After spending time exploring the museums and ancient history of Prague, we wanted to try something different. When I was looking for things to do on our trip, I stumbled across Sangria Stained Lips blog post about the Prague Alternative Tour. It sounded like exactly what we were looking for, a look into the life of people in the city currently and the art movements taking place around the city, both legally and illegally. The tour was led by a fellow millennial, and it was really interesting to hear his stories of growing up during and after the Velvet Revolution and the fall of communism in the Czech Republic. He talked about how his dad, growing up in the poor communist era, saved for five years to buy a pair of American brand jeans. It was very interesting to hear how different growing up in Prague in the 90’s was to my own childhood.
The communist buildings have also made their mark on the architecture. Beautiful old neoclassical buildings were seen as marks of the wealthy, and were torn down and replaced with some pretty hideous utilitarian concrete and steel block buildings. The well known and controversial TV tower was built so that it was very visible from the city.
We wandered through a few creative art spaces and galleries, which were really interesting and provided commentary on the government and daily life. A lot of the art is political, and it was interesting to learn about the issues that Czech people face today, and the problems they have with their government and the state of the world today. I really think I’m starting to enjoy modern art, something I never thought would happen.
We also stopped by a legal graffiti wall, which contained everything from murals to what you’d typically think of as graffiti. There is a hierarchy and there are rules within the graffiti community, and it was interesting to learn about. I hadn’t realised that so much thought went into the pieces that went up on the sides of subway trains or underpasses, but I suppose it really can be an art form.
Our final visit was to Cross Club, and alternative cafe, art space and venue. They host performances and music and have resident artists staying there. The most impressive part was the outdoor sculpture made entirely of pieces of old bikes and busses.
Overall, the tour was good, and I’d recommend it. It’s a good break from medieval history and showed us parts of the city we wouldn’t have seen on our own. It was a more diverse crowd than I was expecting, not entirely hipsters! We chatted with some American students studying abroad in Copenhagen and Barcelona and some German students on holiday.