Czechoslovakia declared itself independent from the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 28th October 1918. Even though it was only the beginning many other struggles—occupation by Nazi Germany, Soviet Rule, and the Velvet Revolution—the date remains significant for the Czechs. The city celebrates its 100th year of independence this month and the celebrations are planned on a grand scale. Here is a list of the must-dos in the city.
- Astronomical Clock: The 600-year-old Astronomical Clock in the heart of the town attracts thousands every year. With its twelve apostles, gilded face, astronomical markings, and unique story, it is one of the most popular sites in the city. Interestingly, it is the first time since the bombings of 1945 that the monument has gone under repair and will be unveiled in October, in time for the centennial celebrations.
- Opera House. Prague is among the most affordable places in the world to witness an Opera. Many concerts and shows have been planned for the season. Prague Symphony Orchestra, Celebration Concert for the 100th anniversary, and the most important of all, and Czech Philharmonic: The Opening Concert of the 123rd Season in the newly renovated Rodulfinum are some of them. If one wants to witness an Opera, Prague is the place for it.
- Museums and Galleries: Prague has been home to some of the greatest artists, it is, naturally, also home to some great museums and galleries. Veletržní Palác, the National Gallery, is the largest in the city and displays works by Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt; The Franz Kafka Museum is dedicated to the author, Kampa Museum, in lesser town, showcases contemporary Czech artists. Many open spaces with art installations act as galleries too. On the occasion of the independence celebration, the Castle itself is hosting a series of exhibitions – a collection from the World Wars I & II, and works from the Austro-Hungarian Empire being the most coveted of these.
- Signal’s Festival: Every October, the town of Prague comes alive with fireworks and lights. The annual Signal Festival is the biggest outdoor exhibition in the city. Art installations come up in every street and corner, monuments glimmer in colourful lights, the sky glitters with fireworks, and the city witnesses a large influx tourists from all over the world. The festival in 2018, promises to be bigger and better with orchestras, musicals, exhibitions and expositions.
- City Tours: The best way to see Prague inside out is to take a tour with the locals or one of the many tour operators. Many tours come free of cost although you are expected to tip the guide, some are paid upfront. Old Town Tour, Castle Tour, Night Tours, Jewish Quarter Tour – the options are innumerable and most come with passionate guides who not only show you hidden parts of the town, but also tell you stories behind every corner of the city. And every corner in Prague has a story to tell.
* A version of this story first appeared in Provoke Lifestyle Magazine.