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Even when it’s freezing cold and snowing, Prague is still a deeply romantic city. In winter, the city on the Vltava River can get pretty empty, even around the most popular tourist attractions, such as the Charles Bridge, once the most important connection used by Bohemian kings between the old town and Prague Castle.

Today, it seems to be used mainly by tourists.

Tourist one: “It’s beautiful city, but very cold. It’s lovely, and will be even lovelier if I weren’t freezing.”

Tourist two: “Here the buildings go back two-hundred years … three-hundred years. You look at the bridges, the infrastructure is amazing.”

Tourist three: “It’s very nice, very old, very authentic.”

One of Prague’s most striking buildings is what’s called the Representation House in the city center. It’s an example of Art Nouveau at its most opulent.

This was where the Republic of Czechoslovakia declared its independence in 1918. Today the auditorium is used for concerts.

Czech artist Alphonse Mucha was a proponent of Art Nouveau and designed one of the building’s rooms. His fairytale-like images depict scenes from Czech history.

Gabriela Labikova, Art Historian: “I feel like I’m in a different world, where I can see something from our past and it helps me to remember how difficult it used to be for us. And we survived it all. And we should be proud nowadays of where we are and what we have achieved.”

The Dox Center, which opened in last October, is located in a former industrial district some eight kilometers away. It’s Prague’s first contemporary art museum.

Contemporary art is booming in the Czech Republic these days. The country is home to a lively young art scene.

The Czech capital is a multi-faceted city. In winter, it’s easy to recognize the Prague of Franz Kafka’s novels, gloomy and a little melancholy. It’s always been popular with writers, scientists and intellectuals.

And much of their work is now preserved in the Strahov Monastery. It’s home to one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Some of its more than 280,000 books date back to as long ago as the eighth century.

Its director has always felt that Prague is a very special city that has something that sets it apart from other European capitals.

Evermod Gejza Sidlovsky, Director of the Strahov Monastery Library: “Nothing here is larger than life. It has a cozy atmosphere. It feels very familiar. That’s not just because of the architecture; it’s also thanks to its intellectual character.”

In the winter months, the days are short and the nights are long. Night owls like to meet up at the old town hall before heading off to a jazz club. Mellow music and a glass of beer.

What better way to kick off an evening’s entertainment?

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1. Prague is beautiful only in the summer. Tourists only come in summer. True or false?

2. Does the Representation House serve for government functions?

3. According to the video, Czech artist Alphonse Mucha painted religious motifs. Is this correct or incorrect?

4. Has Prague endured difficulties and hardship in its past?

5. Is Prague mostly known for industry and finance or art, literature and music?

6. Do the city residents like to read and write?

7. Clubs, cafes, bars and restaurants are popular in Prague. Is this right or wrong?


A. Are you from Prague? Do you live in Prague? Have you visited Prague? Have you met anyone from Prague?

B. Prague is the most beautiful city in Europe. Do you agree?

C. What is the most beautiful or most interesting city in your country or region?

D. Is there a famous bridge? What are some other tourist attractions?

E. Are there cities districts or quarters that are an art and culture centers where artists, writers, poets and musicians gather?

F. What places have lots of clubs, bars, cafes, discos and nightlife?

G. What might happen in the future?

H. What can or should people and governments do?

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