It was only after two consecutive visits to Prague, the Czech capital, that I have fully understood why it is dubbed “The Golden City” or “City of a Hundred Spires”. If my memory recalls correctly, it was during the summers of 2002 and 2003.
What struck me about this city were its unique buildings spanning nearly all western architectural styles from the Medieval to Gothic, from High Baroque to Modernist, cultural marvels spared from the ravages of World War II and communist rule. Up to this day, its historic center still reminds me of a setting from a Final Fantasy game, a fortified European metropolis with strong Slavic and Germanic influences, once heart of the old Bohemian Empire.
I visited Prague with my family during a period of great transition that will most probably remain locked forever in time. It was roughly a decade after the Velvet Revolution, the Fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, a year before the Czech Republic’s accession to the European Union and a decade before Prague was declared UNESCO City of Literature. After all these years, even my own recollection of this city continues to haunt me like a recurring dream.