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After the ’Velvet Revolution’ in 1989, Prague became an international metropolis with all the usual trappings, but it has also managed to successfully retain its unspoiled local character. The Czech capital is small and compact, with hospody (beer-houses) that offer the world’s best beers stationed on every street corner. The most important areas are the central districts of the city: Staré Město (Old Town), Josefov, Nové Město (New Town), and Malá Strana (Lesser Town). These are best explored on foot. In recent years, the district of Vinohrady (Vineyards) has established itself as the district favoured by Pražani (the Prague inhabitants), and the restaurants and cafes lie closely packed. When you visit Prague, it is worth remembering that not only does the city boast an impressive history, which stretches back many hundreds of years, but it has also fostered prominent architects, artists, and designers of the 20th century. Prague was once the centre of Central European modernism, a fact which today, after a long period of dictatorship, has almost faded into oblivion. During recent years, modernist Czech architecture and interior design have experienced a recovery, and there is nearly always a good exhibition to see.
The Czech capital is small and compact, with hospody (beer-houses) offering the world’s best beers stationed on every street corner. The most important areas are the central districts of the city: Staré Město (Old Town), Josefov, Nové Město (New Town), and Malá Strana (Lesser Town). These are best explored on foot.
Many international cuisines have been introduced to the Prague restaurant scene, but the Central European fare still dominates. Classic Czech meals include Svíčková (roast beef with cream sauce), and the national dish, Vepřo-knedlo-zelo (pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). These can be had at any hospoda—beerhouse—along with a cold pilsner.
Prague has always been a good town for cafes. Around the turn of the last century this meant large middle class premises—which re-opened during the 1990's—and after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, a lot of smaller, cosy cafes with bric-à-brac décor were opened.
Prague has a lively nightlife and anyone who so wishes can easily find a place to dance the night away until dawn. Most Pražani (the Prague inhabitants) start the evening at one of the city’s many bars, cafes, or beer houses.
If you want to shop for uniquely Czech products in Prague, you should visit the small boutiques selling domestic designer clothes, and look for reproductions of the utility designs created by Czech modernists in the 1920s and 1930s—both sectors have grown considerably in recent years. Another traditional item to shop for is Bohemian cut glass.
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