of fast food on the top floor and very close to metro/tram station Anděl.

Metropole Zlicin - medium-sized mall with a cinema, hypermarket Interspar, fast foods, huge parking lot and near the metro/bus station Zlicin. If you are hungry after your flight, take a bus 100 from the airport to Zlicin and then just walk few meters to this mall and buy something to eat.

There are several interesting design shops in Prague. All of them are worth visiting when wanting to treat yourself or searching for gifts and souvenirs.

BOTAS 66 store – Original Czech sneakers since 1949. Retro sneakers from the communist era with a fresh modern award-winning facelift. Handmade in Czech Republic. Krizkovského 18, Praha 3 right next to Zizkov TV tower and Skorepka 4, Praha 1.

De-Sign - De-sign.cz is an online and physical shop as well as gallery and studio. Focusing on Czech materials such as glass and porcelain, de-sign.cz cooperates with traditional workshops, colleague designers and visual artists. Sladkova 7 170 00 Praha 7

Dox by Qubus - Reflecting the top of Czech design, Dox by Qubus is a progressive concept of sales gallery by Jakub Berdych. Poupetova 1, Praha 7

Hard De Core - Well established Art Gallery, where young Czech designers can present and sale their original products. Part of the gallery is dedicated to a brand Chi-chi by designer Josefina Bakosova. Senovazne nam. 10, Praha 1

Chatty – A studio focusing on custom made tailoring and produce of limited collections of luxury causal clothes. CHATTY style is defined by progressive cuts, solid technology, attention to details and original prints on fabric. Hastalska 21, Praha 1

Kuraz – Kuraz means courage. An extraordinary shop with original fashion, design and jewellery by Czech and Slovak designers. Benediktska 7, Praha 1

Modernista – Modernista offers wide selection of original Czech porcelain and glass from cubism and functionalism to contemporary Czech designers. Celetna 2, Praha

Odivi – Clothes you can wear in most of the night and day situations. Collections combine comfortable fabrics with original design. Plzenska 33, Praha 5

Papelote – An original Czech stationary brand offering a wide selection of notebooks, sketchbooks, textile book covers and much more. Vojtesska 9, Praha 1

Room by Basmatee – Of the leading stores of men's urban fashion in Prague. Studio offers exquisite selection of apparel, accessories and shoes by original brands. Skolska 7, Praha 1

Tribu – The shop offers its own collection as well as wide selection of jewellery, fashion clothes and accessories by top Czech and foreign designers. Frantiskanska zahrada, Praha 1

The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown or koruna, abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK. The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank

Sometimes it is also possible to pay with Euros,hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds, KFC, Marks & Spencer, Albert and Billa supermarkets, etc. also accepts British pounds, but the exchange rate may be slightly unfavourable and change is almost always given only in Kc.

In Prague, especially around tourist sights, there are plenty of Exchange offices with very bad rates which also charge commission. Be sure to always ask the employee how much money you would get before you give them your money,there might be some commission fee included which might not be easily visible at first sight. It is also advisable to ask at several nearby Exchange offices before changing your money.

The best place to exchange money is at eXchange office located in the centre of the city is in Kaprova Street 14/13. If you take a print out of the VIP coupon from their website you would receive the preferential VIP rates. The office is open till 20:00. One of the best rates are found around Main Railway Station or Hlavni nadrazi, exit the station, left across the park, to street Politickych veznu.

There are about 5 offices, mostly arab-owned, and offer very good rates even for smaller amounts, and even better or negotiable for higher,over 1000 EUR, USD or such. A very good exchange place is to the left of Palladium Shopping Centre's main entrance, it's called Alfa Prague. With VIP rate probably the best place in the centre.

Generaly, most exchange places have websites where you can download a picture of VIP voucher which, when printed and presented at the exchange office, will allow you to use VIP rates which are better deal.

Most atm of the city charge you a commission and give you bad exchange rate, unicredit bank atm are one wich don't charge anything and give you the right exchange rate.

Never risk changing money on the streets. Organized gangs operate in central Prague near exchange offices and target unsuspecting tourists by offering a better rate. Instead of giving you koruna, they will instead give you another currency, such as older Byelorussian rubles.

A video by Honest Guide helps to demonstrate how these gangs operate and may also help to recognize the particular individuals involved.

In other cases, one of them will take your money when offering to trade, whilst one of their accomplices distracts you. When you realize that the rate is unfavorable and take back your money, you will instead find that they have given you a worthless Czechoslovak banknote.

The best way to stop those gangs is to simply avoid anybody on the street who offers to change money.

It is extremely useful to carry around a fair amount of cash, because not every place will take cards. However, the museums and most sizable restaurants do accept credit cards, and that is probably the best way to get a fair exchange rate.

If you arrive early, there are money exchange machines at the airport right outside the customs on arrival. Those machines only accept Euro bills and they don't give change. The exchange rate is bad, and the machine charges hefty 10% commission.

However if you need money for the bus to the city and only have cash this would be your only option. Make sure you have a 10 Euro bill for the machine, which should be enough to get you anywhere into the city by using public transport without wasting too much money.

Wine & Dine in Prague

Every weekday between 11am and 2pm you can enjoy a discounted lunch menu in almost every restaurant in Prague. As a tourist you'll encounter a few barriers: the menu is in Czech only and the waiters will be reluctant to present you with a copy of it unless you explicitly ask for it: 'denni menu, prosim'. After that it's up to your luck on what to pick, but it's gonna be a nicely cooked typical meal and will cost under 5 euros, sometimes a soup included as well.

In 2008 the Allegro restaurant received the first Michelin star in the whole of the post-Communist part of Central Europe. It retained its star until 2011. As of 2016 there are three Michelin starred restaurants in Prague: Alcron, La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise and Field.

In Mala Strana, Stare Mesto, Zizkov and Nusle there are hundreds of restaurants, bars and pubs, especially with Czech beer. Prague also hosts the Czech Beer Festival or Cesky pivni festival, which is the largest beer festival in the Czech Republic, held for 17 days every year in May. At the festival, more than 70 brands of Czech beer can be tasted.

Prague is home to many breweries some of them:

- Pivovary Staropramen (Praha 5)

- Prvni novomestsky restauracni pivovar (Praha 1)

- Pivovar U Fleku (Praha 1)

- Klasterni pivovar Strahov (Praha 1)

- Pivovar Prazsky most u Valsu (Praha 1)

- Pivovarsky Hotel U Medvidku (Praha 1)

- Pivovarsky dum (Praha 2)

- Jihomestsky pivovar (Praha 4)

- Sousedsky pivovar U Bansethu (Praha 4)

- Vyukovya vyzkumny pivovar – Suchdolsky Jenik (Praha 6)

- Pivovar U Bulovky (Praha 8)

Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or chicken with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish and beef is not as popular, though these days it is widely available.

Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings or ovocne knedliky, crepes or ice cream. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.

The tip should be about 10% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the bill or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise it's customary to leave at least 20-40CZK or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas along the river, or with views near the castle will charge a cover or kovert in addition to your meal charge.

If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it bread, ketchup, etc.

If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. It should be noted that some waiters are impolite especially to people from the eastern part of Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.

If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it.

Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs or parek v rohliku,they're far superior to the greasy, messy version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out Czech rolls are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterwards.

This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it, unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 crowns for a small one to 45 crowns for the terrifying-looking gigant.

Note that size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length. Try the trdelnik, a traditional tube-shaped pastry, which can be found at street vendors in Old Town for 50 crown.

Beware of food stalls / street vendors in Wencelas Square. Some of them will target tourists by providing them with extra products they did not ask for and not giving enough change. These stalls are also by far the most common place tourists get food poisoning in Prague.

Beer is by far the most popular drink in Czech Republic, so it can be bought literally everywhere. The Czechs usually prefer lager beer, similar to traditional German Reinheitsgebot one, so don't expect to find a lot of ale taps in local breweries, after all, it is completely different beer culture.

Pubs or hospoda abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell or Plzensky Prazdroj and Budweiser Budvar or Budejovicky Budvar.

There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 CZK, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 CZK for an euro-sized glass.

At a grocery store a half liter bottle may cost 15 CZK. Drinking in public is illegal in Prague, but if you are not drunk and disorderly, or in a large group, it will probably not cause trouble. Don't be afraid to experiment with different beer brands, even if they are not mentioned here, you may discover your best.

In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join. Prague has also many excellent tearooms or cajovna which serve different kinds of teas from around the world.

Czech is the official language of Prague and the Czech Republic. Simple words and phrases in other Slavic languages for example Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Polish are also commonly understood. Slovak can also be acceptable to a high extent, as Czech and Slovaks have historically understood each other without the need of a translator. Both languages are very similar and mutually intelligible to a very wide extent.

Most young people speak English very well, you will also have no problem speaking English at restaurants and bars. Many restaurants have English menus. The people at counters in train and metro stations, and police officers rarely speak English. Russian is widely understood by people who were attending school before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but the language is too different from Czech to be understood without study.

In addition, some people may dislike using Russian even if they know it because of the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Communist history in general. Many Czechs also have some knowledge of German. People studying after 1989 and even some older people can speak English. However, learning Czech will surely endear you to the locals.

Accomodations

Prague has a wealth of accommodation options, many of them within walking distance of the town centre. Peak season generally runs from April to October and a major influx of visitors can be expected during New Year as well. Prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high in the peak season and reservations are advised.

Otherwise, the main train station, Hlavni nadrazi, has an accommodation booking service for hotels and hostels upstairs. Normally, tax and breakfast are included in the room rate.

Around Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, there are many touts offering cheap accommodation. Many are Czech residents renting part of their apartment for extra cash. Prices don't vary much between them, but some may not be trustworthy so be cautious. Check out for reviews of the Apartments and Hosts.

Even during peak season, dorm rooms in hostels close to the city center can be had for around 350CZK per person per night. Prague has its share of rough and ready youth hostels with a party vibe, but there are many with a more relaxed atmosphere and some housed in beautifully restored buildings as fancy as any hotel.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, with or without shared bathrooms, for much cheaper than a pension or hotel room. There is a boutique design hostel movement with many hostels rivaling hotel accommodations.

For those looking for something a little different, a botel or boat hotel may be an appealing option. Usually relatively well placed, with gorgeous views. Most are moored on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5, but the best is to stay in Prague 1, next to monuments to visit by foot, in the Lesser Town district Mala Strana or in the Old Town - Stare Mesto. Prices vary from €20 to €120 per person.

Zizkov - Prague 3 is easy accessible to Prague city centre and prices are very friendly, there are lot of hotels mostly 3 stars with low prices, double room in season a 60,-Eur low season a 28,-Eur include breakfast. Most of hotels and vacation rentals are on line tram number 9 from Venceslas Square.

Citizens of EU can work in the Czech Republic without a work permit, but it is necessary to be registred at a Labour Office,your employer should register you at the beginning of your working stay.

Prague is probably the best place to foreigners to look for a job because there are many multinational and English speaking companies.

It is quite easy and cheap to buy a local SIM card with 3G access. Packages vary so check before purchasing.

Many hostels and hotels offer free internet on shared computers or over a wireless network, so ask before you shell out extra at one of Prague's many internet cafes.

Almost all McDonald's, Burger King and KFC fast food restaurants offer unsecured, free WiFi networks to paying customers. Most other restaurants and cafes offers free WiFi as well, often without advertising,check for network with name of the establishment and ask the personnel for password.

The most common crimes in Prague by far are car theft and pickpocketing: the prevalence of car theft and vandalism pushes up the crime statistics of Prague. But even if you do not drive, pickpocketing is common in Prague, and some violent crimes do occur in this city. You are seriously warned not to provoke drunken people as it will put you in extreme danger.

Begging is a serious problem in this city and you can even see beggars in this city's top tourist attractions. Don't carry a wallet or purse in the back pocket of your trousers; always keep an eye on your items; don't put all your money in one place; don't show your money or valuable things to anybody; don't walk alone into deserted areas even if you feel able to protect yourself. Better safe than sorry; so take precautions.

Possession of drugs has historically been a grey area under the Czech jurisdiction. Since early 2010, though, the dubious term an amount less than small has been finally transformed into absolute values based on the actual judicial practice and it is no longer an offense to carry less than 15 g of marijuana, 5 patches of LSD, 1 g of cocaine. It is still a criminal offense to posses more than the allowed amount of drugs.

Bear in mind that for possession of lesser amounts you might be still fined by public authorities as it is an offence,though not criminal one!

Please also note that most bars will expect you to go outside if you intend to smoke a joint. Be aware of teams of pickpockets that lurk outside metro stations, overcrowded trams, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. They usually work in teams of 3-5 and look for lost or distracted tourists.

Backpacks are especially interesting to them. Many of those groups use underage children as pickpockets because they are not liable according to Czech criminal law.

Due to the low incidence of violent crime, the threat of pickpockets has been played up as a great problem. However, common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets. If you have a camera, try not to wear it openly. Always close and secure your backpack and try to keep an eye on it.

Be especially careful not to fall asleep in tram or metro. Wear your wallet in a safe place,like inner pocket of your coat, never put it into your rear pocket or any other place where it can be easily stolen.

Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport, and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you and maintain common sense.

If you enter the metro usually at night, you may find a team of con artists at the stations, saying that they are metro clerks and, after examining your ticket for some time, that it's invalid so you'll have to pay a fine of 500 CZK and 1000 CZK if you argue with them. So if you happen to see them and you're sure that your ticket is valid, tell them to call the police, or call them yourself.

Remember that Prague Metro ticket inspectors have to produce their badge in order to check your ticket and issue a fine; if they don't do this as soon as they approach you then, they are almost certainly fakes. In fact, such groups have been cracked down in the past.

Usual pain of otherwise perfect public transportation in Prague system are their ticket inspectors. They are paid with minimum wage and on the top of their salary is commission of fines paid in real so in the most cases they choose tourist group to secure their income. Here is described how they should behave to a passenger without valid/incorrectly valid ticket. They ask you to pay fine.

If you don't pay fine, they ask you to present your pasport or EU ID card. If you don't produce your document - it is not your law duty, they will call police and you have to present them your document and they will forward your details to a ticket inspector. After ticket inspector obtains your details in any way above, then he/she fills in the record of transport inspection form.

After that don't sign this form and just take copy. Then you can pay fine in the penalty fare desk or by bank transfer for low bank fees from abroad you can use Skrill or PayPal. Big scam is that ticket inspector takes personal document and forcing you to pay in the cash on the spot and he/she will happily follow you to the nearest atm machine or exchange office.

Of course they will lie about non existence of the possibility to pay by bank transfer. They just take your document and checking another passengers until time you say: I will pay now. Call 112 and ask for the presence of the Police in the case your documents are being held for the purpose of paying on the spot.

If you are witness of such a behaviour, raise official complaint to the transportation company ROPID, Rytirska 10, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic and in the best case don't forget to take video on your mobile device. Also notify about such a behaviour your country's embassy in Prague by email.

Ticket inspector is just an employee and has no legal power and also not paying fare has no criminal background like in some countries. It is just debt between you and transportation company.

Be careful with taxi drivers, particularly from the train station, and particularly of the Skoda brand. Taxis that are legally registered may still be mafia-run affairs that do their best to overcharge. It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt in Prague, so agree to a price before putting yourself or your luggage in the taxi.

The risk of overcharging is greatly overplayed but just take the usual sensible precautions of only using taxi firms affiliated with the station or your hotel, or call a reputable company and wait. Finally, if presented with a wrong bill from a taxi driver, call the police on your mobile phone. Your driver will quickly change his tune. You can of course always ask reception, a restaurant etc.to call taxi on the number you give them.

If you can't afford to haggle with cab drivers, you can always use public mass transit. The network is extensive and can take you almost anywhere in Prague 24 hours every day.

Be careful with money exchanges. Exchange your money in banks or official tourist informations and rather avoid exchange offices.

Never at anytime accept to change money on the street. Organized gangs operate in central Prague near exchange offices and target unsuspecting tourists by offering a better rate. Instead of giving you koruna, they will instead give you another currency, such as older Byelorussian rubles.

In other cases, one of them will take your money when offering to trade, whilst one of their accomplices distracts you. When you realize that the rate is unfavorable and take back your money, you will instead find that they have given you a worthless Czechoslovak banknote.

The best way to stop those gangs is to simply avoid anybody on the street who offers to change money.

Generally the exchange offices outside the tourist areas are fair, although there are not too many of them there. In the tourist areas, however, most of the exchange offices try to cheat customers with various tricks. One of the them is offering favourable exchange rates, but with fine print below such as if you exchange more than 1000 EUR.

Another trick is putting a huge board with we sell exchange rates to the shop window, which makes an impression of good rates, whereas the actual rate for buying CZK is much more unfavourable. Another trick is charging commission, which could be as high as 20%!

