Prague is one of those cities that seduces one’s soul. It is a magically beautiful city that is easy to fall in love with its architectural charm, its open air squares, cobblestoned streets and endless array of terra-cotta rooftops, medieval churches and spires. Voted as one of the top touristic destinations in Europe, Prague has obviously been discovered and the best way to see her unspoiled beauty is to get up and going early.
On our last morning in Prague, we set off right after breakfast to Old Town Square to climb the Bell Tower knowing that if we were lucky, we would beat the crowds. Our timing was perfect and there is nothing quite like getting a bird’s-eye view of the city as it wakes up and comes to life.
Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice) was built during the reign of King John of Luxembourg in 1338 as the seat of the Old Town administration. The oldest part of the complex consists of a lovely Gothic tower with a bay chapel and a unique astronomical clock – known as the Orloj –which is the oldest and most elaborate functioning astronomical clock in the world. Although watching the hourly presentation of the “12 Apostles” is a huge tourist attraction, the real pleasure of the Old Town Hall is its remarkable views of the city from the Bell Tower.
As you climb up a series of winding steps, you are delighted with a sense of awe and wonder at the views below. Here are a few of my favorites.
“The ancient splendor and beauty of Prague, a city beyond compare, left an impression on my imagination that will never fade” –Richard Wagner
When I reached the top, I didn’t want to leave except for feeling a little bit of vertigo.
I admit that I got a little bit carried away with taking photos but I just couldn’t stop. It was so beautiful, like looking out over a giant open-air museum from medieval times.
Despite the cloudy weather, I’m happy that I got to the Bell Tower early enough so I could get these shots around the narrow openings. I didn’t have to wait to long to take my place and snap my photo. On a busy time, I imagine it would be much harder if not impossible. So I learned one important rule of thumb when traveling to a busy tourist destination like Prague: The early bird gets the worm. It pays to get up early and going!