Above: View from Smetana Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is the great jewel of central Europe. Little damaged during World War II and mostly free of communist-era eyesores, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Gothic spires and finial-topped domes punctuate the skyline of its oldest neighborhoods, Staré Město and Malá Strana, situated on either side of the Vltava River. And Nové Město, the “New Town” founded in 1348, has a wealth of extravagant historicist and art nouveau buildings. Presiding over it all is the largest castle complex in the world, centerpieced by St. Vitus Cathedral.

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