In college days I read all the novels of Milan Kundera. I had a sense of the political turmoil this country has undergone in the last century. But it was much more touching to visit and hear the perspective of people who had lived through it and were still there. (Kundera fled to France)
On my first visit to Prague, I stayed with a resident who showed me videos of their citizen-led “Velvet Revolution.” At the end of the communist era, thousands of people marched in peaceful protest to urge government reformation. The government representatives voluntarily started the transformation with no opposition to the will of the citizens and no violence. The resulting democracy has been stable ever since.
The city has such romantic charm that it is commonly used as a movie set. If you watched “Amadeus”, Prague stood in for Salzburg as Mozart’s home, as it may have appeared in the composer’s life.
The Vltava is a broad river that trickles through Prague under stone-arch pedestrian bridges. The most famous “Charles Bridge” is 600 years old and lined with dozens of statues of Catholic saints.
The historic town center has a working astronomical clock on city hall with a 15th century carillon which gathers crowds on the chiming hours.
It happens to also offer an excellent vantage of the city if you climb to the top. Peering across the Vltava you can see Prague Castle which served as home to kings and presidents through the country’s march through the centuries.
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