Thursday, 3 August 2017

Prague Moments #13 - Musing In Malá Strana

When I wrote about the Memorial to the Victims of Communism a few weeks ago, I confessed that I didn't spend anywhere near as much time exploring the western side of the Vltava as perhaps I should.  But I started to rectify that in June and spent a bit of extra effort walking around the Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana) looking for interesting places and photo opportunities. And by chance,  just after I started writing this post, I've had to come over to Prague for an unscheduled visit, and I just happen to be staying on Nerudova.

Malá Strana is well documented in literary works about Prague, especially in Prague Tales by Jan Neruda, which is set in the real world of real people living in the area in the 19th century. One of the many wonderful things about Prague is that it only takes a little imagination to transport yourself back to those bygone years, and follow in the footsteps of those characters like the Doctor and Josefina.

Backstreets of Malá Strana in the early morning
So here are a few of my favourite sights in Malá Strana; the well known, and the not so well known. I hope it will give you a taste of what you might discover by stepping away from the main streets and squares, without using up too much shoe leather!

The most famous landmark in this area is almost certainly St Nicholas' Catherdral which dates back to 1702 although the original site was a place of worship as far back as 1283.

St Nicholas' Catherdral
One of my favourite sights is the building that spans Thunovská. Take a short walk up the hill and you'll find the British embassy tucked away on a side street, with a bust of Churchill keeping vigil at the corner of the street.

The real gem of course is Nerudova itself. The steep hill takes you up to Prague Castle and whilst it is heavily populated with touristy tack shops and many of the buildings date back to medieval times. Many of the houses still bear their original name signs - house numbers were not introduced in Prague until 1770. Originally part of the Royal Way, Neruda was renamed in honour of the author Jan Neruda who lived there from 1849 to 1857. In a future visit, I'm going to try and photograph all the different house names and their symbols, and I'll showcase the most interesting in a future post.

Malá Strana is a popular place, but as always in Prague, taking a few steps off the beaten track will provide you with some great rewards.

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