The capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic, Prague is one of the most important cities of Eastern Europe. The end of communism in Czech brought Prague onto the world stage and lately it has become one of the most visited cities of Europe.
The best time to visit Prague is September and October, right between summer and winter. While summer temperatures are not extreme, the season is prone to storms and showers. Winters are dry but quite cold and gloomy. Snow cover may start as early as mid-November and stretch all the way to March.
1100 years old, Prague has had a tumultuous history. It was a flourishing economic and social centre, a seat of two Holy Roman empires, a key player in both the World Wars, was bogged down by communism and then resurged in the post-communist era – this diverse lifespan has lent the city a vibe, impossible to encapsulate.
“Hello” screams the fluorescent lights above the reception. Dark grey covers the walls in the lobby and extends into the corridors, creating an ambience that soothes and entices the visitor to venture inside. Wall art and sculptures scattered through the hotel are quirky and match the hip, fun and youthful design culture of the designers of the hotel. All the art out here has been created by emerging Czech designers and artists.
The rooms are essentially monochromatic; the art on the walls too is in black. In some rooms, scrawling poetry or quotes replace paintings. An odd piece of furniture in neonish shades provides a burst of colour to the understated room palette. Step ladders in pink and apple green have been placed as bedside tables. The fusion element extends into the rooms with both new and vintage pieces finding acceptance in its interiors. Dramatic light fixtures and innovative wardrobes further add to the cool element of this hotel.
The Fusion Hotel ignores the rules of convention and manages to create a dynamic and contemporary atmosphere. It follows a design philosophy that is functional but with a streak of funk in it.
King Charles IV built the Charles Bridge in the 15th century, to serve as a connection between the Prague Castle and the Old Town. Today, several modern bridges run parallel to this historic structure but this is the one to which all the crowds gravitate. A stunning gothic Old Town bridge tower holds up one end of the bridge. Thirty baroque statues line up the bridge looking down upon the vendors, street artists, tourists, etc thronging the bridge. But by night, the crowds dissipate and the bridge dons the aura of the years when only horse hooves crossed it.
Chains zigzag across the ceiling, shoes, bags and other apparel hooked to them create a unique display of the Puma products. The Puma Social Club in Prague draws inspiration from the chain cloakrooms in the mines. Being hung up on chains ensured that the miners’ clothes would be aired out to be used again the next day. Here, they add the spunk which makes the Puma Social Club stand out from just another store.
Standing on a street lined with fine baroque and art nouveau buildings, the Dancing House in Prague has caused a double take for many a first-time passerby. This ultra-modern structure of glass and steel along the Vltava River appears to be swaying to its own inherent rhythm. For a city that takes great pride in its rich history and architecture, the Dancing House was not easily accepted initially, but it danced its way into the Czech hearts and has now been featured on a gold 2000 CZK coin issued by the Czech National Bank.
Text By Himali Kothari