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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...





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Prague from a Spy’s Perspective

Published on October 10th, 2013 in Sights

  • A spies-eye-view of Prague (photo courtesy of

  • Socialist-era furnishings (photo courtesy of

  • The Bell Tower (photo courtesy of Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia)

  • Church interior (courtesy of, © Jorge Royan)


The Church of St. Nicholas’s dome and belfry may lend celebrated Baroque majesty to the Prague skyline, but the latter has also played an important role in more modern affairs. Serving as a watchtower until 1891, it was appropriated in the 1950s by the Communist secret police who, up until 1990, used the bell tower as a secret observatory from which to monitor the activities of the US and other foreign embassies. The 243-foot bell tower—the view is from 148 feet—re-opened to the public in 2010. It promises one of the city’s most breathtaking vistas and several points of interest along the climb up. The historic splendor on view as you ascend the 215 stairs (the tower bell, watchmen’s garret, and, from a narrow terrace, the iconic church dome) contrasts starkly with the sparse Socialist-era furnishings at the top, making this a unique Prague attraction indeed. My recent visit was made all the more exceptional by a helpful attendant who lent me his pair of 19th-century binoculars—the views of the surrounding embassy gardens and Charles Bridge are phenomenal—and gamely answered all of my questions, including: How did those poor spies go to the bathroom up there?


Church of St. Nicholas Bell Tower

Malostranské náměstí, Prague 1, Malá Strana

tel 257 534 215
hours Daily: 09:00–17:00
tickets 70 CZK
metro A, Malostranská
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí