Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Prague Landmarks #7 - Nový Svět (New World)

Despite being in all the lists of 'secret' places to go in Prague, Nový Svět (New World), is still, surprisingly, relatively quiet. Hidden at the back of the castle, in the Hradčany district, Nový Svět itself is a single street in a warren of largely car free, cobbled lanes which when viewed from a vantage point look like a miniature village.

Novy Svet and surrounding district

A number of commentators liken the area to how they imagine Terry Pratchett's Ankh Morph from the Diskworld novels might look. I prefer to think of it more as a scene from the Shires in Tolkein's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books.

Dating back to the 14th century the cottages used to house castle workers, a little like the better known Golden Lane within the castle complex.

Most of the original cottages were destroyed by a huge fire in the 18th century, but they were rebuilt and later became popular with artists and writers. They are now pretty much all privately owned. I stayed in one of the cottages which has now been converted to flats but retains most of its old world charm.

One famous resident of Golden Lane was the author Franz Kafka. Nový Svět had its own celebrity resident, namely the Danish mathematician and astronomer Tycho Brahe who lived in the house called "At the Golden Griffin" in 1600.

Compared to my normal accommodation down the road from the Charles Bridge it was wonderfully quiet. Even the little cafe opposite my apartment was only open between 11:00 am and 19:00 in the evening (and it's closed on Monday) which meant I never got a chance to try it out. Neither did I get to try the little restaurant at the lower entrance to the street since it was being renovated at the time I was there.

At the other end of the street there is a little hotel, U Raka, which is the only fully log timbered house left in Prague today, originally dating back to 1739 (or earlier).

A wet and dark winter night in Nový Svět

If you fancy getting away from it all, for even just an hour or so, it's well worth diverting away from the main sites around the castle, and stepping back a little further in time.

No comments:

Post a Comment