Introduction to Prague

Like any place new to me, Prague is difficult to immediately make sense of. It seems to be some kind of mix between Toronto and Amsterdam—a large modern city with an ancient skeleton.  What can be said without any reservation is that Prague is beautiful and full of options. In particular, restaurants abound, and anything can be found from traditional Czech cuisine to the most interesting of fusion dishes.

Fusion-cuisine breakfast.

I have checked out a number of different neighbourhoods—Vinohrady, Vršovice, Žižkov, Nové Město, Staré Město, Mala Strana and Josefov. I have not yet seen the inside of the castle but will very soon. I spent my first day in my new neighbourhood, Vinohrady, which is full of great restaurants and cafés, and, then, the next day I headed downtown and went on a 2 ½ hour walking tour. The crowds of tourists were so thick it was sometimes hard to move, but Prague’s architecture is amazing: such an array of different designs from different historical periods!

What stood out most to me was that the tourist guide remarked that Prague is, today, one of the least religious places in Europe. I think he said that about 60-70% of people are not baptized and do not claim religious affiliation. I am going to find out is that is accurate as my present research attempts to assess the relation between religion and homophobia.

LGBT rights are respected here with Prague being billed as one of the most accepting countries in Europe when it comes to LGBT rights (homosexuality was decriminalized in 1962).

Vinohrady, Prague.

Overall, the first six days in Prague have left me thinking that, though I am interested in the backbone of Czech history and Prague’s status as once the capital of ancient Bohemia (and how it might share some relation, or how it might not, with the phenomenon of 19th-century Bohemianism in Western Europe–Bohemianism being, at that time, associated with progressive ideals), the most interesting discoveries and vanguards of the libertine might, today, be found not in the tourist-packed old town itself but, rather, in more subtle diffusions which might now be traced to pockets of emerging energy in such neighbourhoods as Žižkov or Karlin or some off-the-grid locations in Vinohrady.