Visiting the Strahov Monastery and then walking down the Petrin Hill on a sunny Sunday (or any other day of the week) is kind of an experience from a different world, even for me as the “Praguer”. Surprisingly the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary seems quite small compared to the size of the monastery. You can enter the church only during the holly mass (daily at 6pm and Sunday at 10 am and 6pm). But most of you will probably head to the Strahov Library and Strahov Gallery. There are two separate box offices for each of them. The Strahov Library is, together with the Klementinum baroque library one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. If you would like to see the Theological and Philosophical halls at Strahov, you will have to book your time slot well in advance, otherwise you will see just the Cabinet of Curiosities and connecting passages, however even that is impressive.
The next stop is Strahov Gallery. It is housed in the monastery itself. There are beautiful Baroque sculptures and Gothic and baroque paintings on the first floor.
Having seen the library (or at least part of it) and the gallery, get ready for a breathtaking view of Prague. Pass through the last monastery gate leaving the monastery behind you and there it is – Prague in its pure beauty! St. Vitus Cathedral with its spires aiming to the sky, back walls of palaces once owned by Czech (and Austrian) old noble families, Prague bridges, St. Nicolas Church at the Malostranske Square (it is the church where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the organ in 1787). Keep watching and you will see that weird tower on the horizon. It is the highest “building” in Prague (216m) built under communism despite the protests of many people. It may not be the prettiest thing in town, however having a drink at its Oblaca restaurant, you may enjoy one of the best views of Prague from a different angle – I recommend, go at night. Anyway back to Strahov and Petrin, you are in one of the most picturesque parts of Prague – Uvoz and Nerudova street. Enjoy strolling these streets full of baroque houses, little corners and ivy covered walls. I recommend you turn to Jansky Vrsek, just on the corner of Nerudova 33. Before you go down the stairs look up at that green façade building. It is Bretfeld Palace, its walls could tell stories. Many concerts and balls have taken place here in 18th century. Even Mozart and Casanova (surprise, surprise) didn’t want to miss. So once you turn to right and go down the stairs, you will be far from the “madding crowds of tourists” in Nerudova street. You will find yourself at Jansky vrsek, a street far from touristy shops, place with little galleries, design shops and more.
Again, pardon my English, I just cannot help myself from sharing my wondering through Prague. Have fun!