According to UNESCO, which named Prague a World Heritage Site in 1992, the city “represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs.”
While the Old Town, Lesser Town and New Town - built between the 11th and 18th centuries – have sufficient stunning buildings, varied architectural styles and picturesque squares to make Prague an outdoor museum in its own right, there are numerous official sites well worth visiting.
With foundations dating back to the 9th century, the Hradčany castle, which hosts the Museum of Military History, plus toy and art museums, is the largest ancient castle in the world, while both the Royal Palace and St Vitus Cathedral are packed with treasures from the Bohemian era.
The vast National Museum, founded in 1818 and sited on Wenceslas Square, hosts millions of items from all branches of natural science, but if it is 20th century existentialism that interests you, Kafka’s former home, 22 Golden Lane, is also open to the public.
Prague’s indelible Jewish legacy can be viewed at the Judaic Museum in the old Prague Ghetto, close to the Jewish cemetery which is said to house more than 12,000 gravestones.
Old Town Hall and City Gallery Prague
Housed in the beautiful fourteenth-century Old Town Hall, the City Gallery Prague (GHMP) exhibits work from its permanent collection of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with regular special exhibitions of working artists, focusing on international contemporary trends.
The permanent collection of sculpture, painting and graphics includes the work of Alfons Mucha, Jaroslav Cermak, Vaclav Brozik, Emil Filla, Josef Vaclav Myslbek, Ladislav Saloun, Jaroslav Horejc and Frantisek Bilek.
The Museum of Military History
Housed in an impressive mid-sixteenth-century Renaissance palace, the Museum of Military History contains Czech military memorabilia from the thirteenth century to the end of World War I. The collection includes scale models of battles and details of historic campaign strategy, as well as uniforms, weapons and the history of evolving military technologies.The façade of the Schwarzenberský palác is decorated in the style of Italian palace architecture with exuberant sgraffiti, whilst the interior features a collection of magnificent mythological paintings.