Stare Mesto Museums Tour, Prague (Self Guided)

There are many renowned historical and contemporary museums in Prague. They are usually located in old palaces that are monuments themselves. You can get the feel of the past and present of the Czech Republic while visiting some of the following museums in Staré Město area of Prague.
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Stare Mesto Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: Stare Mesto Museums Tour
Guide Location: Czech Republic » Prague (See other walking tours in Prague)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Author: vickyc
1
The Museum of Decorative Arts

1) The Museum of Decorative Arts

Located in the Jewish Quarter, the Museum of Decorative Arts is housed in a 19th century Neo-Renaissance building and displays examples of international historical and contemporary arts. The aim of the museum is to leave samples of art and crafts throughout-the-ages for future generations.

The ground floor of the museum holds exhibitions that change every month of art students and renowned artists. On the first floor are the permanent exhibitions of objects from the 14th century to the present day.

The Story of Fibre Exhibition has a wonderful collection of wedding dresses dating from the 14th to the 19th century and miniature dresses for porcelain dolls. In the Print and Image section you will find books and prints made on the first printing presses, photos, public notices and books on graphic arts from the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Treasury Exhibition displays metals and assorted metal objects: jewellery, candlesticks, statues, etc. The Time Machine gallery features clocks and watches from the 15th to the 20th century. In the Glass and Ceramics gallery you will find 16th – 19th century ceramics, 18 – 19th century porcelain and 20th century glass and ceramics.

There is also a small gift ‘area’ at the entrance and a very good café that is often frequented by local artists. There is a small entrance fee to the museum and a little extra for an audio guide.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
The Rudolfinum Art Gallery

2) The Rudolfinum Art Gallery (must see)

If you want to visit a really fine gallery while in Prague, don’t miss the Rudolfinum Art Gallery in the Rudolfinum complex. This beautiful Neo-Renaissance building which opened in 1885 was used as the seat of the Czech Parliament for several years before the 2nd World War and became the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1946. The Art Gallery was opened in 1994 and occupies 1500 sqm of well-appointed exposition space. The gallery doesn’t have its own permanent exhibition and specialises mainly in avant-garde paintings and sculptures by famous international artists and local Czech artists. It occasionally displays paintings from older epochs to demonstrate the changes in art over the centuries.

The temporary exhibitions are often organised by foreign institutions in and around Prague. The events taking place are always given a lot of publicity and they attract a great number of people. These events include evening viewings, special interest occupation for schools and seminars. When you have finished visiting the gallery, you can see the rest of the complex, including the Dvorak Concert Hall which has a magnificent pipe organ behind the stage. The complex café is a nice place to relax and have a cup of coffee and some very good cakes.

Why You Should Visit:
Great combination of gallery, concert hall, and café.
Prices for exhibitions fall in the average range.

Opening Hours:
Tue–Wed, Fri–Sun: 10am–6pm; Thursday: 10am–8pm; closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Jewish Museum

3) Jewish Museum (must see)

The Jewish Museum in Prague was founded in 1906 by historian Dr. Hugo Lieben and Dr. Augustin Stein, who later became head of the Prague Jewish Community. The goal was to preserve artifacts from the Prague synagogues demolished during the Urban renewal of the old Jewish Quarter at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1942 the Nazi regime established the Central Jewish Museum, with the goal of commemorating the heritage of an exterminated people by collecting notable objects of Jewish ceremonial art. Artifacts were shipped to the museum from all the Jewish communities and synagogues of Bohemia and Moravia. The museum reopened under the post-War Communist government but began to flourish after the Czech lands were liberated from Communism.

Why You Should Visit:
Apart from the museum itself with its historical exhibits, you get to see the synagogues, the cemetery, and the WWII memorial. The Klausen Synagogue, now religiously inactive, gives insights into Jewish traditions and is a single example of an early Baroque synagogue in the area.

Tip:
Best time to see everything is very early or later in the day.
You can also go back the next day in case you don't get to see it all.

Opening Hours:
Winter time: 9am–4.30pm; Summer time: 9am–6 pm, closed on Saturdays
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Old Town Hall Art Gallery

4) Old Town Hall Art Gallery (must see)

The Old Town Hall belongs to the most important sights of Prague historical center. The town hall office had been situated in the corner burgher’s house with a tower since the first half of the 14th century. The Old Town Hall is currently comprised of a building complex of several burghers' houses which were purchased and rebuilt over the centuries.

Today the building complex of the Old Town Hall serves as the cultural and representative space of the city of Prague. The Gallery can use the rooms on the second floor in which it presents the latest tendencies of contemporary art to the public.
5
Prague City Gallery at the Municipal Library

5) Prague City Gallery at the Municipal Library

Not all the buildings in Prague are ancient and among the more modern ones that are worth visiting is the Municipal Library on Marianské Square which houses a part of the Prague City Gallery.