When the customer finds this out at the counter and wants to cancel the transaction, the money-dealer refuses with an excuse that I have already printed the bill, implying it is too late. The police won't help you, typically referring you to the Czech National Bank, which supervises exchange offices, to file a complaint which does not help you in anyway.

When comparing the exchange rates, follow two simple rules. First unless the board says "0% commission", the exchange office charges the commission. Second, while looking at the board, scan all the numbers for your currency and find the smallest one, this would be the exchange rate you would get.

Credit cards are widely accepted at all supermarkets, hotels and also in most tourist places. As in most countries you can find cards for ATM withdrawals with low or 0% fee and often for payment with Visa or Mastercard exchange rate only which is same as the rates of the best exchange offices; there is no need to use exchange offices anymore in the 21st century.

Czech law is weak and orders exchange offices only to display the actual rates, which you might find somewhere in the office in small print. Therefore, if you decide to use an exchange office always ask for the actual rate you will pay before making the transaction and before letting any money out of your hands.

If you find yourself in an emergency, dial 158 for police, 155 for ambulance or 150 for firefighters. You can also dial 112 for a general emergency call.

If you need medication at weekends or evenings, you can go to Lekarna Palackeho, Tel +420 224 946 982 the 24-hour pharmacy on Palackeho 5 in the new town.

Beware of food stalls in Wencelas Square. Some of them will target tourists by providing them with extra products they did not ask for and not giving enough change.

Prague is relatively safe and quiet in the evenings. Use common sense, but walking though neighborhoods late at night is not something you need to be terrified about. The bars are full, but violent crimes are comparatively uncommon.

Prague's economy accounts for 25% of the Czech GDP making it the highest performing regional economy of the country. According to the Eurostat, as of 2007, its GDP per capita in purchasing power standard is €42,800. Prague ranked the 5th best-performing European NUTS two-level region at 172 percent of the EU-27 average.

The city is the site of the European headquarters of many international companies.

Prague employs almost a fifth of the entire Czech workforce, and its wages are significantly above average (~+25%). In December 2015, average salaries available in Prague reached 35,853 CZK, an annual increase of 3.4%, which was nevertheless lower than national increase of 3.9% both in nominal and real terms. Inflation in Prague was 0.5% in December, compared with 0.1% nationally.

Since 1990, the city's economic structure has shifted from industrial to service-oriented. Industry is present in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, printing, food processing, manufacture of transport equipment, computer technology and electrical engineering. In the service sector, financial and commercial services, trade, restaurants, hospitality and public administration are the most significant.

Services account for around 80 percent of employment. There are 800,000 employees in Prague, including 120,000 commuters. The number of legally registered foreign residents in Prague has been increasing in spite of the country's economic downturn. As of March 2010, 148,035 foreign workers were reported to be living in the city making up about 18 percent of the workforce, up from 131,132 in 2008.

Approximately one-fifth of all investment in the Czech Republic takes place in the city.

Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses.

From the late 1990s to late 2000s, the city was a popular filming location for international productions such as Hollywood and Bollywood motion pictures. A combination of architecture, low costs and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proven attractive to international film production companies.

The modern economy of Prague is largely service and export-based and, in a 2010 survey, the city was named the best city in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for business.

In 2005, Prague was deemed among the three best cities in Central and Eastern Europe according to The Economist's livability rankings. The city was named as a top-tier nexus city for innovation across multiple sectors of the global innovation economy, placing 29th globally out of 289 cities, ahead of Brussels and Helsinki for innovation in 2010 in 2thinknow annual analysts Innovation Cities Index.

Na prikope in New Town is the most expensive street in the whole of Central Europe.

In the Eurostat research, Prague ranked fifth among Europe's 271 regions in terms of gross domestic product per inhabitant, achieving 172 percent of the EU average. It ranked just above Paris and well above the country as a whole, which achieved 80 percent of the EU average.

Prague is also the site of some of the most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic such as:

- President of the Czech Republic

- The Government and both houses of Parliament

- Ministries and other national offices,Industrial Property Office, Czech Statistical Office, National Security Authority etc.

- Czech National Bank

- Czech Television and other major broadcasters

- Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty

- Galileo global navigation project

- Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form.

It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Romanesque, to Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.

Prague is classified as an Alpha, global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Vienna, Seoul and Washington, D.C. Prague ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016.Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 6.4 million international visitors annually, as of 2014.

Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome.Prague's low cost of living makes it a popular destination for expats relocating to Europe.

