All about Prague
Gingebread crib at Saint Matthew, Prague © PHB.cz on Fotolia.com
Christmas is a spectacular sight in Prague. Magnificent architecture gets dressed in a lace of shining lights; hundreds of Christmas trees sprout from nowhere lining up the imperial arteries, and even pedestrian alleys and markets; department-store window displays remind of the land of fairies and elves; and many other holiday attractions pop up around the city, spreading contagious cheer among locals and visitors.
It’s a season of joy and excitement, a time when age barriers fall, and the city becomes a huge playground for all. Even onlookers who don’t believe in Santa Claus find themselves looking up at the skies gazing to see the magic sleight and its reindeers.
You are greeted by colorful Christmas decorations at every step: some avantgarde, and using the latest technologies to woo and enthrall you; some artsy and chic, designed exclusively to make you want for more Christmas art; and finally, some traditional, to remind you of the local values, and the cultural past that shaped this holiday.
From the lobbies of Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace, Mamaison Hotel Riverside, and Mamaison Residence Belgicka, all decorated in the spirit of the season, as you step out you can live your own Christmas story.
Karlov Bridge in Prague © Sergii Figurnyi on Fotolia.com
First time visitors to the city must never miss the jolly atmosphere of the main Christmas markets of Prague, where tourists and residents alike spend hours munching on gingerbread cookies and Trdelník, or destroy their healthy diets with a fatty piece of ham and one sip too many from the local svařák wine, which perfumes the air with aromas of cinnamon and star anise.
If you want to avoid the crowds gathered around at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where Prague’s largest Christmas markets display all kinds of Christmas goods for sale, walk to Havelská Market, the city centre’s permanent market, where you can shop like the locals, without needing to pay a season premium on your purchase, and the local Trdelník is as tasty as anywhere else too.
Prague Christmas © holublu6 on Fotolia.com
Still, the true spirit of the Czech Christmas is better emphasized by the events organized at Toulcův Court in Prague – Hostivař. Here, the court and Baroque stables fill with almost a hundred craftsmen and retailers of traditional goods and old Czech snacks. Folklore and theater revive past traditions, Christmas nativity scenes, and local fairy tales. This is the place to learn how to make Christmas candles, greeting cards, decorations and even sweets. In other words, Toulcův Court is the ideal address to live an authentic Prague Christmas story, in an environment that educates and entertains.
Gingebread crib at Saint Matthew, Prague © PHB.cz on Fotolia.com
Then, buzzing restaurants, boutiques and nightlife will draw you in with even more surprises: special dishes, Christmas cocktails, sales, and amazing offers you cannot refuse. For restaurants, make sure you make a reservation way ahead, because this is the season when the locals take to the city’s eateries by thousands, all so jolly and merry, celebrating every opportunity with passion and joie de vivre.
Finally, when your spirit needs music to “wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” as Berthold Auerbach once said, you’ll find the heart of Prague beating in tune with God. Her beautiful churches, and even the Municipal House, open large doors, inviting the public to attend classical advent concerts and traditional Christmas carols. You’ll rarely need a programme to know what’s on: there’s always something going on during this season.
It’s an exciting time in Budapest for lovers of French cuisine. The “Semaine des saveurs françaises” (Week of French Flavors) is on, and La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest participates with an outstanding menu this weekend. The event takes place from 14 to 20 November, giving you the occasion to enjoy a variety of French gastronomic products, at different participating venues around Budapest, and at the French Embassy.
There will be several events organized by the Embassy of France and its partners in Budapest. On November 14 and 15, at the Market Hall (Budapesti Vásárcsarnokban) you can sample and buy a variety of French quality products: French dishes, wines and spirits, bakery products and pastries, cheeses and hams, meats and pates. French products will be showcased during this period in several supermarkets in Budapest.
Chefs David Rathgeber, Alain Caron, Patrick Jeffroy and Chris Salans come to Budapest to offer cookery classes and workshops, as well as to demonstrate their culinary skills during gala dinners.
