In 2015 I moved to the Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. A city steeped in history and culture, and endowed with architectural splendour. Since then, I have explored many of the city’s famous and hidden wonders, sketchbook in hand. I want to capture the heart of Prague, like the artist explorers of the past.
So, let me show you the historical capital of Bohemia, through my artwork. See Prague through the eyes of an artist.
Map of Prague
Explorer east of the Vltava river (The Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, The Jewish Quarter, Vysehrad…).
Quick Sketch. ‘Tynska, Prague.’ View of the spires of the ‘Church of Our Lady before Tyn’ from a back street of Prague’s Old Town. The 14th century gothic church towers 80 metres above the Old Town Square.
Urban iPad Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Obecni Dum Cafe.’ Painting of my pencil sketch, using an ipad 2, Procreate, and a basic Wacom stylus.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Obecni Dum Cafe.’ A stunning Art Nouveau cafe. It can be found inside the beautiful Municipal House concert hall. Artists involved in the interior decoration included Mucha. Thank you to Maria for pointing it out. And thank you to Veronica, the waitress in the drawing, for not minding me sketching you.
Urban iPad Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Charles Bridge.’ Painting of my pencil sketch, using an ipad 2, Procreate, and a basic Wacom stylus.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Old Town Square.’ Packed with tourists waiting for the astronomical clock to chime. The square is home to medieval-style markets on both Christmas and Easter.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Vysehrad cemetery.’ Loads of interesting sculptures and styles, from Soviet busts to metal spiderwebs.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Rotunda of the Finding of the holy cross.’ This 11th century rotunda church is the oldest of three rotunda churches in Prague. It’s located at the centre of the ‘Urban Cross’ – a Dan Brown-style cross marked out by the churches of old Prague.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Charles Bridge.’ My first sketch in Prague. I sheltered from the sun in a great spot beside the bridge. Bookended by two fairytale towers, and lined with statues, this 15th century bridge is often crammed with tourists, artists, and musicians.
Quick Sketch. ‘Bazilika Svatého Jakuba, Prague.’ The 13 century Basilica of St. James holds the tomb of Count Vratislav of Mitrovice, who was buried alive by accident – renovators, years later, found he had escaped his coffin, only to be trapped inside his stone tomb. The gothic church also holds another creepy secret – a hanging 17th century severed arm.
Quick Sketch. ‘Corner of Brehova and Maiselova, Prague.’ View from a cafe in the Jewish Quarter.
Quick Sketch. ‘Prašná Brána, Prague.’ Also known as the Powder Tower, this 13th century gothic gate-tower marks the original border between Prague’s Old Town and New Town. It was modelled after the tower on Charles bridge. Gunpowder was stored inside the tower in the 17th century.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafedu, Prague.’ View from inside Cafedu as the sun dips. Great student cafe near the National Museum – the building in the drawing.
Quick Sketch. ‘Havelske Trziste Market, Prague.’ Located near Wenceslas Square, and with a history stretching back to 1232, this open air market is open all year round. It focuses on selling to tourists. If you need a souvenir, pay the market a visit.
ipad Painting – ‘Tynska, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Naplavka, Prague.’ View of one of the boats moored along Naplavka – Boat Klotylda Hotel. Great area of the river, especially for bars and live music at night. It’s Prague’s own cobbled-beach / pavement, and stretches from the Palacky Bridge to the Vyton tram stop.
Quick Sketch. ‘Kavovarna, Lucerna, Prague.’ A great retro cafe bar, just off Wenceslas Square. The cafe can be found inside the art nouveau Lucerna Palace passageway, built in 1920 (also home to the Lucerna Theatre, Lucerna Cafe, Lucerna Music Bar, and a giant statue of King Wenceslas riding an upside-down horse, hanging from the ceiling – apparently the artist meant to mock the equestrian statue at the top of Wenceslas Square).
ipad Painting – ‘Vysehrad cemetery, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Wenceslas Square, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Wenceslas Square, Prague.’ Old tram car used as a cafe. Also known as ‘Vaclavska Namesti’, Wenceslas Square is one of Prague’s main squares. It is named after Saint Wenceslas – patron saint of Bohemia. Some buildings at the Museum end of the square were destroyed during the Prague Uprising of 1945.