- Hradcany and Lesser Town or Mala Strana.
- Prague Castle with the St. Vitus Cathedral which stores the Czech Crown Jewels
- The picturesque Charles Bridge or Karluv most
- The Baroque Saint Nicholas Church
- Church of Our Lady Victorious and Infant Jesus of Prague
- Pisek Gate, one of the last preserved city gate of Baroque fortification
- Petrin Hill with Petrin Lookout Tower, Mirror Maze and Petřín funicular
- Lennon Wall
- The Franz Kafka Museum
- Kampa Island, an island with a view of the Charles Bridge
- Old Town or Stare Mesto and Josefov]
- The Astronomical Clock or Orloj on Old Town City Hall
- Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn (Kostel Matky Bozi pred Tynem) from the 14th century with 80 m high towers
- The vaulted Gothic Old New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga) of 1270
- Old Jewish Cemetery
- Powder Tower or Prasna brana, a Gothic tower of the old city gates
- Spanish Synagogue with its beautiful interior
- Old Town Square or Staromestske namesti with gothic and baroque architectural styles
- The art nouveau Municipal House, a major civic landmark and concert hall known for its Art Nouveau architectural style and political history in the Czech Republic.
- Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, with an extensive collections including glass, furniture, textile, toys, Art Nouveau, Cubism and Art Deco
- Clam-Gallas Palace, a baroque palace from 1713
- New Town or Nove Mesto
- Historic Wenceslas Square
- The neo-renaissance National Museum with large scientific and historical collections
- The National Theatre, a neo-Renaissance building with golden roof, alongside the banks of the Vltava river
- The deconstructivist Dancing House or Fred and Ginger Building
- Charles Square, the largest medieval square in Europe now turned into a park
- The Emmaus monastery and WW Memorial "Prague to Its Victorious Sons" at Palacky Square or Palackeho namesti
- The museum of the Heydrich assassination in the crypt of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
- Stiassny's Jubilee Synagogue is the largest in Prague
- The Mucha Museum, showcasing the Art Nouveau works of Alphonse Mucha
- Vinohrady and Zizkov
- National Monument in Vitkov with a large bronze equestrian statue of Jan Zizka in Vitkov Park, Zizkov – Prague 3
- The neo-Gothic Church of St. Ludmila at Namesti Míru or Peace Square in Vinohrady
- Zizkov Television Tower with sculptures of crawling babies
- New Jewish Cemetery in Olsany, location of Franz Kafka's grave – Prague 3
- The Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church at George of Podebrady Square or Jiriho z Podebrad
- The Vinohrady grand Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Pseudo Baroque, and Neo-Gothic buildings in the area between Namesti Miru or Peace Square, Jiriho z Podebrad square and Havlickovy sady park
- Vysehrad Castle with Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, Vysehrad cemetery and Prague oldest Rotunda of St. Martin
- The Prague Metronome at Letna Park, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city
- Prague Zoo in Troja, selected as one of the world's best zoos by Forbes magazine
- Industrial Palace or Prumyslovy palac, Krizik's Light fountain, funfair Lunapark and Sea World Aquarium in Vystaviste compound in Holesovice
- Letohradek Hvezda or Star Villa in Liboc, a renaissance villa in the shape of a six-pointed star surrounded by a game reserve
- National Gallery in Prague with large collection of Czech and international paintings and sculptures by artists such as Mucha, Kupka, Picasso, Monet or Van Gogh
- Andel, a busy part of the city with modern architecture and a shopping mall
- The large Nusle Bridge, spans the Nusle Valley, linking New Town to Pankrac, with the Metro running underneath the road
Strahov Monastery, an old Czech premonstratensian abbey founded in 1149 and monastic library

The public transport infrastructure PID or Prazska integrovana doprava consists of a heavily used integrated transport system of Prague Metro (lines A, B, and C – its length is 65 km (40 mi) with 61 stations in total), Prague tram system, Prague buses, funiculars, and six ferries. Prague has one of the highest rates of public transport usage in the world, with 1.2 billion passenger journeys per year.

Prague has about 130 bus lines and 22 tram lines. There are also three funiculars, one on Petrin Hill, one on Mrazovka Hill and a third at the Zoo in Troja.

