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14 Hidden Gems in Prague-->
Join us for this year’s EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference, 11-14 Nov in the Czech Republic. While you’re here, dive into Prague’s treasure chest of culture and history – you’ll be surprised at where you surface…
1. Sip coffee at a height
Prague is known for its impressive cafés – once the headquarters of cultural societies, poets and writers, it’s where history was shaped over a Viennese melange, or a Czech beer! You’ll have to look up to see our hidden gems – the Café Orient is sitting pretty above the Cubist Museum; while the Café Louvre on the second floor of the Louvre museum was a favourite haunt of both Frank Kafka and Einstein. Soak up literati vibes while you’re sipping your coffee.
2. See a square from a different angle
Jiřího z Poděbrad Square (or Jirak to locals) isn’t far from Old Town, but you’re strolling into an entirely different setting. The square is comprised of a city park, constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries with a beautiful church in the centre, the work of architect Joze Plecnik. There’s a tramstop and a metro station close by, so it’s a breeze to get to. The square is lined with cafes and shops, and hosts a semi-weekly farmers’ market and open-air festivals.
3. Get inspired by industrial history
Founded in 1908, The National Technical Museum is a dazzling demonstration of the country’s industrial heritage. It holds more than 58,000 objects and a library stacked with over 250,000 books and reading material. Start off in the main hall, which is packed to the rafters – literally – with historical planes, trains and automobiles. There are separate halls with 14 permanent exhibitions devoted to exhibits on astronomy, photography, printing architecture, electric engineering, mining, industrial design and so much more.
4. Celebrate art – in all forms
The streets of Prague are a celebration of contemporary art, such as the dozen gigantic babies crawling along the Zizkov TV Tower and the 34 bright yellow penguins located outside Museum Kampa. If you dream of leaving your mark on Prague, get creative at one of the few legal graffiti walls in the city: Tesnov is open to anyone looking to show off their skills, and a 15 minute walk from the city centre (aim for early in the morning).
5. Go underground for a liquid legacy
Hidden away in the basement of the Hotel U Prince in Old Town Square, the Black Angel’s Bar is a must visit. Despite the fact that it’s located directly across from the famous Astronomical Clock, it gives off the illusion of a secret hideaway. Designed like a prohibition-era speakeasy, the gothic and Romanesque masonry creates a cosy atmosphere. The cocktail recipes were discovered by the original owners hidden in a chest, untouched since the beginning of the century!
6. Explore a fortress
It’s not far from the metro line, but few tourists make it to the towering fort of Vyšehrad: a blissfully leafy oasis with stunning views over the city. Meaning “upper castle” in Czech, this fortress is on the right bank of the gorgeous Vltava River, offering epic views of Prague’s bridges and the famous Prague Castle. Bonus: you can see this fort from the Vltava river onboard the Grand Bohemia during the EuroSTAR Community Dinner!
7. Read on a zeppelin
Once a sprawling 1920s metal factory, the DOX Centre has been open since 2008. The exhibitions highlight video, sculpture, photography and painting. The piece de resistance is ‘Gulliver’. Inspired by early 20th century airships, this 42-metre long 10-meter-wide zeppelin is made of steel and wood, and suspended between two buildings. Stairs lead up to a massive reading room inside, where you can marvel at the stunning workmanship of the sculpture and appreciate literature in what is probably the most unique library in the world.
8. Forget what you know about ceramics
The oldest Czech ceramics date back to 25,000BC. The most popular modern style, blue onion porcelain, has been manufactured in the Czech lands since 1885 and is exported worldwide. If you want a souvenir that combines tradition with a quirky contemporary twist, head to Qubus: a whimsical ceramics gallery at the back of the Old Town square with cool and curious gifts. You may pick up a quirky souvenir from Prague!
9. Don your steampunk goggles
To really experience Prague at night, head for Cross Club: a thumping, thrilling steampunk style industrial factory with three floors of music, art, and hardware. It’s unabashedly industrial – everything is metal, and it’s usually moving. Think twisting shafts, cranks and pipes pulsating with psychedelic lights.
10. Hunt statues around the City
Step outside your door in Prague and it’s not long before you come across a statue – or three. Like a surrealistic sculpture in the Jewish Quarter depicting a mini Frank Kafka riding on the shoulders of a giant, empty suit (inspired by his short story ‘Description of a Struggle’). Or the life-sized ‘Man Hanging Out’, which depicts Sigmund Freud hanging one-handed from a pole, sticking out from a roof high above the Old Town. Don’t miss The Statue of St John of Nepomuk, one of the 30 sculptures mounted to the balustrade on the famed Charles Bridge. Touching the statue supposedly brings good luck and ensures your return to Prague!
12. Explore the dark arts.
Did you know that Prague was once the unofficial capital of the dark arts? Rudolf II (Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria) was fascinated in the occult arts, and during his reign became a patron for magicians, alchemists and sorcerers in Prague. The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague bring this era of occult science to life with evocative, fantastical displays. Tucked away off Old Town Square, it’s well worth a visit.
13. Get to grips with a grisly relic…
The Church of St James was founded in 1232, and given a baroque facelift in the 18th century. This massive three-aisled Gothic basilica is the third longest church in Prague. Look up to the right as you enter and you will see a severed human arm (yes, you read that correctly!) on the inside of the western wall. This shrivelled memento among the gilt and lustre is reputed to be the arm of a thief, caught trying to steal the jewels from the statue of the Virgin Mary. She gripped his arm in a such a vice that it had to be chopped off.
14. Spiral in a book tower
‘Idiom’ by Mateg Kren at The Prague Municipal Library is a must-see for bibliophiles. Both a dream and a nightmare for book lovers, it’s an infinite cylindrical Jenga tower of books that cannot be dismantled, (even with the most concentrated extraction techniques!) But it does make for a wonderful sight. Hundreds of books are carefully stacked in this staggering installation reaching to the ceiling, and the mirrors placed at the bottom and the top of the funnel give the exhibit the illusion of being infinite.
When planning your software testing training, we hope you will include the EuroSTAR Conference in your calendar this November and join us at Europe’s best software testing event! Book before 27th September and avail of 10% savings with our Early Bird Offer.