Prague, breathtakingly beautiful, is the largest city in the Czech Republic. As the capital, it is the Republic’s political, economic and cultural seat. Among its rich architectural and cultural heritage, the 1100-year old city boasts the world’s largest ancient castle, Prague Castle; the Charles Bridge which links Prague’s Lesser Town on the left bank of the Vltava river and Old Town on the opposite side; and the 10th century Vyšehrad castle.
Both the Old and (not-so) New town boast a vibrant nightlife, placing nearby residential areas such as Vinohrady, Holesovice, Hrebenkach and Orechovka in high demand. Much like Paris, Prague’s neighborhoods are numbered from 1 to 22, radiating out from the central old town. Families tend to head for areas close to the city’s excellent international schools, which are 15-20 minutes from the center. In recent years, Prague has reclaimed its status as a first class European city, and the cost of living here has kept in step.
What is special or unique about your city?
This unique and beautiful city is historically known for being the most impressive Czech town, because of its exciting and vibrant flare. Known to many as "The Heart of Europe," the city is full of distinctive buildings dating back thousands of years. When touring the city, the old atmosphere of the buildings draw you in. Over 2.5 million tourists venture to Prague each year and many call the city, "The City of One Hundred Towers." Prague is also the European centre for jazz and alternative rock, as much as it is for classical music. Once you get settled in to your new home, we think you're going to love it!
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Many expats are excited when they see Prague for the first time. "Wow", is usually their first reaction. They enjoy walking through the city centre, full of small pubs, old buildings and hundreds of churches.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Not likely. The city is contagious and most visitors never want to leave. Most expatriates that have been lucky to experience Prague report fond memories that will last a lifetime.
What is the local language?
Czech is the official language; however, English and German are also spoken.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
You will be able to adapt quite easily if you don't know Czech. The English language is very common here and you will find that menus in restaurants, movies in cinemas, books and newspapers are all in English.
However, learning some Czech can't hurt so here are a few Czech words and phrases to help you when you arrive:
Jeste jedno, prosim
YESH-ty-e, YED-no, PRO-seem.
Ano (or "no")
Do you speak English?
Jeden, Jedna, Jedno
YED-en, YED-na, YED-no
Where is ...?
GDAY ye ... ?
Where is the metro?
Kde je metro?
GDAY ye metro?
Where is the bathroom?
Kde jsou toalety?
GDAY sow TOWA-aletty?
How much does it cost?
Kolik to stoji?
Koe-LEEK toe STOY yee?
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Some tips to avoid offending residents of Prague are:
- Punctuality is expected and appreciated
- The shaking of hands is customary when meeting and leaving people - kissing is not
- It is customary to take off your shoes when entering someone's home. Czechs very rarely wear shoes indoors. You may be offered a pair of slippers but it’s probably best to wear a relatively clean, hole-free pair of socks!
- Many restaurants charge for the basket of bread on the table; the charge is usually a mere few cents, but don’t be surprised if your bill includes a charge for “peèivo” – baked pastry
- If you’ve finished eating and want the waiter to take your plate away, put your knife and fork together. If you want to carry on, just leave them crossed
- The Czechs resent being treated as if they are a developing country, so try to avoid any comments which may suggest this
- In Prague and larger cities, it is customary to tip approx. 10% of the bill. In the countryside, tips tend to be somewhat smaller (and prices lower); however, tipping well will certainly result in pleasant service, especially if you plan to return
- When ordering drinks at a bar, it’s useful to remember that Czechs use their thumbs when counting on their hands, so to order two drinks, for instance, hold up your thumb and your index finger.
- For three drinks, hold up your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger
- Use a basket or trolley when shopping in self-service stores (even if you’re only buying a couple of items) otherwise it may agitate the staff.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
The climate in Prague is similar to that in New York City. Summers are typically warm, but at times can be hot with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (75-85 Fahrenheit). Winters are cold, but not normally bitter with temperatures ranging from -5 to 0 degrees Celsius (20-35 Fahrenheit). Spring and fall is the best time of year when temperatures are usually moderate and lovely, but autumn can be quite rainy so be sure to keep a raincoat or umbrella handy!
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Keep in mind that people here may initially seem abrupt and stern, and rarely smile at strangers. However, you will find if you scratch beneath the surface, you'll get a very different impression. They are just quiet, polite and reserved. They are rarely aggressive or confrontational and they value a good sense of humor!