So we’ve (virtually) ventured to Paris and Venice in our quest to find the perfect locale to pop the question, but our next whimsical destination may arguably be the most picturesque and swoon-inducing yet. Yes, pulchritudinous Prague, the Czech Republic’s crowning achievement in gorgeous Gothic architecture and Roman Era throwback romance. So grab your passport and your best gal as we czech out one of Europe’s coolest and most heart thumping cities!
The Astronomical Clock (the Prague Orloj)
If you want to send your sweetie the message that your love transcends all space and time, then you must propose to her under the auspices of the awe-inspiring Astronomical Clock. The world’s oldest running timepiece of its kind, this old clock was first installed in the Old Town City Hall, in the famous Old Town Square in 1410 – bottom line: it’s old. It records the actual time of day as well as the moon cycle and possibly all the time that humanity has left on the planet. Regardless, it’s ornate, epic and unforgettable; the perfect place for the woman who really enjoys memorable metaphors. As well as, of course, reading her ever-accurate horoscope.
The Prague Castle is the most massive (still standing) ancient castle on earth. Old, intricately designed and ginormous: kind of a theme in this town. Just to name a few of the numerous structures therein, The Castle is comprised of the beautifully intimidating Saint Vitus Cathedral (Basilica), the breathtaking Basilica of St. George, the chaste
Church of the Virgin Mary, the delightfully cavernous Vladislav Hall, a secret chamber where the Czech Crown Jewels are stowed away, the rolling St. Wenceslas’ Vineyard just off to the east, and, oh yeah, the official residence of the Czech President. Bring your hopeful bride-to-be to this historically rich and splendidly sprawling Castle and its grounds only if you both are sturdy enough to hike through the inordinately expansive terrain. You don’t want to get down on one knee just because you’re out of breath.
Charles Bridge / Vltava River
Practically every super romantic city has at least one major river winding through it, with an iconic bridge arching overhead. The Charles Bridge, named after its benefactor King Charles IV, provides some of the most astonishing views the city has to offer. Construction on the bridge began in the 1350’s, and it wasn’t completed until around 1400 (and you thought that K-mart being built in your town was taking forever). This “most” (Czech for ‘bridge’) was built to replace the Judith Bridge, which crumbled after a devastating flood, and was possibly named after Judith Light. Anyway, if you time it just right and bring your shnookie there at dusk, the bridge is lit simultaneously from underneath, from strategically placed lampposts above and, inadvertently, from the overlooking buildings of the cityscape. Thus, drenching you and your full-time lover in an ethereal, otherworldly glow that is more romantic than Cupid riding a pink diamond covered unicorn that secretes Rosé champagne. If that scene alone doesn’t completely knock her socks off, remind her that the Vltava river runs all along the Bohemian Forrest, a mystical place of magic and wonder. Sigh.
The Dancing House (Nationale-Nederlanden)
Does your woman really stand out from the crowd? Like, really stand out? Then perhaps a proposal trip to the deconstructivist Dancing House (aka the “Fred and Ginger” house – get it?) is in store. This structure stands in stark contrast to the preterite surrounding architectural motifs that Prague is typically associated with (Gothic, Baroque, Art Nouveau), and had numerous Prague-ites up in arms when it was built in 1996. It’s uber modern, funky lines and ‘almost falling over’ slants make it seem like something out of Tim Burton’s wonderfully warped mind. It was actually a joint venture between two innovative architects: the Croatian-Czech Vlado Milunić and the Canadian-American Frank Gehry. If you’re getting your future ‘Mrs.’ an alternative engagement ring, this could be the ideal place to present it to her.
If the Old Town Square (where the Astronomical Clock is featured) is just a tad too mainstream for you and your cutie-patootie, a nice stroll to the Wenceslas Square may be in order. Equally rich in history, Wenceslas is more oblong-shaped than ‘square,’ and has housed many demonstrations and parades dating as far back as the good ole days when the area was simply known as “Bohemia.” It features many stand-out sites, such as the gilded facade of the Hotel Evropa, the legendary National Museum and more ‘Man on Horse’ statues than you can count. This location could be quite nice if you want your proposal to have that classical, weighty and storied feel to it…or if you guys are equestrians.
Does your lady fair have a flair for art? Groundbreaking Art-Noveau, in particular? One of the most beloved artistes to come out of Prague is Alphonse Mucha, a turn of the 20th century provocateur d’paint. Best known for his revolutionarily styled portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, Mucha became synonymous with the sweeping Art Nouveau movement. His work can be seen throughout Prague, in stained glass, such as in the luminous piece above featured in the St. Vitus Cathedral (possibly a nice proposal place too…but you’d have to do it really quietly since you’d be in a church). The Mucha Museum showcases many of the eponymous artist’s works, and just may put your betrothed in the optimal mood for rococo romance and eternal, everlasting love. Sigh again.
Star Summer Palace (Letohrádek Hvězda)
If your special someone (who’s to say they have to be a ‘woman’ – it’s 2015, after all) likes to travel off the beaten path, the Star Summer Palace, or “Star Villa,” could be just the romantically remote spot to take the knee. A few miles away from the center of the city, the Star Villa is located in the middle of a game reserve (which could appeal to the animal lover as well). The building itself was constructed during the Renaissance period, and has that ‘maiden trapped in the window’ / Rapunzel feel to it. The structure is in the shape of a six-pointed star (hence the stellar name), and could be worked into a proposal phrase, along the lines of “You are a shining star / I’m starry-eyed when I look at you / Want to watch Star Trek?” …or something to that effect.
Whichever spot you opt to take your loved one to, it will be amazing, as all of this dazzling city is aesthetically, historically and atmospherically bountiful. So good luck, or as the Czechs say: “hodně štěstí!” …just rolls right off the tongue.