7 Quirky Things Not to Miss in Prague

7 Quirky Things Not to Miss in Prague
 
 
Man has created a grandiose world of technology, of which dread and fear are often the result... Fortunately, events in the world and our way of life are not determined by technology alone.
-Karel Zeman, quote seen at his namesake museum

 

Prague is truly a city full of wonder.  Not only are the buildings unbelievably gorgeous and the people laid back, but tourists are guaranteed to have some unique experiences.  Like any country's capital, Prague offers standard yet worthwhile attractions like museums, art galleries, and walking tours.  It is the not-so-standard attractions that I found to be the most interesting, from a risqué museum on sex-related gadgets to a 1950s-era nuclear bunker with babies in gas masks.  Here's a list of seven unique Prague attractions that should not be missed. (Note: I was pretty sad to miss the "world's most beautiful library," the Klementinum Library, whose tours are now on hold due to a legal dispute, as well as Franz Kafka's home.)

 

 

Bizarre public artwork

This article lists many of Prague's, um, unique public works of art, and I was lucky to spot a few.  The penguins by Museum Kampa were especially cute all lit up at night.

 

 

Karel Zeman Museum

Despite this museum's target audience being little kids, that didn't stop me from going and enjoying the heck out of myself (I've found kid's museums to actually be the best museums for adults).  The Karel Zeman Museum is tucked into a cozy corner by the Charles Bridge, and it offers many hands-on exhibits on early special effects in cinema.  Czech film maker Zeman was quite the creative genius and this exhibit is a testament to his cinematic gifts.  Photos and participation are highly encouraged.

 
 

 

 

Museum of Communism

Finding this place was quite the challenge, but worth the manhunt (hint: it's tucked into the casino).  For a tiny space, the museum packs quite the punch with an interesting assortment of artifacts and displays.  The museum looks at Communism as a whole, as well as how it affected Czechoslovakia and Prague; the museum brochure aptly states, "pictures, paintings, music and statues come alive to bring back the era of Communism in all its dreariness and puffed up glory."  The Museum of Communism has a laid-back, straight-out-of-an-old-lady's-attic feel that I liked, plus the staff was kind enough to let Mango tour the museum with us.

 

 

National Marionette Theatre (and marionette shop)

This is something not to miss and fun for *literally* anyone; who's heart wouldn't melt at the sight of a marionette doll jumping naked-bum first into a bathing barrel?  Tickets were very reasonably priced, the show was delightful, the theater is a gorgeous Art Deco style, and even Mango got to enjoy the performance with us.  If one is inclined to take home their very own Czech marionette or just surround themselves by them, Loutky Michael is a great shop to visit.

 

 

Communism & Nuclear Bunker Tour

Interested in the full Prague-Communism experience?  Look no further than this nuclear bunker tour, which takes you to an authentic WWII-era underground bunker packed with creepy mannequins decked out in gas masks and more.  I found it interesting that no "practice drills" were ever performed, so one can only imagine how chaotic the bunker would have been if actually put to use.  If my memory serves me correctly, this bunker was fit for a few thousand people, yet it was cramped with our tour group of eleven and ill-fitted to the, ahem, sanitary needs of guests with just ~20 latrines (apparently there were no doors on the original latrines, out of fear that people would commit suicide once inside).  Our guide was excellent and provided us with a ton of information, as well as snacks and detailed picture booklet of Communism in Prague.  This is one tour not to miss.

 

 

Sex Machines Museum

This is one museum that every tourist should put on their Prague bucket list.  It was super fascinating to see how sexual gratification has (and hasn't) changed over the centuries.  Who knew that humans have always been so horny, or that Japan celebrates the penis and fertility every year?  I found the 1900s Spanish porn to be particularly interesting (there was a suprising amount of clothing involved), and each apparatus on exhibit came with a placard graphically explaining how the thing worked.  A visit to the Sex Machines Museum is guaranteed to titillate your senses, and photography/voyeurism is encouraged. 

 

 

Magical Cavern

This is definitely a whimsical attraction that I'd recommend one visit if they have enough time, as it's more of an artist's uniquely-decorated personal gallery than anything.  The art is interesting (especially if perfectly-proportioned, beautiful, young, naked women are your genre) but definitely not as interesting as the setting.  I liked taking the Petřín funicular up the hill the best, where I was greeted with an incredible view of the city.  The "cavern" is really the basement of the artist's home, an old mill building.