The event culminates on November 20 with the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made from Gamay grapes, the most popular vin de primeur, which is celebrated all over France the third Thursday of November.
To celebrate the Semaine des saveurs françaises, the head chef at La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge will prepare a special tasting menu, which is available only today and tomorrow.
Make your table reservation at:
Tel. +36 1 555 1545
If you are a Mamaison guest in Prague, and you already know the hidden beauties of the City of a Hundred Spires, adventure out of the metropolis, to the countryside, not far from Strakonice, where you will find the oldest, and best preserved watermill in Bohemia.
The watermill originated in the Middle Ages, sometime in the late 1500s. The first documentary reference dates from 1654, and there is evidence that the trees used to build the ceiling of the granary were cut in 1568.
This architectural treasure, still fully operational, was converted into a museum, where you have the opportunity to join a variety of traditional events, like the Carnival, the Harvest Festival, Christmas, and many others. One of them takes place October 25, 2014, and celebrates the traditional South Bohemian pig-slaughtering. This celebration, held each year around the same day, marks the end of the tourist season in Bohemia, and represents an occasion for visitors to the Czech Republic to learn more about authentic local traditions, to experience the lifestyle of the countryside, and to sample culinary delicacies specific to this area.
The event attracts large numbers of local residents too – an opportunity to experience their friendly hospitality first hand. Thing of the festival as a family adventure, and bring your kids to teach them about life at the farm, storage and preparation of food, respect for tradition, and more.
The permanent exhibition of the watermill shows ethnographic items with focus on agriculture, including growing and processing of several important crops and cattle breeding, traditional meals, and local customs. For those who don’t want to leave the mill empty-handed, there’s a souvenir shop, selling local arts and crafts.
If you planned a day trip, don’t miss the ecological farm nearby, U starýho kance (At the Old Boar’s).
Hoslovice, U starýho kance (Image Michal Klajban on Wikipedia)
This is a family-run guesthouse, offering accommodation, but also a variety of activities, including horseback riding for all ages, fishing, farming activities, traditional dining, and even traditional pig slaughtering.
Fishing in Hoslovice (Image courtesy U starýho kance)
Last, but not least, stop in Strakonice, to visit the castle, which now hosts the Museum of Central Otava Basin. The Hoslovice Watermill is part of this museum. If your time at the mill was a rewarding cultural experience, what you will discover in Strakonice is a wealth of information, a beautiful architectural landmark, unique religious sites, and an outstanding garden, with castle safari where children and adults alike can see Ouessant sheep, Dutch dwarf goats and Cameroon goats, ponies and more.
October in Prague is a rich tapestry of colors and hues, tasteful culinary delights, and the sights and sounds of an eventful Fall spectacle to come. Whether it’s orchestral magic, sightseeing Fall colors in bliss, or even if you’re a Lady Gaga groupie, Prague is a happening this month.
Starting tomorrow, the Prague Philharmonic opens at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House with Strauss’ “The Gypsy Baron Overture,” in a celebration of 20 years in style II, Joyous Clamor From Hungary – Austria.
On October 4th beer lovers can say “cheers” to the Pilsner Fest at Plzensky Prazdroj, the leading brewing company in Central Europe. Here’s your chance to get the striaght, fresh tast of such world renown favorites as; Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, and Radegast a Velkopopovicky Kozel.
Also starting on the 4th, the Prague Feast of Apples takes places at Chateau Sychrov. Each year the first Saturday in October is dedicated to this symbol of fertility. Guests of the fest are treated to fancy cider, apple liquor, cookies, raw desserts, and much more.
Then on October 5th, pop diva Lady Gaga arrives at the O2 Arena with her latest art Rave/ArtPopball tour, straight in from her appearance in Hamburg. One of the world’s top live performers, Lady Gaga has sold nearly 4 million concert tickets worldwide. The Prague events is for promoting the pop star’s new album artpop, that debuted as the No. 1 album on Billboard.
If you want to play “dress up.” October 10th Prague’s swinging SaSaZu plays host to the 10th annual “Suit Up” party. This year electro-swing will be the tone performed by multicultural DJs, but the sexy dress up creativity is the real attraction.
