One of the buildings at Námēstí Míru.I recently made a solo trip out to one of the most beautiful cities I have ever laid my eyes upon: Prague, or as its called in Czech, Praha! I spent about three days there, standing in awe beneath enormous churches and eating various versions of traditional Czech goulash. This city had some of the most breathtaking buildings, very much inspired by the Gothic architecture movement originating in France, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century.
Originally coined as Opus Franciginum (“French Work”), Gothic Architecture was envisioned by Abbot Suger of the Church of Saint Denis. By the time of his death, Abbot Suger had also invented what is known as a façade (the very intricately decorated and detailed front of a building, intended to set the tone for the rest of the edifice), and the rose window (a circular form of stained glass with different colorings or tracings suggestive in the form of a rose). Very characteristic of the medieval period, Gothic architecture spread all throughout Europe, but had a larger influence in Eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic.
My temporary home was in Vinohrady, which is also home to Námēstí Míru, literally translating to “Peace Square.” From my BnB, I could even see the Church of Saint Ludmila, which is a Neo-Gothic Church right in the center of Námēstí Míru, built from 1888-1893 by Bohemian architect Josef Mocker. Mocker also completed the St. Vitus Cathedral in the Prague Castle, which I had the chance to visit as well! The Prague Castle, or Pražský hrad, is the largest ancient castle in the world, according to Guinness Book of World Records, and it attracts over 1.8 million visitors each year. It dates all the way back to the ninth century, and is now the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle also holds the Bohemian Crown Jewels, which are the fourth oldest in Europe!
While taking a break from the beautiful sights, I made my way through the labyrinth of tiny, cobbled streets, on a search for the perfect goulash! I knew that this was a traditional Czech dish, so I had to try some while I was there. The first restaurant I went to seemed relatively new, and even though it had a traditional menu, the decor and atmosphere was very modern. A little strange, but I actually liked it a lot! I ordered some goulash, and what was served to me was not at all what I was expecting.
I thought goulash was some kind of soup with beans and chunks of meat or something, maybe I would get a bread roll on the side, but instead of finding that mess, I saw a beautifully plated hunk of beef, covered in this red, slightly spicy, but incredibly delicious sauce. To top that, it was served with four potato rolls, which I can only explain as really dense bread rolls with the flavor of a potato. That was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and I didn’t think it could get any better, so actually my quest for the best goulash ended at this little hole in the wall, of which I could not remember and definitely couldn’t pronounce the name, but it was about two blocks from my BnB! I just went there every night for a good dinner, sometimes I also for lunch, to fill my stomach to its physical capacity.
Because of my shortened food quest, and still not having visited all the places I wanted to see, I would definitely visit Prague again – no doubt. Next time though, maybe with a little more diversity in my meals? I’d like to see something other than goulash with different kinds of meat on my plate! And so, until next week’s adventure, I bid thee farewell!