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Pisztory Palace

The Pisztory Palace is a historic landmark of Bratislava, just five minutes by car or fifteen minutes on foot from Mamaison Residence Sulekova

Local pharmacist Felix Pisztory appointed architects and builders to erect the superb estate in the 1890s. It preserves many of its original features, including gilded frescoes on the ceiling and mosaic flooring in the staircase hall. Some of the crystal chandeliers are original too. A Gastach allegoric painting dating from 1895 is in excellent condition and can be admired inside the palace as well. 

In 2016, the  Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) conducted restoration works at the palace facades and the roof. Since 1963, 
the Pisztory Palace is a National Cultural Monument of the Slovak Republic. 

During its time, the palace served as a private residence, as the German Embassy during World War II, and later as the home of the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Museum and the House of Slovaks Living Abroad. Since 2012 the Pisztory Palace it is a cultural center hosting a wide variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, theater,  and much more. The venue is available for hire for weddings, banquettes, and conferences. 

In the left wing of the palace, there is a special community center designed to encourage participation of the more disadvantaged groups of population in a non-traditional artistic way, for example via theater, performance, and dance.  The actors are recruited from homeless people, physically disabled, and people belonging to socially disadvantaged groups.

The garden of the Pisztory Palace is an impressive sight. Restored in 2012, it is carefully landscaped and enhanced with all kinds of medicinal plants and herbs to honor the memory of its first owner, pharmacist Felix Pisztory.

As from December 2016, the Pisztory Palace on Štefániková Street is incorporated in the network of Old Town cultural centers.

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The Sacré Coeur Park is an oasis of green in walking distance from Mamaison Riverside Hotel Prague – about twenty minutes on foot or two minutes by car. It is a picturesque site that occupies the site of a garden landscaped in 1872 on the grounds of a former vineyard. The park, as it stands today, was developed in 2004.

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Czech Beer Spa Žitná in Prague

Beer spas are a trend in Eastern Europe now and Prague has several venues where you can see why they gain momentum. The beer spa culture in the Czech Republic was pioneered by the Chodovar Brewery, a family business located in Chodová Planá. It’s worth the two-hour drive from Prague to Chodová Planá to visit the brewery, but there are also several newer spas in the Czech capital to satisfy your curiosity. Without further ado, here are the best beer spas in Prague:

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Welcome to a world of magic and alchemy: featuring four lesser-known Prague attractions and a spa to pamper you in the winter.

  • 1. Lázně na lodi

    Lázně na Lodi

    Lázně na Lodi at Rašínovo nábřeží


    Lázně na lodi is a wellness center with sauna and spa. It is located on the river at Rašínovo nábřeží and offers jaw-dropping views of the city. Guests can enjoy a classic Finnish sauna and bathe in a hot water outdoor pool. The a pilot project by H3T architekti, aims to test the interest of Prague residents and visitors in sauna facilities. So far, the project is a success.
  • 2. Muzeum Smyslů

    Muzeum Smyslů, the Museum of Senses, is a playful tourist attraction, which only opened in November 2017. It is a unique experience, fun and educational at the same time. You start with a walk through a dark tunnel where the water flows upwards, and the journey will take you to the top of a skyscraper, to a dessert of optical illusions, in a park where you can play music and form extraordinary sand structures, and so on. Simply fascinating, and a great stop for a fun winter afternoon in Prague.

    Muzeum Smyslů

    Muzeum Smyslů: Infinity disco room

  • 3. Mysteria Pragensia

    The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians “Mysteria Pragensia” is a sensational attraction that offers a trip into the occult with odd exhibits that challenge your imagination and beliefs. They also have a pub and often offer ghost tours of Old Prague, as well as boat tours on the Vlatva.

    Mysteria Pragensia

    Museum of Alchemists and Magicians

  • 4. Reon Argondian’s Magical Cavern

    Reon Argondian’s Magical Cavern on Petřín Hill is an art project the artist started in 2005. It’s a private cave-like museum with walls covered with the psychedelic paintings of Argondian (nee Jan Zahradnik). This is also the artist’s studio, where you can meet him and see him at work.

    Magical Cavern

    Reon Argondian inside his Magical Cavern

  • 5. Speculum Alchemiae

    We remain in the world of magic with our last stop: Speculum Alchemiae. It is a relatively new attraction, discovered after the floods that affected the historical center of Prague in 2002. This was the secret laboratory of the alchemists of the rennaissance and the current exhibition gives an authentic view of the city’s occult past, featuring items that belonged to personalities like John Dee, Tadeáš Hájek of Hájek, Rabbi Löw, and Tycho Brahe among many others.

    Speculum Alchemiae

If you have more than a weekend in Prague, you could also visit Matej Kren’s “Idiom” installation at Mariánské nám. 98/1, in the entrance hall of the Prague Municipal Library. The artist’s “tower of books” was installed here in 1998 and still fascinates the visitors of the library. Made of 8,000 books, the tower has also been sometimes dubbed the “Column of Knowledge.”

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Holešovice

Holešovice has emerged in the past ten years as Prague’s capital of cool. It boasts fancy industrial spaces housing bars, clubs, and all kinds of artsy shops showcasing up and coming Czech designers and artists. Some of its abandoned factories and slaughterhouses are now used for pop-up cultural events, exhibitions (like DOX Center for Contemporary Art), or are centers for performing arts.