For Winter sports fans, the Après Ski Praha – Winter Sports Festival runs from October 11th through 12th. The river embankment in Prague will be the site of a mini snow park and winter sports centre to host a weekend of fun activities such as; an adrenaline show, a giant jump over the river, snowboard & free-ski exhibitions, a children’s winter playground, a mini ski slope, races, competitions and more.
For the eccentric foodie (or weirdo) out there who loves the out of the ordinary, the Ghetto Food Festival is a sure fire “Bug Feast” at the Cross Club in Prague. Starting on the 26th, experience such delicacies as; live scorpions and some of the most exotic fruits you can imagine. If insects are your thing, or just strange meat dishes, this is the gastronomical event for you.
Later in the month, Kylie Minogue fans will be treated to her latest tour tunes live performing “Kiss Me Once” tracks and her greatest hits too. The concert begins at 20:00 at O2 Arena October 21st.
As you can already tell, just because summer is over Prague does not even slow down a bit. Fall is the season for countless festivals, concerts, and cultural events leading up to the Christmas season. There’s also sports, theater, art, and many other special events taking place during the month of October.
If you plan your vacation in Prague this October, check out our special offer:
Mamaison’s three outstanding properties, Mamaison Residence Belgicka, Mamaison Hotel Riverside and the luxurious Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace are the perfect starting points to explore Prague this Summer. Inviting, cozy and serene, with superb concierge services, and travel benefits for our guests, Mamaison Hotels can recommend the finest cultural events of the season, and everything else that will enrich your visit to this fine European city.
Prague ranks 7 among the top 10 cities in Europe in 2014, according to Travel&Leisure, the same position occupied by the city in 2013 as well. Cities are usually ranked for sights and landmarks, culture and arts, restaurants, people, and value. Prague has enough of everything. In fact, the city is so rich and diverse, that you need a lifetime to enjoy it at its fullest. But even as a visitor, staying here just for a brief time, you will leave richer.
This Summer, Prague is an open invitation for all lovers of arts and culture.
Prague Proms 2014
The Prague Proms 2014 is an annual music festival inspired by the BBC Proms in London. For visitors to Prague, this is the best occasion to see the best orchestras, choirs and musicians performing popular symphonies, and concerts, held at the Prague Municipal House, and at the Hybernia Theatre. Of note, the Bratislava Hot Serenaders, performing at Hybernia. The festival takes place between June 21 and July 20.
One World is Not Enough
One World is Not Enough (Jeden svět nestačí), an exhibition of art at the Clam Gallas Palace features XIX Century art treasures from the Patrik Simon collection. The entire month of July the exhibition enables you to admire works by Antonín Machek, Josef Navrátil, Vilém Kandler and many other Czech masters.
Vital Art Nouveau 1900
More treasures of the XIX century will remain on display at the Municipal House from the beginning of July 2014, till the end of December 2015. The Municipal House itself, the location of the Czechoslovak declaration of independence, is a gem of Art Nouveau architecture, and a must-see landmark. Vital Art Nouveau 1900 will show Czech and European Art Nouveau works, on loan from the Museum of Decorative Arts.
Prague Folklore Days
Folklore is often one of the best paths to understanding a destination. Local traditions are always fascinating. This year, July 24-27, you can attend the 8th International meeting of amateur folk groups in Prague, on open air stages at the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Republic Square. The Prague Folklore Days is the biggest folk dance event in central Europe.
Opera Barocca Summer Festival
The Opera Barocca Summer Festival is the event that closes the Summer. The festival will be held from Friday August 15th till Sunday September 7th at the Clam-Gallas Palace. The multicultural event will feature music, theater, dance and other performances, meant to entertain, but also to raise awareness about the Baroque traditions of the Czechs. Actors, dancers and singers, even some of the guests, will be wearing period costumes. Musicians will perform on authentic Baroque instruments.
