Rutronik News

The Golden City

  Newsletter Article

The names given to the Czech capital Prague are as numerous as its history is rich and diverse: the Golden City – perhaps due to the sandstone towers that shimmer in golden tones when the sun shines, or maybe on account of the measures undertaken by Charles IV to gild the towers of Prague Castle, or it may even be attributable to the fact that during the reign of Rudolf II in the 17th century the city became a magnet for alchemists and their attempts to convert base metals into gold. Other names include the City of One Hundred Spires, due to the numerous spires that punctuate the historical skyline, or a “Symphony of Stone” – a name bestowed on Prague by the merchant Ibrahim ibn Yaqub.

Prague's history is brimming with events that have had significance beyond the city itself and indeed for the whole of Europe. Charles University, the first university in Central Europe, was founded here in 1348. The Second Defenestration of Prague on May 23, 1618 triggered the Thirty Years War, which devastated large parts of Central Europe and especially the Holy Roman Empire. Czechoslovakia was formed after the First World War, with Prague becoming its capital.

In 1968, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia sought to create a new form of "socialism with a human face" - the Prague Spring was crushed a little later by troops from the Warsaw Pact. The citizens of Prague swapped or even removed street signs to slow down the advance of the Soviet soldiers unfamiliar with the region, thereby confusing the occupying forces.

And in the German Embassy in Prague, the then foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP) spoke the following words: "Dear Compatriots, we have come to inform you that it is now possible for you to travel to the Federal Republic of Germany." It represented a milestone on the way to German reunification with one astonishing long-term consequence: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Allegro restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel became the first restaurant in the former Eastern bloc to be awarded a Michelin star back in 2008.

As mentioned at the start, however, Prague not only has a rich history, but also a rich culture and impressive buildings. Prague Castle, built in the ninth century and renovated many times since, is the world's biggest enclosed castle complex with an area occupying some 18 hectares (180,000 square meters). Every year, 1.8 million tourists visit the castle, which was also the location of the Second Defenestration of Prague.

Equally world-famous is Charles Bridge, which harbors a secret: King Charles IV laid the foundation stone on July 9 at precisely 5.31 a.m. The king, who took a keen interest in astrology and numerology, chose the time due to the increasing and decreasing number sequence 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1 (year, day, month, time). And while we're on the subject of numbers, another sight worth seeing is Prague's astronomical clock mounted on the Old Town Hall. It was built in 1410 and has been constantly extended over the centuries. The animated figures, which come to life on the hour, were only added in the 17th century. Incidentally, an exact replica of the clock stands in the South Korean capital Seoul.

The Czech Republic is also world-famous for its beer: Pilsener is one of the most consumed varieties of beer - and the citizens of Prague top the global league of annual beer consumption with 155 liters per capita. It pretty much goes without saying in a city where the residents love their beer so much that there is a beer spa in which people can bathe in the cool amber nectar - and of course drink unlimited quantities of it (naturally from a separate barrel!). Ideally, some nice food is also needed to go with the cool beer: Eisbein - or ham hock - is a Prague specialty. It may sound bizarre, but it actually tastes amazing. And any Germans who are still a little unsure only need to think of Helmut Kohl. After all, they do eat sow's stomach in the Palatinate region.

Fortunately, the narrowest street in Prague is not located on the route the Rutronik office. It is just 50 centimeters wide, but has its own traffic lights. This is only logical, because it can get pretty cozy trying to squeeze past one another in a street measuring just half a meter across - at worst, people get stuck. We have put together a list of other things to do and see in the city of Prague:

Restaurant: U Provaznice (www.uprovaznice.cz/en/)
Situated close to the Můstek metro station on the A Line and Wenceslas Square is U Provaznice, which serves traditional Czech cuisine, beer, and a selection of homemade lemonade. The atmosphere is rustic yet cozy and the dishes are based on recipes that have been handed down over the generations, with no additives or flavor enhancers.

Restaurant: U Magistra Kelly (www.umagistrakelly.cz/index-en.html)
Traditional Czech cuisine is also on the menu at U Magistra Kelly. Everything is lovingly done by hand here, whether smoking sausages or slicing cucumbers. To accompany the long-established recipes, U Magistra Kelly serves unfiltered Gambrinus beer, Kozel dark beer, and a selection of the finest local wines.

Restaurant: Svejk Restaurant U Karla (www.svejk-restaurant.cz/de/)
Svejk Restaurant U Karla exudes the unique atmosphere from the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the immediate vicinity of the famous U Fleku brewery. The menu features a wide selection of hot and cold dishes and, of course, a long list of beer specialties.

Bar: Reduta Jazz Club (www.redutajazzclub.cz/en)
The Reduta Jazz Club is one of the top ten jazz clubs in Europe and is regarded as a cultural landmark of the city. It has been home to the Czech jazz scene ever since it opened its doors in 1957. Concerts are held in the main hall, while in the Saxophone Bar you can choose between high-quality wines, cocktails, and naturally a wide selection of beers.

Bar: SaSaZu (www.sasazu.com/en/best_asian_restaurant_prague)
SaSaZu is actually a restaurant in the upper price range. Accordingly, guests can enjoy fine dining here. The real highlight, however, is the live music played by the DJ or the opportunity to get a massage, making a visit to SaSaZu a worthwhile experience for all the senses.

Hotel: Don Giovanni Hotel Prague (don-giovanni.prague-hotels.org/de/)
The four-star Don Giovanni Hotel features modern architecture and Mediterranean flair at affordable prices. The hotel has a Turkish steam room, a hammam, and a massage service as well as fitness classes and a gymnasium. In addition, the rooms are equipped with a kettle and a dishwasher. The Don Giovanni is about five kilometers from the city center.

Hot spot: Old Town Square (prag.sehenswuerdigkeiten-online.de/sehenswuerdigkeiten/altstaedter-ring.html)
The Old Town Square is a popular meeting place for visitors to Prague. There are numerous cafés and street artists in the square, which occupies around 9,000 square meters. Lovers of romantic and Gothic architecture have a wealth of buildings to admire, as have fans of Renaissance and baroque buildings. The Old Town Hall with its famous astronomical clock can also be found here.

Hot spot: National Museum (www.nm.cz/en)
The Czech National Museum in Prague is - perhaps hardly surprisingly - the biggest in the country. It is made up of five specialist institutes: the Museum of Natural Science, the Historical Museum, the National Museum Library, das Naprstek Museum of Asian, African, and American Cultures, and the Czech Museum of Music.