Some of the coolest places to see in Holešovice include the neo-Gothic Church of St. Anthony of Padua, the Veletržní palác, and the Praha-Holešovice railway station. But besides architectural landmarks, this neighborhood offers enough to entertain you.

The Národní galerie v Praze, National Gallery in Prague, is housed in large part inside the Veletržní palác. One the largest museums in Central Europe, the gallery has an extensive permanent collection featuring works by artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Miró, Klimt, Gauguin, and many others. Czech and Slovak painters and sculptors are also represented through the works of Alfons Mucha, František Kupka, Rudolf Fila, and Bohumil Kubišta, among many others.

Výstaviště Praha is another interesting destination in Holešovice. These are Prague’s Exhibition Grounds, a popular attraction since opening in 1891. They are located next to the Stromovka Park.

Or, you can hang out with the hipsters at VNITROBLOCK. It is a multifunctional concept store with original brands, sustainable fashion, and interior design by European designers, as well as live DJs, art exhibitions, DIY workshops, and other cultural events. One side of the space is occupied by trendy café.

If nature is your thing, there are two beautiful parks in Holešovice: Letna, with views of the Old Town, and Stromovka, the largest park in Prague.

Last, but not least, Holešovice is a great destination if you love street art. Almost all its streets will reveal a gem of proportions, but the best art is still on Milady Horakove street.

Holešovická Tržnice, now Pražská tržnice, or the Prague Market, is another appealing attraction. It’s a maze of stalls selling all kinds of goods. You’ll even find a “Mint Market,” a pop-up design market selling original fashion, jewelry, and accessories, plus concerts and workshops.

Do you have any other favorite spots in Holešovice you would like to mention?

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Naplavka

When in Prague, don’t follow the tourist crowds. The city has a lot to offer if you want to explore it like a local. You will find many surprising spots to hang out if you get off the beaten path. One of them, Naplavka, also known as “Prague’s hipster hangout,” is a stretch of pavement along the River Vltava.

It all started with Bajkazyl, a bike shop and bar founded in 2010 by Martin Kontra. When people discovered it, they found the neighborhood irresistible, and soon, other venues popped up. Today, Naplavka stretches from Palackého most to the railway bridge at Vyton. It is a lively spot with buzzy sidewalk cafes and restaurants serving good food and drinks al fresco.

The locals usually come here to spend a couple of hours at a terrace, but other activities may include roller skating, cycling, or attending a cultural event. Evenings are full of laughter, with many live concerts taking place in summer months. The Rašínovo nábřeží embankment in Naplavka is the perfect spot for beautiful panoramic views of the Hradčany Castle too.

On the official website of the Naplavka neighborhood, you can find a map of the boardwalks, practical information, and a list of events. Among the latest, the farmers’ market is a must see. It takes place every Saturday, from 8:00 am till 2:00 pm. Besides fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables, at this market, you will also find original culinary creations, including cakes, pies, strudels, cookies, fresh juices, ice cream, chocolate, coffee, tea, beer, wine and handmade toys and jewellery. You can also drop in for ready meals at breakfast or lunch. The market is also the occasional site for thematic events like beer and wine festivals, live concerts, and more.

Last, but not least, Naplavka is where you will find four Busking sites. Busking is a musical, theatrical or artistic production run in public places with the purpose of obtaining a cash contribution from passersby. You can find more information here.

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David Černý's Kafka

One of the most delightful ways of discovering Prague is walking in Kafka’s footsteps. More than a walking tour, this is a cultural experience. You can start at Náměstí Franze Kafky where his birth house stood once. Only a door is left from the building where Prague’s beloved novelist and short story writer saw the light of day. You can still see it integrated as the main door of the building standing at Náměstí Franze Kafky 3, next to the Church of St Nicholas.

Kafka spent his childhood (from 1889 till 1896) in the beautiful Dům U Minuty (Staroměstské nám. 3/2 – in the Old Town Square), in English, House at the Minute – a stunning Gothic-style building covered in ornate Sgraffito decorations depicting scenes from Greek mythology, Renaissance, and the Bible.

Dům U Minuty

Have a cup of coffee at Café Franz Kafka before you begin your walk to the Old-New Synagogue (Altneuschul), which is not only the place where Kafka attended religious services, but also Europe’s oldest active synagogue. An edifice dating from 1270, the synagogue was among the first Gothic buildings erected in Prague, and today it remains the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design in existence. The synagogue is open to the public, but they charge an admission fee, so have cash ready.

From here, walk to 16 Dlouhá, where you will find the house where Kafka wrote the bulk of his novel The Trial in 1915. From here, you can walk to Café Louvre (Národní 22), one of the few remaining of Kafka’s favorite haunts. Kafka was not the only famous patron of this monument: Karel Capek and Albert Einstein count among the cherished guests of the locale too. The venue also boasts a non-smoking saloon and restaurant, patisserie, billiards, and in the summer months terrace, plus a gallery with a nice café and a Functionalist style saloon, suitable for exhibitions and other events.

Another Kafka favorite, Palác Lucerna (at Štěpánská 61) still offers a rich cultural program, along with cafes, restaurants, and shops. From here, the Kafka Museum (at Cihelná 635/2b) is 25 minutes on foot.

Kafka is also celebrated in street art, as well as through an impressive monument by David Černý.