The Prague tram system now operates various types of trams: still popular classic Tatra T3, newer Tatra KT8D5, T6A5, Skoda 14 T designed by Porsche, newest modern Skoda 15 T and nostalgic tram lines 23 and 41. Although Melbourne, Australia has the longest total tram system length in the world, Prague's tram network is one of the largest in the world by other measures.

The Prague tram rolling stock consists of over 900 individual cars, of those around 400 are the modernized T3 class, which are typically operated coupled together in pairs. The system carries more than 356 million passengers annually, the highest tram patronage in the world after Budapest. On a per capita basis, Prague has the second highest tram patronage after Zürich.

All services have a common ticketing system, and are run by the Prague Public Transport Company Dopravni podnik hl. m. Prahy, a. s. and several other companies. Recently, the Regional Organiser of Prague Integrated Transport (ROPID) has franchised operation of ferries on the Vltava river, which are also a part of the public transport system with common fares. Taxi services make pick-ups on the streets or operate from regulated taxi stands.

The Metro has three major lines extending throughout the city: A (green), B (yellow) and C (red). A fourth Metro line is planned, which would connect the city centre to southern parts of the city.The Prague Metro system served 589.2 million passengers in 2012, making it the fifth busiest metro system in Europe and the most-patronised in the world on a per capita basis.

The first section of the Prague metro was put into operation in 1974. It was the stretch between stations Kacerov and Florenc on the current line C. The first part of Line A was opened in 1978 Dejvicka – Namesti Miru, the first part of line B in 1985 Andel – Florenc.

In April 2015, construction finished to extend the green line A further into the northwest corner of Prague closer to the airport.A new interchange station for the bus in the direction of the airport is now the station Nadrazi Veleslavin. The final station of the green line is Nemocnice Motol or Motol Hospital, giving people direct public transportation access to the largest medical facility in the Czech Republic and one of the largest in Europe. A railway connection to the airport is planned.

In operation there are currently two kinds of units:81-71M which is modernized variant of the Soviet 81-71,completely modernized between 1995 and 2003 and new Metro M1 trains since 2000, manufactured by consortium consisting of Siemens, CKD Praha and ADtranz. The minimum interval between two trains is 90 seconds.

The original Soviet vehicles Ecs were excluded in 1997, but one vehicle is placed in public transport museum in depot Stresovice. The Namesti Miru metro station is the deepest station and is equipped with the longest escalator in European Union. The Prague metro is generally considered very safe.

The main flow of traffic leads through the centre of the city and through inner and outer ring roads, partially in operation.

Inner Ring Road (The City Ring "MO"): Once completed it will surround the wider central part of the city. The longest city tunnel in Europe with a length of 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) and five interchanges has been completed to relieve congestion in the north-western part of Prague. Called Blanka tunnel complex and part of the City Ring Road, it was estimated to eventually cost – after several increases – 43 billion CZK.

Construction started in 2007 and, after repeated delays, the tunnel was officially opened in September 2015. This tunnel complex completes a major part of the inner ring road. The entire City Ring is estimated to be finished after 2020.

Outer Ring Road (The Prague Ring "D0"): This ring road will connect all major motorways and speedways that meet each other in Prague region and provide faster transit without a necessity to drive through the city. So far 39 km (24 mi), out of a total planned 83 km (52 mi), is in operation.

The year of full completion is unknown due to incompetent, constantly changing, leadership of Czech Road and Motorway Directorate, lack of administrative preparations, and insufficient funding of road constructions. Most recently, the southern part of this road with a length of more than 20 km (12 mi) was opened on 22 September 2010.

The city forms the hub of the Czech railway system, with services to all parts of the country and abroad. The railway system links Prague with major European cities which can be reached without transfers, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Dresden (Germany); Vienna (Austria); Warsaw and Cracow (Poland); Bratislava and Kosice (Slovakia); Budapest (Hungary); Zurich (Switzerland); Split (Croatia); Belgrade (Serbia) and Moscow (Russia). Travel times range between 4.5 hours to Berlin and 27 hours to Moscow.

Prague's main international railway station is Hlavni nadrazi, rail services are also available from other main stations: Masarykovo nadrazi, Holesovice and Smichov, in addition to suburban stations. Commuter rail services operate under the name Esko Praha, which is part of PID or Prague Integrated Transport.