ipad Painting – ‘Cafedu, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafedu, Prague.’ Great and very busy student cafe. Friendly staff, and of course study friendly.
ipad Painting – ‘Rudolfinum, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Parizska, Jewish Quarter, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Parizska, Jewish Quarter, Prague.’ View of the Cantinetta Fiorentina. Formely the Jewish Ghetto, Prague’s Josefov (Jewish Quarter) is believed to have been settled in the 10th century. In 1389 it was the site of a massacre on Easter Sunday (approximately 1500 died). It still contains six synagogues, the Jewish cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. The area now boasts a high-end fashionable shopping district.
ipad Painting – ‘Prašná Brána, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Rudolfinum, Prague.’ View of the Rudolfinum from the steps of the University Karlova – Praze Filozofike. This late 19th century neo-renaissance music auditorium and gallery is currently home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
ipad Painting – ‘Cafe Louvre, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘The Globe Bookstore Cafe, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Louvre, Prague.’ If you want to know what it would have felt like to grab a coffee in early 1900s Europe, this cafe will take you there. It’s over a century old. Previous guests included Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka.
Quick Sketch. ‘The Globe Bookstore Cafe, Prague.’ Hot chocolate with a friend. The cafe is at the back of an english bookstore. Opened in 1993, it often hosts social and charitable events.
ipad Painting – ‘Slavia Kavarna, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Slavia Kavarna, Narodni, Prague.’ Great Art Deco restaurant and cafe, next to Prague National Theatre, on the bank of the Vltava. Opened in 1884, it has a history of being frequented by Czech dissidents, poets, writers and thinkers.
ipad Painting – ‘Vzorkovna, Narodni, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Vzorkovna, Národní, Prague.’ Vzorkovna is great alternative grungy club. A dark maze of vaulted rooms and passageways, inhabited by a resident Irish wolfhound, with a Mohican.
ipad Painting – ‘Cafe Rybka, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Rybka, Prague.’ Cool bookstore, cafe and bar. It has the quirky bohemian feel of somewhere Hemingway might have hung out.
ipad Painting – ‘Cafe Nona, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Nona, Prague.’ View of a great spiral staircase in Cafe Nona. The cafe is in Prague theatre’s ‘New Stage’ – a 1980s ice cube shaped building, incorporating four thousand blocks of glass.
ipad Painting – ‘Malkovich Bar, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Malkovich Bar, Prague.’ This hipster bar has the feel of a 1950s lounge. This sketch was accompanied by some great live music.
Quick Sketch. ‘Chapeau Rouge, Prague.’ A cool bar and club. Thanks to the barmaid Tereza for letting me sketch her.
ipad Painting – ‘Chapeau Rouge, Prague.’
ipad Painting 2 – ‘Prague Christmas Market.’
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Prague Christmas Market.’ The fairytale backdrop to a packed market. Another sketch drawn from an outside cafe. Kept warm by a hot chocolate.
ipad Painting – ‘Old Town Hall Tower, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Old Town Hall Tower, Prague.’ Evening view of the tower, from beneath a magical canopy of fairy lights – part of the Christmas market. The town hall tower was built in 1364. The tower is the site of Prague’s medieval Astronomical clock, which includes a moving skeletal sculpture of Death.
Quick Sketch. ‘Prague Christmas Market.’ Stunningly beautiful market, especially at night. Try the hot wine, and watch the Christmas tree musical light show. Drawn from outside a cafe – saved from the cold by an outdoor heater and a hot chocolate. Markets are held in a number of locations throughout the festive period, with the largest, and most impressive, being in the Old Town Square.
ipad Painting – ‘Prague Christmas Market.’
ipad Painting – ‘Cafe Imperial, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Imperial, Prague.’ A majestic Art Deco and Nouveau cafe. Egyptian inspired interior. Also great hot chocolates. With over a hundred years of history, it counts Franz Kafka and Leos Janacek amongst its past dinners.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Platyz, Prague.’ Cafe with a massive classical space, a vaulted ceiling, and elegant decorations.