(Photo: © maxoidos - Fotolia.com)
Prague is a city of diversity, with rich history, a fascinating art scene, and, most importantly for tourists, a vibrant festival calendar, encompassing everything from gastronomy, to fashion, film, music, and religion. During the Spring and Summer of 2014, Prague will celebrate its multicultural diversity with passion and panache. This is the ultimate festival guide for 2014, to inspire you to celebrate with the city, and with Mamaison Hotels & Residencies.
The Holešovice Fashion Market announced its April event to last between Friday 25 and Sunday 27. This is a great occasion for travelers, as well as for local residents, to buy original fashion and accessories directly from local designers and manufacturers. There will be fashion shows, music, and dance, to enhance the atmosphere, and to make the experience complete for everyone.
Location : HOLEŠOVICE MARKET, Bubenské nábřeží 306 Praha 7 – Holešovice
If you happen in Prague on the last day of April you will witness a unique local festival, with pagan roots: Paleni Cardojenic, translated, the “night of the witches.” The festival marks the last night of Winter, and the beginning of the Spring. This is the night when the witches come out to bring misfortune into the world. According to the local tradition, burning witch effigies on a pyre would keep their malefic magic away. Several fires will be lit on Petrin Hill to mark the tradition on April 30. Many restaurants, cafes, and cultural institutions around the city will organize special events to mark the date too. One of the largest gatherings, with contests, food and live music, takes place in the Ladronka Park.
Location: Petrin Hill, Ladronka Park, and others.
Prague Spring Festival (Photo © Jiří Bělohlávek )
The 69th edition of the Prague Spring Music Festival kicks off May 12, to last till June 2, 2014. Several venues across the city will stage competitions, concerts and other events. A special festival concert by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will be held Monday, March 24, in advance of the official opening date in May.
This is the most important cultural event of the Spring, and a must for music lovers. Among the highlights of the festival:
- Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana will appear at Prague Spring on May 24 in a programme featuring the music of Mahler and Strauss. Venue: Municipal House – Smetana Hall.
- The Hilliard Ensemble will be ending its professional career in 2014, and Prague Spring may be your last chance to see them together in concert: May 30, at Rudolfinum – Dvořák Hall.
- The Konvergence chamber ensemble will be performing at St Agnes’ convent, on May 19. In the programme: five world premieres, including Quartet No. 3 by Pavel Zemek-Novák and Viola Walk by Peter Graham, among others.
Other stellar participants include the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
The Czech Beer Festival is at its 7th edition in 2014. It will take place between May 14 and May 31, at the Areál Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The festival will bring together some of the best local breweries, showcasing over 70 brands of top quality Czech beer. But there’s more to the festival than good libations. Beers will be paired with equally rewarding cuisine, and the atmosphere will be enhanced by local bands, performing live, every day.
Dubbed “the most beautiful fringe festival in the world” by Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival in South Africa, the Prague Fringe Festival offers a diverse programme, of theatre, comedy, music and entertainment. This is an international event, with plenty to see for English-speaking guests. Participating venues: Divadlo Kampa, Divadlo Inspirace, A Studio Rubín, Divadlo Na Prádle, and other small Prague theaters. The Fringe Festival takes place from May 23, to May 31, 2014.
The Prague International Music Festival United Islands celebrates its 11th edition in 2014, and it already ranks as the city’s largest open-air music festival. The festival opens with the traditional Club Night on June 11, and it will last till June 24, 2014. Participants include Nylon Jail, Vložte kočku, Voila!, Lanugo, Kieslowski, Palermo, Love Earth and many others. The complete programme is available online at http://unitedislands.cz/
Location: Kampa, Střelecký ostrov and Kinsky Garden.
Metallica By Request: Aerodrome Festival only lasts one day in July, but it is set to attract thousands of fans at the Incheba open air arena. Fans of heavy metal will see Alice In Chains, Children Of Bodom, Kvelertak in concert, before the stage will be taken by Metallica, whose performance will be the peak of the event on July 8, 2014.