Prague is served by Vaclav Havel Airport, the largest airport in the Czech Republic and one of the largest airports in central and eastern Europe. The airport was named after the first Czech President, Vaclav Havel. Vaclav Havel was also the ninth and last president of Czechoslovakia.The airport is the hub of the flag carrier, Czech Airlines,as well as of the low-cost airlines SmartWings and Wizz Air operating throughout Europe.

Other airports in Prague include the city's original airport in the north-eastern district of Kbely, which is serviced by the Czech Air Force, also internationally. The runway (9–27) at Kbely is 2 km (1 mi) long. The airport also houses the Prague Aviation Museum. The nearby Letnany airport is mainly used for private aviation and aeroclub aviation.

Another airport in the proximity is Aero Vodochody aircraft factory to the north, used for testing purposes, as well as for aeroclub aviation. There are a few aeroclubs around Prague, such as the Tocna airfield.

The city of Prague maintains its own EU delegation in Brussels called Prague House.

Prague was the location of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech on 5 April 2009, which led to the New START treaty with Russia, signed in Prague on 8 April 2010.

The annual conference Forum 2000, which was founded by former Czech President Vaclav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel in 1996, is held in Prague.

Its main objective is to identify the key issues facing civilization and to explore ways to prevent the escalation of conflicts that have religion, culture or ethnicity as their primary components, and also intends to promote democracy in non-democratic countries and to support civil society.

Conferences have attracted a number of prominent thinkers, Nobel laureates, former and acting politicians, business leaders and other individuals like: Frederik Willem de Klerk, Bill Clinton, Nicholas Winton, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Dalai Lama, Hans Küng, Shimon Peres and Madeleine Albright.

Buses and trains are frequent and quite inexpensive and can get you to even the smallest village.

Practically every major European city can be reached by bus or train from Prague.

Regular buses are available to the following Czech towns and travel times as below:

- Brno (210 km; 02h05 in car)
- Ceske Budejovice (152 km; 02h14 in car)
- Cesky Krumlov (179 km; 02h40 in car)
- Frydek Mistek (373 km; 03h37 in car)
- Hradec Kralove (117 km; 01h28 in car)
- Jihlava (132 km; 01h25 in car)
- Karlovy Vary (127 km; 01h55 in car)
- Kromeriz (272 km; 02h34 in car)
- Liberec (112 km; 01h20 in car)
- Novy Jicín (346 km; 03h12 in car)
- Olomouc (284 km; 02h43 in car) — 284 km from Prague, but with a good train connection, former capital of Moravia, beautiful old city, famous medieval astronomical clock.
- Ostrava (377 km; 03h31 in car)
- Pisek (107 km; 01h35 in car) — Beautiful South Bohemian town with the country's oldest bridge
- Plzen (94 km; 01h18 in car, 1 hour by bus from metro B Zlicin or 1h20 by train) — Home of the world-famous Pilsner Urquell brewery, second biggest Jewish synagogue in Europe, highest church tower in the Czech Republic, medieval underground labyrinths, medieval city armoury. oldest brewery museum in the world
- Uherske Hradiste (283km; 03h01 in car)
- Zlin (301 km; 03h08 in car)

A selection of further places:

- Kutna Hora (84 km; 01h24 in car) — A once prosperous silver mining town in the 14th and 15th centuries with the fantastic Saint Barbara church, and the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs, decorated with the remains of 40,000 human skeletons who were largely plague victims.
- Novosedly na Morave (248 km; 02h30 in car) — Take a horseback trip through the vineyards of Moravia
- Vyssi Brod (205 km; 02h59 in car) — Three day canoe trip from the Sumava mountains through Cesky Krumlov
- Vysocina (155 km; 02h04 in car) — Great mountain area for hiking, located halfway between Prague and Brno
- Beroun (36 km; 00h42 in car) — Small city located on the way to Plzen, follow the Beroun river north to some beautiful villages
- Karlstejn castle and the holy cave monastery (47 km; 00h54 in car) — Hiking trip to the famous castle as well as an off the beaten track monastery
- Konopiste (50 km; 00h44 in car) — Archduke Franz Ferdinand's Castle located 40km south of Prague
- Cesky Raj (89 km; 01h09 in car) — Hike through forests and valleys filled with giant sandstone columns and cliffs in this park near Jicin.
- Orlik (85 km; 01h14 in car) — Orlik castle about 70 km from Prague. Near the Orlik dam and Zvikov castle.



Tourism Observer

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