Praha: What’s New in Prague?
What’s New in Prague, Czech Republic?
By Eleanor Harte
Updated in 2021 by Dana Armstrong
Anyone planning to travel to Prague in the near future is in luck: there are a number of new activities for travelers. There is something for the history buff, sporting fan, and cinematic enthusiast, as well as families and children. Prague is known as Praha to locals.
The city’s latest campaign highlights The Towers of Prague, now open to tour again following the pandemic. Buildings such as the Petřín Lookout Tower (a smaller but equally impressive structure inspired by and built around the same time as Paris’s Eiffel Tower) and the Powder Gate Tower (a 1475 structure that has lived two lives as a gunpowder store and the starting point for the coronation procession of Czech kings) are featured in promotional videos.
These blend together Prague’s rich arts, history, and culture with its diverse architecture in gorgeous minute-long videos. As the videos claim, to Stay in Prague is to stay enthralled, charmed, stunned, and bohemian.
Museums in Prague
Those who like cinema should visit the Karel Zeman Museum, which celebrates the life of the film director Karel Zeman, who made Czech cinematography world famous in the 20th century. Each individual room is thought of as its own film studios, and visitors have the opportunity to step onto stages with backdrops to shoot scenes as if they are in the movie themselves. This is a participant-focused museum with many interactive parts. It’s a great spot for families with kids.
The popular, London-based wax museum, Madame Tussauds, opened a branch in Prague in 2019. Visitors can pose alongside the wax replicas of celebrities like David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Julia Roberts, Albert Einstein, and Muhammad Ali.
History buffs interested in the Cold War should not miss the nuclear fallout shelter under the Hotel Jalta in Wenceslas Square. The shelter was used as a refuge for the Communist Party leadership in case the square was attacked.
It is set up as it was during the Cold War, and 45 minute guided tours are offered in multiple languages. When it was operational, the shelter could hold up to 280 people and housed a hospital and spy rooms.
The museum Chocostory offers two unique museums for the price of one. In its chocolate museum, visitors can attend a short workshop where they make chocolate bars, truffles and more. There is also an attached choco shop where visitors can purchase treats to take them home. Children especially love the chocolate-making workshop and the sweet treats that come with it.
With the same ticket, visitors also have access to the wax figures museum, also known as the Musée Grévin. It allows visitors to travel through time into different periods of world history. In each section, visitors can pose with the wax figures from that time period. The museum focuses on many well-known Czech personalities and people connected with Czech culture, but it also contains over 30 figures of modern stars.
“Many of the celebrities donated their own costumes or accessories for their wax figures, which makes them even more authentic,” said Kamila Bakotová, marketing manager at Prague City Tourism. There is also a section of the museum where visitors can learn about the process of making wax figures and create virtual wax models.
In June 2020, the massive Chocotopia Experience Center opened in Commercial zone Průhonice-Čestlice. This center offers even more chocolate-making workshops suited to all age groups and hosts children’s birthday parties. Guests can also participate in Cake Battles, where they each make six cakes and then get to throw them at friends and family.
Also be sure to check out The National Museum at St. Wenceslas Square. Though the museum is over 130 years old, it is constantly updating. The museum completed its decade-long restoration project on its main historical building in 2018, and in September 2021 it opened The Miracles of Evolution, Europe’s latest natural history exposition.
The National Museum has an exciting lineup of exhibitions through 2023. Catch the Olympic Tokyo exhibit through the end of 2021. Learn more about the Czech Republic’s musical legacy through its Famous Czech Composers exhibit, running from November 2021 to June 2022.
Finally, see the Museum from the Cellar to the Attic exhibition running until June 2023. As described by The National Museum, this exhibition “maps the history and present of the National Museum. Take a look at the life of the Museum as an institution, a historical building, a place where priceless artifacts are stored, as well as a space linked to many interesting personalities.”
These new activities in Prague only add to the multiple great attractions that are already there. Prague is a fabulous city for walking, eating, and sightseeing. Musicians play on the Charles Bridge, vendors sell great products in the markets, and there are many museums to explore. There is something for everyone in Prague.
Eleanor Harte is a journalist and writer based in Boston, MA. She’s fortunate to have studied abroad in Paris and to have visited Ireland, Belgium, Scotland, the Czech Republic, and a few other countries, but she has many remaining on her list! She’s always looking for the next adventure.