Location : Incheba Open Air Areál Výstaviště 69, Praha 7
One of the top festivals in Prague, the Summer Festivities of Early Music are celebrating their 15th edition this year, between July 14 and August 6. The festival is focused on Medieval music, and takes place at several historic locations, including the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, the Troja Chateau, the Břevnov Monastery and the Prague Castle.
The International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre Letní Letná gathers together new circus companies from around the world in a unique celebration, which embraces a wide variety of cultural and artistic manifestations, including street art, photography, concerts, open air shows, and much more. The festival has something in store for everyone: there will be at least five shows per day for children. If you are in Prague between August 17 and September 2, 2014, don’t miss it.
Location: Letná Park
La Rotisserie is the Warsaw playground of Chef Paweł Oszczyk, who has been recently designated as Chef de l’Avenir 2014, a prestigious award by the International Academy of Gastronomy, which recognizes culinary excellence. This is also where you will meet Andrew Strzelczyk, the Polish Champion Sommelier in both 2012 and 2013. With such a stellar team, no wonder that La Rotisserie ranks among the best restaurants in town, but more importantly for our guests, it does so without an intimidating price tag.
La Rotisserie is an elegant space that attracts in equal measure the prosperous local couples, tourists from other hotels, and the most sophisticated foodies from Warsaw and beyond. The Chef meets their expectations by creating seasonal menus that woo and please the most demanding palate. A blend of French, Italian, and Polish cuisine, the menu is inspired by Mamaison’s own guests, by their diversity, and demands, as well as it is inspired by their needs. The finest selections of local products are then transformed into a mouth-watering, conversation-stopping main that makes guests go “Mmmm…”
If you think that our cuisine is wonderful, wait until you see our wine list. Fine vintages, hand selected by our multiple champion sommelier, Andrzej Strzelczyk, heighten every palatable menu item to perfection. Imagine sitting across from that someone special, perfect chalice of in your hand, sipping the nectar of Dionysus. If romance needed a definition, this is it.
We dare you to be adventurous, and to try our gourmet menu, instead of picking your favourite from the a la carte selections. We offer the perfect combination of aphrodisiac ingredients, daring flavours, and worry-taming colours and flavours that can easily turn the darkest mood to light-hearted effervescence. This is our chef’s pride and joy, the thing that makes La Rotisserie the perfect romantic destination. Surprisingly, this is the same element that attracts most of our business clients.
Finally, if you read our menu aloud the inescapable “Oh my!” will surprise you. Do this exercise, repeat after us: “Brillat Savarin cheese with raspberry chutney.” It sounded delicious, now didn’t it? Book a table for lunch, or if you want to rekindle a brilliant romance, trust us with the hardest part, the thing that goes through your stomach – a.k.a. LOVE.
Our guests staying at Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace, Mamaison Hotel Riverside, or Mamaison Residence Belgicka enjoy a wealth of attractions within short distance from their hotels. These are some of the things we recommend for first time-visitors.
There’s no charge to enter the grounds of the Prague Castle, but a ticket grants you entrance to the St Vitus’s Cathedral, the Castle museum, the Basilica of St George, the Golden Lane and the Daliborka Tower.
Then don’t miss the Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti) and its architectural gems: Church of Our Lady, the Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock, and the St. Nicholas Church.
Of course, Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) is a must. It is the oldest Prague bridge built in the place of a former Judith Bridge which had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. The Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge (as it was originally called) was founded by Emperor Charles IV in 1357 and acquired the name Charles Bridge in 1870.
A must see, the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is surrounded by the Old Town. It is believed that the quarter has its origins in the 10th century, when the first Jews came here. Here you’ll find one of Prague’s best known landmarks, the Old Jewish Cemetery. The most notable personalities buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery are Yehuda ben Bezalel known as the Maharal Rabbi Löw (d. 1609), Mordechai Maisel (d. 1601), David Gans (d. 1613) and David Oppenheim(d. 1736).
The Strahov Monastery and Library (Strahovský kláster) is a temple for tradition and culture. Visitors are encouraged to visit the libraries, which boast over 125,000 volumes – one of the world’s most profound collections of theological texts – and stunning interiors.
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