While the girls were splishing and splashing at the AquaPalace one morning, I took the opportunity of pleasantly cool weather to explore Vysehrad, an historical fort on the edge of Prague atop the Vlatava River.
There is little remaining of the fort but sections of well-preserved wall offering splendid and shady views over the river; the main attractions on the grounds are the cemetery and the minor basilica.
Vysehrad Cemetery is the final resting place for many notable Czechs (Antonin Dvorak and Alphonse Mucha among them), and is worth visiting for its columned arcades and interesting gravestones alone. Though I had read that this part of Prague is not as touristy as the Stare Mesto (Old Town), the three large tour groups sharing my space could have convinced me otherwise.
The grave of Milada Horakova, a Czech politician executed in a show trial in 1950 by the Communist regime on charges of treason.
The Minor Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul dominates the hilltop. There are only four basilicas in the world, all of them in Rome. A minor basilica is one whose architecture resembles that of a true basilica.
Visitors to the church are greeted first by the stunning mosaics atop each entry.
Inside is the swirl of colors depicting the history of art and of Christianity, and of the Czech lands, a rather unusual combination for a church. Being inside was a visual feast, and I was thankful the tour groups were either too cheap or too scheduled to pony up the €1,10 to enter.
On my return I roamed a small sliver of the outskirts of Prague, including an architecturally fabulous Metro station amidst the socialist housing. “On the other side of the tracks” I found the station’s trendy underground shopping mall, offering a Vinoteka, a Russian grocery, a butcher, and an organic herbalist. Who would have thought?
This was my fourth visit to Prague, and each time I fall more in love with the city.