Built between 1925 and 1928 by the architect Frantisek Roith the building isn’t only a library, but also a place for adult education, concerts and exhibitions. Here Prague citizens and visitors alike have access to books, DVD’s CD’s and the Internet, either on the library’s computers or by WIFI. The eastern wing, extensively decorated in Art Deco, is the official flat of the Mayor of Prague.

Above the main entrance of the library you will see fine statues by the Cubist sculptor Ladislav Kofranek and the ceiling of the vast central hall displays an intricate ornamental geometric decoration by Frantisek Kysela, the famous Czech painter and graphic designer.

After extensive restoration in 1994 a part of the Prague City Gallery was installed on the 2nd floor of the library. A new entrance to the gallery was created in 1996 by Valdo Munic.

The gallery has no permanent exposition of its own and holds temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
6
Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments

6) Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments

If you enjoy the macabre, don’t miss visiting the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments next to the Charles Bridge. Don’t get the idea that the Czechs spent their time torturing state enemies, witches or heretics – this rather gruesome collection comes from all over Europe.

The museum is set on three floors and holds 60 different instruments of torture dating back to the Inquisition. There are many you will recognise from films, such as the rack, the Iron Maiden and stocks, and a lot that you won’t including Spanish boots, knee or head crushers, a garrotting chair and a spiked chair. Some of the exhibits are truly mind-boggling – male chastity belts and spiked instruments for anal torture.

Each instrument is accompanied by a picture showing unfortunate victims wearing expressions of very believable agony, and there are detailed explications in various languages of how the instrument was used, why and the effects it produced.

At first sight the museum might seem merely interesting, but as you visit and read about the methods of torture used by our ancestors on people who had done little other than being accused of heresy, you begin to see these instruments in a new, rather stomach-wrenching light.

The visit takes about an hour and a half and there is a museum shop where you can buy books with photos and explanations and posters, but sorry, no thumb-screws!

Open daily 10:00 – 20:00
7
Bedřich Smetana Museum

7) Bedřich Smetana Museum

Housed in a Neo-Renaissance building that once was the Old Town waterworks near the Charles Bridge, the Bedrich Smetana Museum was opened in 1936 and is dedicated to Bedrich Smetana, the 19th century compositor and patriot.

Bedrich Smetana lived from 1824 to 1884 and was considered as the father of Czech music. He wrote a lot of patriotic music and his 1st Nationalist music was composed of marches used during the 1848 Prague Uprising. His best known opera “The Bartered Bride” was premiered in the new Provincial Theatre where only Czech music was played. He was a member of the society that founded the Czech National Theatre in 1884.

The museum is dedicated to his life and works and you can see many of his music scores, diaries and manuscripts. There is also a microscope under which you can admire his ear bones – he became deaf in later life. There is also a small section about musical life in the 19th century. A podium with a laser pointer will allow you to select Smetana’s and other classical music of his time.

Opening hours: Wednesday-Monday: 10.00-5.00pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Art Master Gallery

8) Art Master Gallery

The Art Master Gallery gives its visitors the opportunity to sense and experience the East European art and more concrete – the one of Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine. Here no display are works of Kavshbaya, Mikora and Gepp. Watercolor, oil, encaustic and etching works are influencing the visitors with all the feelings known to mankind. The Art Master Gallery is also known for being able to present the trends in the East European art.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00-7:00pm
9
Naprstek's Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures

9) Naprstek's Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures

While in Prague do take time to visit Naprstek’s Museum of Asian, African and American Culture which is located in Bethlehem Square.

While these exhibits in the museum aren’t anything to do with Czech culture, they are nonetheless fascinating and also a part of Czech history. Vojta Naprstek was a 19th century industrialist who had a passion for anthropology. After spending ten years in the United States seeking political asylum, he returned to Prague where he opened a museum at first intended to promote Czech industry. He also added Amerindian artefacts he’d brought back from the United States, and these quickly became more popular than the industry side of the museum.

The museum was frequented by scholars who added their own collections from Australia and the Pacific Islands and today the museum holds 95 000 artefacts, though not all of them are on view. The main exposition halls feature Amerindian and Australian objects that portray the way of life of the two continents’ natives in the 19th century. Another hall offers temporary expositions of other non-European culture.

There is a very good gift shop where you can buy posters and books about the museum and details about the various native tribes in the 19th century. If you want to take photos in the museum, you will be asked to pay an additional fee.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
10
Prague Wax Museum

10) Prague Wax Museum

The Prague Wax Museum is separated into two separate buildings and has over 50 figures of Czech and international personalities of the 19th to the 21st century on show.

The first museum, situated in Mostecka Street is dedicated to historical characters of the Czech Republic such as Rudolf II and his court alchemist, the Englishman Kelley, in the alchemist’s workroom, Kafka next to a shop and inn; there are also interiors of the Old Town and rooms from the Karlstejn Castle. It is a great way to discover Czech History.

