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The Statue of Saint Wenceslas
If someone in Prague tells you to meet at "the horse", you can be certain that at the time in question you need to be at the statue of Saint Wenceslas, at the top of the square of the same name, commonly known as Wenceslas Square. Here you'll find everyone from lovers holding flowers, to friends, students, and businessmen with briefcases at the most popular meeting point in Prague. The area arond the statue, the work of Josef Vaclav Myslbek in 1912, has been a focal point through the years for gatherings of the Czech people in times of crisis and celebration alike. From his horse, St. Wenceslas has been a silent witness to many a national event.
Saint Wenceslas Square
Despite its name, Wenceslas Square actually looks more like a boulevard or avenue. It is the center of cultural and social life in Prague, as well as an important commercial center, with a number of hotels, restaurants, cafes, discos, night clubs, cinemas, department stores, and other establishments. The Prague "Scene" starts and ends in Wenceslas Square. It's almost impossible not to find yourself on the Square at least once a day, to stop and have a coffee in one of its open-air cafes or do some shopping. The adjacent streets are also of interest, with their shops and other services, such as the Main Post Office on Jindrisska Street. Wenceslas Square was also the primary scene of the "Velvet Revolution" in 1989.
The Theater of the Estates
At the bottom of Wenceslas Square, you come to Mustek, also known as the"Cross of Gold", another popular meeting place in Prague and shopping center. Continuing to the next street, Rytirska, we turn to the right to encounter the imposing Stavovske Divadlo (Theater of the Estates), built in 1781. Only six years later it was the site for the World Premiere of Mozart's Don Juan, to the great pride of the city's inhabitants.
Not far from the Theater, you can find the Karolinium (the Great Hall of Caroline University), the site of the oldest university in Central Europe, founded by Charles IV in 1348. Besides the activities of the University itself, such as ceremonies and graduations, the Karolinium has exhibition halls and it also holds concerts of chamber music.
Following Zelezna Street, you'll arrive again in Staromestske Namesti, but this time you'll cross it quickly, and on the first street on the left you'll find the author of "The Metamorphosis". On the corner of the upper part of the building you'll see a bust indicating that the building in which the writer Franz Kafka was born was here. And a few steps in the other direction, you can find a permanent exposition about his life and his work.
After a bit of nostalgia, you can cheer yourself up on Parizska ulice (Paris Street), which connects Old-Town Square with Curie Square and the Hotel Intercontinental. It is one of the most beautiful streets in Prague, and its name is due to its resemblance to the streets of the french capital. The street contains the offices of many of the largest international airlines, a number of travel agencies, french perfume shops, a marvelous example of black theater, and no lack of romantic spots to share a glass of wine.
The Old-New Synagogue
At about the halfway point of Parizska ulice is the most condensed part of the city. Josefov, the Jewish Quarter or Ghetto, is another of the most popular tourist sites in Prague. One of its principal monuments is the Staronova synagoga (the Old-New Synagogue), one the oldest Gothic structures in the Czech capital. Its construction dates from the 1270's. Another of the more interesting places to see is the Jewish Town Hall with its tower, which has a clock with a hebrew face whose hands turn in the opposite direction. At the entrance to the Ghetto is the restaurant U radnice (At the town hall), with specialities from jewish cuisine.
The Jewish Cemetery
Walking to the end of U stareho hritova Street, you'll come to the main entrance of Zidovsky hrbitov (the Jewish Cemetery), one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, which was founded in the middle of the 15th century. The oldest tomb is from the year 1439, while the most recent is from 1787. Some 12,000 stones, practically piled on top of one another for lack of space, present the visitor with a broken and mysterious landscape. The most famous person to be buried here is Rabbi Low, to whom legend attributes the creation of the Golem, an artificial man. It is said that the body of the Golem lies a cellar spmewhere in Prague, waiting to return to life.
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