Quick Sketch. ‘Prazirna Kavarna, Prague.’ Great cafe in vaulted cellars. Study of the cute cafe dog ‘Kacenka.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Adria, Prague.’ A spacious Art Deco restaurant and cafe. The building has an amazing Deco exterior facade. This was tricky to draw, since most of the people left, or moved, straight after I began drawing them.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Cafe, Prague.’ A stylish open plan restaurant and cafe, that has a kind of New York wine bar feel about it.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe de Paris, Hotel Paris, Prague.’ Art nouveau cafe, with wonderful organic lighting design and artwork.
Quick Sketch. ‘Café Amandine, Prague.’ A charming cafe with Parisian, art nouveau, inspired decor – amazing lights, and nostalgic B&W photos.
Quick Sketch. ‘La Boheme Cafe, Prague.’ A cool little arty cafe. It has a great selection of drinks.
Quick Sketch. ‘Boscolo Hotel, Prague.’ Taking a drink from the hotel’s coffee bar in the grand lobby. Impressively ornate hall that wouldn’t look out of place at the Palace of Versailles.
Quick Sketch. ‘Můj šálek kávy, Prague.’ A cool and very busy cafe in Krizikova. Light airy interior with a painted brick mural, bookcases, and a log fire burner.
Quick Sketch. ‘Au Gourmand, Prague.’ Great little cafe, restaurant, patisserie and boulangerie. Elegant tiled walls, and mosaic tabletops. They make a mean peppermint hot chocolate. The sketch was tough, since everybody moved and left soon after I began.
Quick Sketch. ‘Café Colore, Prague.’ A great cafe that mixes old architecture and modern decor. I tried to capture the friendly staff at work.
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Costa Coffee, Národní Třída, Prague.’ A nice coffee shop, with pleasant staff, and a mean chocolate tiffin. Good view of a busy tram stop – ideal for people sketching.
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Obecni Dum Cafe, Prague.’ Sketching under stunning Art Deco lights, while listening to the sounds of a grand piano.
Quick Sketch. ‘IF Café, Prague.’ A cozy basement cafe, with a vaulted ceiling, and a great selection of hot chocolates and cakes.
Quick Sketch. ‘Národní Kavárna, Prague.’ A cafe and restaurant with over a century of history. It’s classically decorated with chandeliers and b&w photos. Great window seat alcoves.
Quick Sketch. ‘Kare Cafe, Prague.’ An artistic decor store and cafe. Sip, snack and shop, all to the sound of electro jazz.
Quick Sketch. ‘Rotunda of St Martin, Vysehrad Castle, Prague.’ This rotunda is one of Prague’s oldest buildings, dating from the 11th century. It sits in the tranquil grounds of Vysehrad Castle.
Quick Sketch. ‘Vysehrad Castle, Prague.’ View from one of the park areas of the 10th century castle. A great sculpture of a Slavic warrior couple looking upon the spires of the Basilica of St Peter and Paul. The castle’s grounds hold the oldest buildings in prague, such as the Church of the Virgin Mary 870. It was once a rival for the seat of Czech sovereign power with Prague Castle. The castle’s cemetery is home to the graves of famous Czechs, including Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana and Alphonse Mucha.
Quick Sketch. ‘Stairway to Vysehrad Castle, Prague.’ One of the many routes up to Vysehrad Castle – beautiful under a summer’s sun. Great view across the Vltava River of Prague Castle.
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Naplavka, Prague.’ Prague’s waterfront. When it’s sunny, this place is packed, during the day and after dark. Come join the partygoers, dog walkers, joggers and cyclists.
Quick Sketch. ‘Manes Art Cafe, Prague.’ The cafe has a great view of Prague National Theatre. Find it next to the Manes Gallery.
Quick Sketch. ‘Dancing House, Prague.’ Also known as Fred and Ginger. There is a restaurant on the seventh floor, with stunning views of Prague. This is the view from the Potrefena Husa bar and restaurant. The Dancing House was built on the site of a house destroyed in 1945, when American bombers apparently mistook Prague for Dresden, due to radar malfunctions – 152 tons of bombs were dropped on Prague, killing 701.
