Discover the genius of writer Franz Kafka, learn about life under Communist rule and hop aboard vintage trams at Prague’s museums. Whether you’re into history, architecture or the arts, the Czech capital has you covered.
The Czech Republic has seen the birth of many famous writers, but none is better known than Franz Kafka. Born and raised in Prague, Kafka left his mark everywhere in the city, and that’s particularly obvious at this small but incredible museum dedicated to his work. Before entering the building, pay attention to the sculpture titled Piss(2004), by renowned Czech sculptor David Černý. Then step inside the museum to see Kafka’s original manuscripts, letters, photographs and diaries, along with some of the writer’s personal belongings.
You might not know his name, but chances are you’ve seen some of Karel Zeman’s movies. Zeman revolutionised the world of special effects with his use of animations, visual tricks and miniature sets. The museum is just as playful as his movies, so you’ll find lots of interactive features, chances to take trick photography (with you in it), machines and artefacts. The museum is aimed at adults, but kids are welcome as well.
Dating back to 1818 and with a massive collection of over 14 million items, the National Museum is a must-see on your visit to Prague. The museum has six major departments, including the Department of Old Czech History (with artefacts dating back to the 10th century) and the intriguing Department of Theatre. The main building underwent a major reconstruction and reopened in October 2018 after a period of closure. Additional buildings outside the city – including the fascinating collection of puppets at the Museum of Czech Puppets and Circus Acts, in Prachatice, South Bohemia – are certainly also worth a visit. The various parts of the National Museum have differing opening hours, so be sure to check these in advance.
This small, informal museum houses a collection of items from the Communist era following World War II. Aside from stereotypical objects (think statues of Lenin and Communist propaganda posters), you’ll also find authentic photographs, reproductions of an interrogation room and a school classroom, items to protect citizens against chemical warfare, and even a set-up showing working conditions inside a factory. Don’t miss out on the audio clips and multimedia installations.
This museum has one of the largest collections of Jewish artefacts in the world. It includes everything from textiles to manuscripts and old photographs, but it’s perhaps most famous for chronicling the history of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Film showings, events and concerts also take place throughout the year.
Looking for a museum with a difference? Head to the world’s first museum of sex machines. Along with exhibits featuring mechanical erotic appliances – some dating back to the 16th century – there are also chastity belts, royal thrones designed to facilitate intercourse and even shoes worn by prostitutes in Ancient Greece. Not a place for the faint of heart, but an experience you certainly won’t forget.
With over 40 carriages on display and an impressive collection of photographs, tickets and plans, the Museum of Public Transport is perfect for all ages. There are old horse-drawn buses, dining train cars and even the infamous “dark tram”, which was designed in a way that helped residents avoid detection by Nazi soldiers. The carriages and buses are open, so feel free to take a closer look.