The second museum located in Melantrichova Street is separated into three parts; in the first you will meet many international celebrities including Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson. In the second part you will find some of the “greatest” dictators: Lenin, Stalin and Castro among others. The third part is dedicated to Magic Prague, a multimedia complex. There is a wonderful kaleidoscope cinema showing Rudolf II, Kafka, Rasputin, Charlie Chaplin and many other famous personalities. The figures are really very well done and easily rival any of those found in any of Madame Tussaud’s wax museums in Europe.

The presence of dictators may seem a little strange, but the idea is educative as well as entertaining.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 9:00-8:00pm
11
The Museum of Communism

11) The Museum of Communism

If you are interested in Czech political history, then you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Museum of Communism. The museum opened in 2001 and gives visitors an excellent view of life under the communist regime from 1948 to 1989.

In this well appointed museum, you will find posters and artefacts, including busts and statues of Lenin and Stalin, propaganda and objects from political and daily life of the period. There is a projection room that shows short films about the communist way of life notably in Prague.

You can see replicas of a schoolroom, a workshop, a typical shop, the living room in an archetypal working class home. A part of the collection deals with the communist dream of the conquest of space. There is even an interrogation room with an original noose from Pankrac Prison. Another part of the museum is dedicated to the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and here you will find a replica of the Berlin Wall, complete with graffiti.

In the gift shop you can buy posters, books, t-shirts and baseball caps. The museum offers no opinions either for or against communism; it merely presents the facts and leaves the visitor to decide for himself.

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Prague, Czech Republic

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Creating your own self-guided walk in Prague is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Stare Mesto Orientation Walk

Stare Mesto Orientation Walk

Old Town (Czech: Staré Město) is a medieval settlement of Prague, once separated from the outside by a semi-circular moat and wall, connected to the Vltava at both of its ends. The moat is now covered up by the streets, which remain the official boundary of the cadastral district of Old Town. Notable places in the Old Town include the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, Kinsky Palace and many...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Hradcany Walk

Hradcany Walk

Hradčany, or the Castle District, is an area in Prague surrounding the Prague Castle. The latter is said to be the biggest castle in the world (measuring some 570 meters long and approximate 130 meters wide). Going back in history as far as the 9th century, the castle has been the seat of power for Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, leaders of Czechoslovakia and is currently the official...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Josefov Nightlife

Josefov Nightlife

Prague offers fascinating night entertainment. It has a lot of clubs and discos. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Prague in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Stare Mesto Nightlife

Stare Mesto Nightlife

Prague offers fascinating night entertainment. It has a lot of clubs and discos. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Prague in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Stare Mesto Souvenir Shopping

Stare Mesto Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Prague without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Prague, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km
Prague Nightlife

Prague Nightlife

Prague offers fascinating night entertainment. It has a lot of clubs and discos. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Prague in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Prague for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Prague has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Prague's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Prague City Pass (by Ticketbar), Prague City Pass (by Musement), or Prague City Pass (by Viator).

A city pass combines all or multiple Prague's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few Prague hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Hotel Lippert, Old Town Square Hotel, Grand Hotel Praha.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Prague, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Prague typically costs somewhere between US$25+ and US$85+ per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to admire Prague's best-known landmarks in comfort from the open top of the bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able to get on and off at any of the stops along the three interconnecting routes (the ticket is valid for all three). For extra fun, enhance the experience with a complementary walking tour of the Jewish Quarter or Prague Castle!

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Prague – this usually lasts about 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the Czech capital. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Prague on a 2-hour bike tour exploring the city's exceptional architecture and spectacular landmarks, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Czech capital from an informative group leader, making halfway through a 30 minute refreshment stop at the Vltava riverside pub.

- Acquaint yourself with the secrets and wicked stories of the magical Golden Lane of Prague and gain insight into one of Europe's largest medieval castles on a 3.5-hour historical walk to the renowned Prague Castle and other gems of the Czech capital!

- Take a 3-hour walk to discover Prague’s Old Town and other downtown highlights including the Jewish quarter for a chance to learn about the centuries-long fascinating and complicated history of Prague and the Prague Jews in particular. In addition to the beautiful historic architecture, enjoy a free drink during a break!

- Discover Prague with the taste of beer on a relaxing 1.5-hour tasting session sampling some of the best brews the city has to offer! Learn some secrets of professional beer tasting and brewing traditions of the Czech Republic. A truly insightful introduction to the city's beer culture renowned for its pilsners, porters and other brews!

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Prague, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Terezin, Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov, or Karlstejn Castle. For as little as circa US$45+ to US$80+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including medieval city with hundreds of historic buildings, see the «Pearl of the Renaissance» castle - one of the most important historic sites in Central Europe, explore the picturesque south Bohemian countryside, visit a 13th century silver mine town - once the rich and powerful seat of the royal mint, embark on an educational journey into a former Jewish ghetto for some chilling insights into the grim World War II period, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in Prague and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.