Prague, Czech Republic „A hidden treasure“
Hello! My name is Stéphane Gasquard and I am a student at Macromedia University in Munich. For my third semester abroad, I decided to go to Prague in Czech Republic. Today I’ll speak about UNYP (University of New-York in Prague), the university where I will be studying for 4 months, and about Prague.
2. Introduction to Czech Republic
Czech Republic is a country located in central Europe and is a member of the European Union since Mai 2004. Czech Republic is a member of the Schengen area, which means that you can travel freely in and out of the country, and, within Europe. (I obviously recommend that you take an ID or passport when travelling) The country is very well located within Europe, which makes it easy to travel to various fabulous destination such as the sea (Croatia; Italy; Slovenia in the south, Bulgaria and Romania in the east, Germany and Poland in the north), or mountains where it is very nice to hike (Bavaria in Germany is a place with the most interesting and beautiful hikes in Europe. Other nice location for hikes and an eventual spa week-end would be Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia). If you also intend to visit big lively cities, I would advise you to travel to Berlin, Munich, Warsaw and Belgrade. The currency in Czech Republic is not the Euro but the Czech Crown. (I will speak in the next paragraph about where you should change your money)
3. Introduction to Prague
Prague is the capital of Czech Republic and has 1.3 million inhabitants. Prague is divided into 22 municipality. Prague is a famous touristic destination for many reasons, but the city is mainly famous for its beautiful architecture. There are also many other interesting things to visit in Prague such as their massive shopping centers, old castles, bridges… Here is a quick list of monuments you could visit; Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle), Karluv Most (Charles Bridge), Staromestská radnice s orlojem (Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock), Chrám Matky Bozí pred tynem (Church of Our Lady before Tyn), Obecní dum (Municipal House), Rudolfinum (Famous concert hall) and of course there are so many other edifices to visit. The common point between all of those buildings is that they are all located in Praha 1, which is the center of Prague. It is very nice to walk in the center at any time during the day, or the night and, of course Praha 1 has a very big and modern shopping mall called Palladium. If you like shopping I would strongly advise you to pass by the shopping street “Na Prikope”, which is a very beautiful and lively street where you can take a little coffee or beer break after enjoying all the shops. On the same street is located the municipal hall where you can take a one of a kind elevator, which I do not dare spoil the surprise. Praha 1 is truly interesting, but it is not all there is to Prague. If you want to learn more about the culture and the locals, I would recommend you go for a walk in Praha 2 and Praha 3, where you can enjoy a nice local restaurant or bar. If you go outside of Prague center, there are some very nice parks and neighborhoods where you have a spectacular view on Prague city center. What you can also find outside of Prague center is the biggest shopping mall of Republic Czech, Chodov Shopping Center. Chodov mall is easily accessible (15 minutes) by taking the red metro line.
4. What not to do in Prague
Prague is a very touristic city and, who says touristic city says tourist traps. In this paragraph I will give you a short summary of things you must at all price avoid doing in Prague! First of all, all of the tourist traps are located within Praha 1, since it is where all tourist attractions are. Like in every city, take care of pickpockets especially when you go visit Charles Bridge or any other crowded place. Sometimes, when walking on the streets in Praha 1, there will be Buddhist monks that may approach you for donation against a small gift (bracelet). Those monks will show you a little paper where other people donate money (each of the persons donated no less then 40 euro usually!), well, those persons do not exist, and those monks are not real monks. Taxi’s may also be a problem in Prague, and I strongly recommend that you avoid them at all cost, since they will scam you and charge you around 60 euro even for the shortest trip. A solution for this problem is to public transports which are available everywhere in the city for very affordable prices. If you really want to take a taxi, it is important that you know exactly how much you are going to pay before entering the taxi, and in this case, Uber might be a suitable solution. And last but not least, restaurant in touristic area. The problem here is that the restaurants will try to charge you a lot of money for whatever you take (meal or drink). A simple solution to avoid those restaurants is to look for prices on the menu. If there are no prices on the menu, just continue your way to another restaurant.