Prague Castle complex from other side of the Vltava River
One thing Prague is particularly famous for (other than beer) is the Prague Castle. The castle complex is one of the oldest and largest castles in the world, and it is still utilized to this day by the Czech government and President. As students participating in the UNO Summer Seminar series, we were granted the opportunity to actually go INSIDE the castle and view an assortment of rooms used for a variety of functions. This was a rare opportunity, as most tourists only get to view the castle from the exterior. The Baroque architecture and design in a few of the rooms was exquisite.
Picture of Spanish Hall inside the Prague Castle
The castle complex also includes a breathtaking gothic cathedral named after St. Vitus, the patron saint of actors, comedies, dancers and epileptics. He is also the patron saint of Bohemia, the area in the Czech Republic where Prague is located. The cathedral also houses quite a few pieces by famed Czech artists, including a stain glass window by Alfons Mucha.
St. Vitus Cathedral
After touring the castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, we briefly visited the American Embassy in Prague. We met with the director of Public Affairs, who provided us with a glimpse of life as an American living in Prague. He encouraged us to get lost and explore the city, and experience as much of Prague as we can in our short month here. After our scheduled morning activities and tours, we had the afternoon off to further acquaint ourselves with our new city. A small group of us had a delicious Italian meal at a charming restaurant near the American Embassy. The restaurant, called Gitanes, had delicious and fresh cuisine, and the décor alone made this place a perfect spot for an afternoon lunch. We all plan on dining there again before our departure!
Interior of Gitanes