Czech Republic – What you might not know about Prague
When Eastern Europe started to move out of the shadow of old mother Russia, there was no city quicker off the mark than Prague.
Tallinn, Ljubljana, Zagreb and the rest may be pushing for a place on the tourist high table these days, but like Usher the Czech capital was popular ten years ago.
Perhaps the city’s best known claim to fame is that the locals drink more beer per capita than any other country in the world.
The total consumption – divided by every man, woman, grandparent and baby in the country – is around 150 litres per year, or in other words almost half a litre daily, for every person.
Impressed? Well, here’s ten of the more unusual facts about Prague…
* The city is home to a graffiti wall devoted to former Beatle John Lennon – even though he never visited Prague. The tribute began after his death in 1980 and is unofficially named “John Lennon Wall”. Situated near the Charles Bridge, it is covered in portraits, Beatles lyrics and scrawled messages
* Talking of the Charles Bridge, which connects the Old Town of Prague and the neighbourhood of Mala Strana, it is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those whose heads ended up at pikes by the bridge after being executed – apparently they walk up and down the bridge as they please
* The 9th century Prague Castle is officially the largest in the world. It has been expanded several times throughout its history
* Prague has a Dancing House inspired in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It also symbolises how communism started changing to make space to democracy
* The Jewish Quarter of Prague was not demolished in World War II. Legend says Hitler planned to retire in there and wanted to turn the Josehof Quarter in to a museum, dedicated to what he hoped would be an extinct race
* The narrowest street in Prague is barely 50 cm (20 inches) wide. Called Vinárna Čertovka, it even has its own traffic light to prevent pedestrians meeting in the middle and having to try to get past each other
* Prague was the first post-communist country to have a Michelin-star restaurant
* Turkeys aren’t scared of Christmas is Prague. That’s because the locals prefer to celebrate the festive season with carp – often bought a few days before and left swimming in the bath to keep fresh for the big day
* The most famous square is Wenceslas Square, formerly known as Horse Market. It was renamed Saint Wenceslas square in 1848
* Prague’s Astronomical Clock can also be found a thousand miles away – in Seoul. A replica was built in the Hongda district there