Living in Prague
The magical city of Prague with more than hundred spires filling the sky has been the political, cultural, and economic center of the Czech state for more than 1100 years. Almost four million visitors visit Prague each year, making it one of the major tourist destinations in Europe. Students from all over the world are attracted to this cosmopolitan city with over 1.2 million residents.
Prague contains a unique collection of historical monuments dominated by the Prague Castle, the largest castle in the world. Students can walk through the meandering cobbled-stone streets and enjoy the stunning architecture. Although Prague feels like a medieval village, it contains an eclectic mix of lively restaurants, cafes, museums, art galleries, and music clubs.
The historical center is situated on both banks of the Vltava river and consists of six areas. They include: Staré Město (Old Town), Josefov (the preserved part of the former Jewish Town - today a part of the Old Town), Nove Město (New Town), Mala Strana (Lesser Town), Hradčany, and Vyšehrad. The center contains most of Prague‘s historical monuments, museums, and galleries.
While the historic center is vibrant and popular, Prague’s efficient public transportation system makes it easy to explore trendy districts such as Žižkov, Vinohrady, and Smíchov. Students will find a more local vibe with cheaper restaurants and fewer tourists.
Czech cuisine is often hearty and substantial with dishes typically consisting of a meat, sauce, and a side dish (potatoes or dumplings). Although you can find traditional Czech food on every street, Prague boasts a diverse and vast number of restaurants and ethnic cuisine. With hundreds of different restaurants and cafés to choose from, students will find that Prague satisfies all of their hunger needs. Prague offers many types of ethnic cuisine such as, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Mexican. Vegetarians will also find that many establishments offer meat-free dishes and some restaurants and supermarkets are strictly vegetarian.
The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech. All students will take a two-week intensive Czech course (one-day Survival Czech in the summer) in the beginning of the program to prepare them for the rest of the semester. Prague is a cosmopolitan city and it is common to hear English, German, Russian, and other languages spoken.
Since the early 1990s, Prague has seen a boom in shopping centers and modern department stores. There are many located throughout Prague and are convenient for students to access. For designer shops and brands, students will find themselves strolling along the tree-lined Pařížská Street, or Paris Street. For more traditional items, students can visit one of the outdoor markets with Czech food and souvenirs.
Students move around Prague on foot or by public transportation. Prague has an excellent and safe public transportation system which includes a metro, trams, and city buses. It is considered to be one of the most efficient transportation systems in Europe. Students may purchase a discounted three-month student transportation pass upon arrival. For the summer term, the transportation pass is included in the program fee.
Did you Know?
- The Czech Republic has more castles than Disney World.
- The following movies were filmed in Prague: Mission Impossible, Blade II, Tristan & Isolde, Euro Trip, The Bourne Identity, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, Amadeus, A Knight's Tale, and many more!
- Prague is home to the real Good King Wenceslas (Christmas carol).
- The word, robot, was first coined by Czech author, Karel Čapek.
- Contact lenses were invented by Czech chemists, Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lím.
- According to Forbes Magazine, the Prague Zoo is rated “7th Best Zoo in the World.”
- These famous people were born in the Czech Republic: Madeleine Albright (former U.S. Secretary of State), Sigmund Freud (psychoanalyst), Jaromir Jagr (NHL hockey player), and Franz Kafka (writer).
- Mozart’s, Don Giovanni, was performed for the first time in Prague’s Estates Theater.