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Kavarna Adria, Prague.’ The view of some of Prague’s stunning architecture from the rooftop terrace of Kavarna Adria – also a beautiful building. Watch the sun go down and the streetlights take over.
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Slavia Kavarna, Prague.’ Great view from a window seat in Cafe Slavia. Sketched to the sound of a grand piano, as the sun set.
Quick Sketch. ‘Knihovna Akademie Library, Prague.’ A hidden beauty in central Prague. Only open during weekdays, this library is part of the Academy of Sciences. Seek it out.
Quick Sketch. ‘Hemingway Bar, Prague.’ A cocktail bar inspired by Ernest Hemingway. Sketched while drinking one of the author’s favourite tipples – a Hemingway Daiquiri. All to the sound of Electro Swing. With vaulted ceilings and candlelit character, this place is worth a visit.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Archa Barista, Prague.’ A classy Rondocubist cafe. It sits inside the wonderful Legiobank building, designed by Czech architect Josef Gocar.
Quick Sketch. ‘Grand Cafe Orient, Prague.’ An elegant Art Deco cafe and restaurant, within a short walk from the Obecni Dum and the Powder Tower. Sketched to classics played on a grand piano.
Quick Sketch. ‘Obecni Dum, Prague.’ Also known as the Municipal House, this is a truly stunning building / concert hall / ballroom / restaurant and cafe.
Explorer west of the Vltava river (Mala Strana, Kampa, Petrin, Letna, Prague Castle…).
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Saint Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle.’ The 9th century castle is the official residence of the Czech President, and home of the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The cathedral holds a stunning stained glass window by Czech artist Alfons Maria Mucha. As I was sketching, a selfie stick suddenly appeared over my shoulder, and went in for a closer look.
Urban Art – Prague, Czech Republic. ‘Snemovni.’ Near a lovely tiny park. The area is called Mala Strana – meaning “Little Side” (of the river). It’s often also called “Lesser Town.”
Quick Sketch 3. ‘Zahrady Pod Pražským Hradem, Prague.’ The terrace wall gardens below Prague Castle. A garden filled with ornate terraces, balustrades and pavilions.
ipad Painting – ‘Střelecký Ostrov Island, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Zahrady Pod Pražským Hradem, Prague.’
Quick Sketch 2. ‘Zahrady Pod Pražským Hradem, Prague.’ View from the terrace wall gardens below Prague Castle. The St Nicholas Church stands proud over the beautiful Mala Strana district.
Quick Sketch. ‘Zahrady Pod Pražským Hradem, Prague.’ Entrance to the gardens. The Zahrady Pod Prazskym Hradem is a collection of gardens that lay on the southern slope of Prague Castle.
Quick Sketch. ‘Střelecký Ostrov Island, Prague.’ Overlooking both banks of the Vltava River, and tucked under the stunning Legion Bridge, this island was once used as a training ground for archers. Now the island / park hosts numerous music and food festivals. The island boasts a great view of the golden-roofed National Theatre ‘Národní Divaldo’ – opened in 1881.
Quick Sketch. ‘Trziste, Prague.’ A beautiful passageway near the St Nicholas Church, in Mala Strana. The church tower was used to spy on the US embassy, among others, during the Cold War.
Quick Sketch. ‘Kampa Island, Prague.’ The locals and tourists enjoying the balmy sunshine. The island is split off from Mala Strana by the narrow ‘Devil’s Stream.’ As well as Kampa park, the island is also home to an art Museum. The island was named by Spanish soldier in 1620, during the Thirty Years War. Kampa – meaning ’campus’ (where the soldiers were camped).
Quick Sketch. ‘Radnicke Schody.’ Drew this while sat on some steps in the shade, with a Jazz band playing nearby. Great view of the city.
ipad Painting – ‘Radnicke Schody, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Vitezna, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Prague Senate Gardens.’ Also known as the Wallenstein Palace Gardens. Beautiful Italian style gardens, with a strange wall of stone faces, and a view of the castle.
