I was recently in Prague with photographer Nadine Maas for new Soulful Travel stories in several magazines and newspapers. This mysterious city breathes art, culture, mysticism and music. Prague stimulated all of my senses: elegant and aesthetic, full of delightful Art Nouveau architecture in faded pastel shades. In this article you find our insider tips!
Ever since the Velvet Revolution and the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia a lot has changed in the city. The ‘gray feeling’ has disappeared and given way for liveliness and aesthetics. The streets are now full with music, street performers and attractive terraces. When you walk through the streets, every corner brings you a new experience. That’s what makes this city a bit mysterious as well. King Rudolph II founded the image of the “mystical Prague” at the end of the 15th century, he was a great art lover and very interested in science. Apart from artists and scientists Rudolf II also employed an astrologer and various alchemists. Alchemy is a form of natural philosophy and combines elements of chemistry, physics, mysticism, astrology and medicine. For example, they were concerned with the conversion of ordinary metals into gold. The area now known as the ‘Golden Street’ was the place of these alchemists in that time.
Slow Travel in Prague
The Czechs are fond of colorful farmers markets and they have many. These markets are Prague’s answer to the whole slow food and organic movement that is happening worldwide. For instance, from Tuesday to Friday there is a cozy market with food and handmade items on Namesti Republiky. There are also lot’s of green spaces in the city. Choose from the many parks, such as the Letná with a look out point over the city. Or go and see the fragrant flower explosion in one of the botanical gardens like the oldest in the city Botanická Zahrada (Na Slupi 16), which is accompanied by a large park.
Food for the soul
A special experience is one of the short (often classical) concerts in great locations such as in small churches. These concerts last an hour and you can go see them at all times during the day and night.
Find the less touristy places, like the spectacular Spanish Synagogue from 1868. The work of the inspirational artist Alphonse Mucha, the ‘Master of Art Nouveau’ is fortunately inseparable from the streets in this city, you see it everywhere (I love it). His first museum is located in the 18th century Kaunickypalace. It’s not big, but I thought it was worth it. Like the museumshop full of cards, posters and fine books that makes you want to buy everything.
- The nearly 100-meter-high television tower in the cozy residential area Ziskov (Mahlerovy sady 1) gives a spectacular view over the city where you can enjoy sitting on modern white leather sofas or from the transparent chairs that are hanging from the ceiling. Below the tower is the Miminoo Garden Restaurant. With good weather you can enjoy yourself on beanbags, rocking chairs or chill in one of the hammocks.
- The English translation of Lehká Hlava is; “Clear Head”. This vegetarian restaurant makes you escape the busy-ness of the city. The building is over 500 years old and the interior is made by three Czech artists. Above all, the food is fresh and very tasty.
- Bar and Books is definitely the sexiest bar in Prague, with a huge collection of whiskeys in beautiful bottles. If you are lucky enough to have Juri as your bartender, you will be guaranteed of friendly conversation and expert advice on whiskeys.
- Being a huge book-lover, the cosy English Globe Bookstore & Café is one of my favourite hotspots. The bar is very lively and you can eat well and healthy for little. In the shop you can buy (English) books, but also crazy art prints like Oleksiy Fedorenko for not too much money. Be sure to check out the books of Czech fairy tales and legends with their beautiful illustrations (Pstrossova 6).
- In the spiritual shop Maitrea (translated into English: ‘Loving Kindness’) you can find special incense and other fine spiritual items and books. You can also get massages here.
The vegetarian restaurant Maitrea next door also has a spiritual touch. The Feng Shui décor is complete with two fountains, a fireplace and a place to kick back and relax next to a big Buddha. In addition to choosing of the menu, you can get the daily menu with soup, a main course and water for €5 (Tynska ulička 6).
If you have any inspiring and additional tips about Prague, it would be great if you want to share them below!Pictures © Nadine Maas en Michèle Bevoort