International Ice Hockey Federation

Beyond the rink

Beyond the rink

What else to see in Prague

Published 29.04.2015 07:35 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Beyond the rink
Prague is not only well known for hockey but also for its picturesque old town and bridges. Photo: Libor Svacek / Czech Tourism
For hockey fans in Prague this May, the main attraction is the 34 World Championship games. But the Czech capital offers lots to do outside the O2 Arena.

This is a perfect place to be a “hockey tourist”. If you lack game tickets, you can catch all the action on TV in the bustling Fan Zone – or head into the city, where giant screens will be set up in places like the Old Town Square. In the square, check out the famous 1410-built Astronomical Clock, featuring mechanical figures like a skeleton and a miser that move when the clock chimes on the hour.

You could also dig into soup, steaks, and pasta at the hockey-themed Restaurant Hokejka while watching games. The Prague tourism board touts U Hrocha, a crowded pub near the Prague Castle, for beer lovers.

Founded in the late ninth century, this city of 1.2 million people on the Vltava River boasts many amazing sights that, according to reputable historians, are even older than Jaromir Jagr.

Precious medieval artefacts abound at the 19th-century-built National Museum in Wenceslas Square, where demonstrations were held during the 1989 Velvet Revolution as the Czech people transitioned out of the Soviet Bloc. Parks, gardens and international embassies dot the beautiful Mala Strana district.

The Charles Bridge, constructed by King Charles IV more than 600 years ago, is festooned with baroque statues, and connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. It’s a superb photo-op.

If partying is your priority, don’t miss the huge Karlovy Lazne nightclub, located just steps away from the Charles Bridge. The five-floor club pulsates with musical styles from oldies to hip-hop, and the decor includes mosaic tiling from its original incarnation as a 15th-century spa.

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For an exciting example of contemporary architecture, check out the Dancing House on the Rasin Embankment. The 1996-completed building, which houses a Dutch insurance company, resembles a dancing couple. And there’s a hockey connection here. It was co-designed by Frank Gehry, who created the trophy for the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.

Hockey fans with a cultural bent may recall that after superstar goalie Dominik Hasek and his Czech teammates won gold at the first “NHL Olympics” in 1998, an opera called Nagano was composed in their honour by musician Martin Smolka and dramatist Jaroslav Dusek. That 2004 production is no longer playing at the Estates Theatre, but you can still head there during the Worlds to enjoy Mozart classics like Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro.

If you have time for more extensive exploration, official tournament partner Sivek Hotels offers guided day trips such as “Kutna Hora, the UNESCO town” or “Pilsener brewery tour with lunch”.

Regardless of who captures the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship gold medal this year, you’ll have a winning experience in Prague.


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