Secrets of Prague

Every decent guide book and tour guide tries to sell Prague as a city of secrets. In review, these secrets fall into three main topics: the Golem/Jewish quarter, Kafka, and the alchemists of Emperor Rudolph. Or even mix and match among them, if the guests wish.

This is a high standard, and I cannot fall short. So I also invite our readers to explore the secrets of Prague in the first days of next year, the first occasion of our series of thematic city tours in Prague.

During two days we will walk through the Jewish quarter, and moreover, two quarters for the price of one: the visible and the invisible, the present cemetery-synagogue island nestled in the shadow of the Art Nouveau palaces, and that far greater, vanished quarter, which used to be the history-making Jewish neighborhood of Prague, and which we will call to life with the help of old photos and maps. We will have our share of Kafka, too, as during our old town tour we will visit the surviving coffee houses where he and his literary friends hung out, and the ones where the father and his industrialist colleagues spent their time at the turn of the century. And we will also encounter the memory of alchemists, as we walk through the little streets below the castle, and learn about the history of each of their houses.

Because, in contrast to our earlier Galician, Southern Bohemian or Maramureș-Bukovinian tours, where we surveyed large areas over a relatively short time, this tour is planned as a slow walk around the quarters of Prague, and a detailed acquaintance with the history of the houses and their inhabitants, the restaurants and their guests. Of course, we cannot cover the entire city in two days, but we will survey, to the depth of an urban exploration, the core of the Old Town and the Jewish quarter, and, on the other side of the river, the little-known streets under the castle and on the Lesser Side. And during the year, I plan to regularly organize further thematic tours on the literary life of the turn-of-the-century and interwar Prague, the modern architecture of Prague, Prague under Nazi occupation and Communist rule, the industrial quarters and suburbs of Prague, the always-lively Prague of beer pubs and Hrabal… And, aside from football and politics, Prague is a topic on which everybody is an expert, and I gladly look forward to any suggestions, as well as any comments and personal memories during the tours.

The date is the first weekend of next year, with an arrival on 2 January (Friday) night, and departure on 4 January (Sunday) in the evening. Our accommodation is a few minutes away from the castle, in a four-star hotel. The participation fee for the two days is, depending on the number of participants, 100-110 euros (hotel with breakfast + guided tours). If you are interested, please write, without any obligation, by Thursday (4 December) at On the basis of this I will ask for a final quotation for the hotel rooms, and then I will write to each respondent, asking for a definite commitment.

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