By Cydney Adams
Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Photographers experience unequaled opportunities in this well-lighted, colorful city. The exhibition scene vibrates, as well. Follow me to the most iconic sites to take photographs and see collections.
1) OLD TOWN SQUARE
Pick a spot, any spot in Old Town Square, and you have a 360-degree view of impressive architecture and Czech history. Pastry stands and souvenir shops line the outer banks of the square, while tour guides waving their bright umbrellas fill the center.
You’ll find no fewer than 50 people with their heads tilted back, peering through a camera lens. Thousands of pictures of the Square sit on the web, but certain angles are still to be discovered, new compositions to be framed.
The Prague Astronomical Clock is located in the heart of the square. It is the oldest working clock in the world. Its face has an intricate but recognizable pattern. Zoom in on the face to capture a personal photo of the clock.
St. Nicholas Church stands adjacent to the clock. The heavy wooden door has an impressive archway above it that is often overlooked.
Instagram can lighten, enhance, and alter photos to add a more personalized touch to your snapshots.
Address: Metro Line A, Staromestská stop
2) CHARLES BRIDGE
The Charles Bridge is the most iconic spot in Prague. It’s been photographed in every way imaginable.
The bridge provides a perfect backdrop of the castle if you are looking for a classic shot during the day and in the evening at sunset.
However, the best photo can be taken around 5 a.m. At dawn a mist sits on top of the water, tourists are nowhere to be seen, and the sunrise creates the natural light that photographers value.
Professional photography by local artists is sold on the crowded bridge every day.
Licensed vendors set up next to the statues that line the bridge. Imagine passing carts every 10 feet as you walk the length of the bridge. Every other one displays photography more impressive than the last.
“I climbed up the side of the church in the rain to take that picture,” one photographer told me as I admired a black and white photograph.
Address: Karlův most- Metro Line A, Staromestská stop
3) LENNON WALL
Tucked beneath the Charles Bridge is the Kampa Café. Its exterior wall is plastered with what appears to be graffiti as you approach. Upon closer examination, you can see the collage of words and drawings are actually messages of hope, love, and peace.
Today travelers from all over the world write their messages, usually Lennon-inspired expressions or similar Beatles lyrics.The Lennon Wall has been under constant transformation since its creation in 1980 after John Lennon’s murder. Before the revolution, Czech youths and students gathered at the wall to express their grievances.
Writings can disappear under new creations within hours. I wrote my message on a Monday. By Wednesday it had been painted over.
The wall evolves. No picture is the same.
Address: Kampa Park, beneath the Charles Bridge
4) CZECH PHOTO GALLERY
The Czech Photo Gallery is small but fierce. Exhibits of famous Czech photographers rotate each month. It is located in a small corner building with only three rooms, but each boasts a plentiful collection of photography.
In the left corner, photography books of featured artists are for sale. Couches and old wooden floors provide a welcoming atmosphere.
I visited in May when The Best of Akt (Nude) Exhibit was up. The display shows the work of four Czech artists, all in black and white except for one. The pictures highlight the toned muscles of dancers and intimate moments of love.
It is tasteful and elegant work.
Address: Újezd 19, Praha 1 – Malá Strana.
5) DANCING HOUSE
Officially named the Nationale-Nederlanden building, the Dancing House stands on a corner facing the river. Built between 1992-1996, its modern architecture contrasts with the more traditional Gothic and Baroque buildings seen in the heart of Prague. It was originally named Fred and Ginger after the famous American dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
The building is a less popular attraction in Prague but stands as an example of the young Czech Republic’s ambition to join the ranks of modern republics in the 1990s.
A photo of the Dancing House is unique in itself, but you can also capture an unusual shot of the city at sunset while eating dinner on the top floor at Celeste Restaurant.
Address: Rašínovo nábřeží 1981/80, 120 00 Prague 2-New Town
6) PRAGUE CASTLE
Red rooftops appear to stretch for miles from the top of the Castle hill. Gardens wrap around every end of the grounds. St. Vitus Cathedral stands tall within the castle.
Your picture of the city will be classic no matter where you stand, how you point the camera, or what the weather permits.
The best photos can be taken on the side of the Vltava River at sunset.
Address: Pražský hrad, 119 08 Praha 1
7) HOW I MET PEOPLE PHOTO EXHIBIT
Located in an old room inside the castle walls, the exhibit has a rustic feel. It displays the work of famed award-winning Czech photographer Jaroslav Kučera.
The pictures span over the peak of his career, from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. The collection includes snapshots from the center of the riot that ended the Velvet Revolution on December 29, 1989, in Wenceslas Square.
It also includes pictures of the poor and desperate, down to their last resources. Kučera leaves out nothing.
Kučera’s work is powerful, gritty, and stirring. In all black and white, he expresses the joy and suffering of the Czech people during one of the toughest periods in their history.
Address: Theresian Wing, Old Royal Palace
Price: 100kc, or $5
8) PETRIN HILL/TOWER
Petřín Tower can be seen from almost every spot in the city, but travelers in Prague for a short time rarely make the long trip up the hill.
The 299 stairs are winding. The hill is steep. The climb is intense. It’s worth the trip.
The tower closely resembles the Eiffel Tower, and is often referred to as the Eiffel Tower of Prague. The hill gives Petřín enough height to surpass the height of the Parisian icon.
The top of the tower offers the best view of the city from above, but the climb itself holds many back from the picturesque view. Strap on your tennis shoes and hike to the top for dinner and pictures in the evening.
The walk will build your appetite, the dinner will satisfy it, and the view will be one of a kind.
Address: Petřínské sady, 110 00 Prague 1