|Languages :||Czech, Slovak|
|Currency :||Czech koruna (CZK)|
|Time Zone :||EST +6hrs|
|Capital City :||Prague|
|Population :||10 Million|
|Government :||Parliamentary Democracy|
|Total Area :||30,450 mi²|
|Climate :||Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters|
|National Holidays:||Czech Founding Day, 28 October|
The 20c beers are hard to find these days in the bustling tourist city of Prague, but it's OK because the taverns and food are just one small aspect of this amazing city with its beautiful architecture, called the "city of a hundred spires". Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic and could fill 4-5 days with its history and sights. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's (and the world's) most popular tourist destinations. It is the sixth most visited European city after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. 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.
Some of the most known sights around Prague are:
Old Town (Stare Mesto) with its Old Town Square - the original place of settlement of Prague, Czech Republic. Home of the medieval Astronomical Clock (it has an astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months).
The picturesque Charles Bridge - famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava River with 30 mostly baroque statues and statuaries situated on the balustrade forms a unique connection of artistic styles with the underlying Gothic bridge.
New Town (Nove mesto) with its busy and historic Wenceslas Square
Prague Castle (the largest castle in the world) with its St. Vitus Cathedral
Josefov (the old Jewish quarter) with Old Jewish Cemetery and Old New Synagogue
The Lennon Wall - formerly an ordinary historic wall in Prague, but since the 1980s, people have filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.
Petrinska rozhledna, an observation tower on Petrin hill, which resembles the Eiffel Tower
Zizkov Television Tower with observation deck
The New Jewish Cemetery in Olsany, location of Franz Kafka's grave
The Metronome, a giant, functional metronome that looms over the city
The Dancing House (Fred and Ginger Building)
The Czech Republic offers a rich network of well-marked paths that evenly cover the whole territory and allow you to explore even the remotest areas of the country. Among the most popular tourist regions are Krkonose National Park and Sumava National Park.
Krkonose National Park (often abbreviated as KRNAP) is a national park in the Liberec and Hradec Kralove regions of the Czech Republic. It lies in the Krkonose Mountains, which are the highest range in the country. The park has also been listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. The mountains may not be as high as those in the alps, but come prepared for the same cooler temperatures you get with higher altitudes - harsh winds can bring the temperatures down to freezing even in summer. There are 620 miles of marked paths through the valleys, forests and up onto the ridges, although routes to the tops are closed in winter. Access to other areas is restricted occasionally to allow regeneration.
Sumava National Park and Landscape Protected Area are a National Park and a Landscape Protected Area in the Liberec and South Bohemian Regions of the Czech Republic along the border with Germany and Austria. They protect a little inhabited area with the mountain range of the same name, the Sumava. This park presents an undisturbed and tranquil landscape of forested slopes and ancient mountains sprawling beyond the Czech Republic. Sumava National Park is an idyllic environment with small villages scattered along the foothills providing pleasant bases for relaxing forays along the many paths. The park is large, but most parts of it are accessible on foot and the tallest of the mountains can still be climbed in a good day's walk.
Located in the Jicin District, less than 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Prague, is the Cesky Raj ("Bohemian Paradise") national park, which includes the Prachovske skaly range of sandstone mountains; as well as the Kost Castle can also be visited here. Here, adventure is not in climbing the highest mountain or walking the furthest distance, but discovering what's hidden behind the strangely shaped rocks or hearing legends of wicked noblemen and ruined castles. This is also an appealing location as it is one quiet scenic place that is not mobbed by tourists. Long, warm summers mean that the weather is fine from late spring through to early fall. While here, check out the Kost Castle - The best preserved of the castles, it was built in typical Gothic style in the 14th century on top of a ridge, Kost survived wars before succumbing to fire in the 16th century. Kost was restored recently to reflect its original architecture.
The Greenways, a newly-designated corridor of 100-year-old hiking trails, stretch for 250 miles from Vienna to Prague along the Dyje River in Southern Moravia and the Vltava River Valley in Southern and Central Bohemia. It connects beautiful countryside with cultural monuments, historic towns and villages with restored castles and churches. When biking between Prague and Vienna, you follow a different route than if you walk. The Prague-Vienna Greenways bike route is a part of a larger bike trail system in the Czech Republic. The surface varies from asphalt and crushed limestone to packet dirt. You travel on II and III class roads with little or no traffic, and on trails and dirt roads. The terrain varies from flat to rolling hills, through open fields, wooded areas and small villages, along rivers and lakes. On only a few ocassions does the route cross a class I road. Rather than just a single path, the Prague-Vienna Greenways is really a 250-350 mile long web of trails and country roads that offers variation and diversity to the traveler.
There are many places to rent bicycles along the Czech Greenways. The average cost for a hybrid bike is about US$12 a day in Prague, and US$7 per day in smaller towns in the Czech Republic. Often, pensions, hotels and campgrounds will provide bike rentals for guests. Bike through fragrant meadows, watch rare birds fly over peaceful fields. Taste fine Moravian wines and varieties of hearty Czech beer and attend concerts and festivals of high quality and fun. And, of course, meet some local people!
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