Monday, 26 June 2017

Prague Moments #10 - Náměstí Míru

For the majority of people visiting Prague, their time is pretty limited; maybe a weekend or at best four or five nights. Not surprisingly, especially if you haven't been here before, you're going to stick to 'classic Prague' and see the castle, the Charles Bridge and Karlova, Wenceslas Square, the Old Town Square and astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, and probably have a wander around the backstreets of Malá Strana. If you're a bit more adventurous, you may additionally take in the Žižkov TV tower, the National monument at Vítkov or to the tower on Petřín Hill. All great places to go, but you're still pretty much surrounded by tourists.

Náměstí Míru panorama in winter
One of my favourite places, a little bit more off the tourist track is the area around Náměstí Míru in Prague 2, or more specifically Vinorhady. Náměstí Míru translates as 'Peace Square', and it is dominated by the twin 60m high towers of the church of St. Ludmilla, a neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church, built in the late 1890s.

The Church of St Ludmilla
Náměstí Míru is also a metro station on the Green Line (Line A) which is not only the deepest metro station in both Prague and the European Union (the platform is 53m below ground), but also boasts the longest escalator in the EU - an 87m monster (43m vertical span), with 533 steps that takes 2m 15s to ascend or decend without walking. It also acts as a wind tunnel!

The top of the escalator at Náměstí Míru metro
The little park in front of St Ludmilla's is a great place to sit and people watch, and has a lovely little market at key times of the year, especially Christmas and Easter. These events are smaller but far less crowded than the markets in the Old Town Square.

In my first year I lived off the square on Francouska and I used to love walking through the park on my way to and from the metro at IP Pavlova (named for the man of Plavlov's dogs fame, not the gateaux). Especially during the winter, it was pretty much impossible not to stop off for a quick tot of Medovina (honey mead wine) to keep the cold at bay until getting home.

Mel enjoying a glass of hot medovina
Vinorhady has traditionally been home to a large ex-pat community in the city, and Náměstí Míru is a bustling square with numeous restaurants, bars and cafes including the original Prague Beer Museum,  Vinohradský Parlament Restaurant,  Bruxx, and the place I had my first beer as an ex-pat, 2KK

Peace, a nice park, good food and drink, what more do you need from a place?

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