Quick Sketch. ‘Vitezna, Prague.’ View from just inside a cafe. The trees are shedding pale green buds over the cobbles.
ipad Painting – ‘Cihelna, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cihelna, Prague.’ Feeding the birds on the bank of the Vltava. Possibly getting its name from the old Germanic word ‘wilt ahwa’ (wild water), the Vltava river is the longest in the Czech Republic. It flows through Cesky Krumlov, Ceske Budejovice, and Prague, before eventually joining the Elbe.
ipad Painting – ‘Kampa, Prague.’
ipad Paiting 3 – ‘Zahrady Pod Pražským Hradem, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Kinského Zahrada, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Kinského Zahrada, Prague.’ Great view of Prague Castle through the autumn trees of Petrin Hill Park. Drawn from the Nebozizek Restaurant. With parts constructed in the 9th century, and taking up an area of 70,000 square meters, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world – according to the Guinness Book of Records.
ipad Painting – ‘Waldstein Gardens, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Waldstein Gardens, Prague.’ View past Hercules statue. The garden’s pond is full of large Koi carp. In 1816 inventor Josef Bozek used the pond to work on his steamship experiments. The original statues in the gardens were stolen by Swedish troops in 1648, as war booty. Replicas were created in the early 20th century. Nowadays, in the summer, the gardens hosts music concerts.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cross Club, Prague.’ This club is a warren of mechanical moving metal artwork. It has a great metal beer garden for the summer.
ipad Painting – ‘Cross Club, Prague.’
ipad Painting – ‘Klub Ujezd, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Klub Ujezd, Prague.’ A cool small bar, filled with quirky metal sculptures.
Quick Sketch. ‘Ouky Douky Coffee, Prague.’ Secondhand bookshop, cafe and bar. Grab a coffee and relax on a sofa, surrounded by books.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Jedna, Prague.’ With a gallery style minimalist interior and masses of natural light, this cafe is the perfect place for a coffee after visiting the National Gallery next door, previously home to Mucha’s wonderful ‘Slav Epic’ exhibition.
Quick Sketch. ‘Cafe Savoy, Prague.’ A lavish cafe established in 1893. Enjoy a coffee in architectural splendour. Its Neo-Renaissance ceiling dates from 1893.
ipad Painting – ‘Cafe Savoy, Prague.’
Quick Sketch. ‘Cukrárna Alchymista, Prague.’ A quirky and nostalgic cafe, with a great selection of cakes, retro music, and a garden. Not to mention the cafe cat, who sleeps in a little cove above a radiator.
Quick Sketch. ‘Kavarna Liberal, Prague.’ A grand bohemian cafe. It has the architecture of a refined pre-war cafe, with the atmosphere of a laid back cultural haven.
Quick Sketch 3. ‘Prague Castle.’ Visitors flocking to Prague Castle on a sunny day. The Easter market is still going on. More selfies being taken than you can shake a selfie stick at.
Quick Sketch. ‘Letna Park, Prague.’ Beautiful sunny day on Letna Hill, overlooking Prague. This park has great festivals and an outdoor bar – perfect for sunny days and warm nights.
Quick Sketch. ‘Hanavsky Pavillon, Prague.’ Cool Art Nouveau building, overlooking Prague. It makes me think of Jules Verne.
Quick Sketch. ‘Strelecky Island, Prague.’ A sunbather enjoying a beautiful April day on Prague’s island park.
Quick Sketch. ‘Karmelitska, Mala Strana, Prague.’ Towered over by St Nicholas church, this area is a wonder of architecture. View from the U Svateho Vaclava restaurant.
Quick Sketch. ‘Bella Vida Cafe, Prague.’ Enjoy an amazing view of the city, while people watching, at this riverside cafe. Try some of their homemade lemonades.
Quick Sketch. ‘Starbucks, Ke Hradu, Prague.’ Cafe with great views of the city. It’s a beacon for selfies, risking a long drop for a Facebook post.
Quick Sketch. ‘Prague Zoo.’ Crowds admiring a polar bear. This zoo was opened in 1931, and is considered amongst the top ten zoos in the world.