In this, which is about some guys from Loughborough who have decided to mark cities (scroll down a bit) like they are undergraduate essays (Alpha+, Beta+, Beta-, etc.), NickM waxes lyrical about Prague:
The coolest city is Prague. Prague is just mental. I’d happily move there tomorrow but for the language which is something else. Just super-cool. On the Charles Bridge there was a rodent balancer. Some bloke in a monk’s cowl was balancing rodents on a labrador for change. And then you just walk past where Kepler lived and customer service is spot-on and it was about a quid a pint for most excellent beer right in the city centre and the food was good quality and good value. Went to a steak house run by former firemen who donned the hats when they put the heat to the meat. Bloody good steak that was. And then down by the river and a load of blokes ride past me in Edwardian garb astride penny-farthings. Prague is just ineffably cool. Just wandering around is wonderful. Just doing that brought me by chance to the church where the killers of Reinhardt Heydrich had holed-up. That was poignant. And then there is the Museum of Communism. This is not a free museum. It makes a point of being a for profit enterprise. It advertised, when I was there, with a Russian doll with fangs. It gives it’s address as, “Above McDonalds and opposite Benetton.”. It didn’t need to add, “And fuck off Lenin”. A joy to behold.
Here endeth the broadcast from the Czech tourism bureau.
But he adds a warning:
But catch it while you can and before EU membership fucks it.
Well, EU membership doesn’t seem to have fucked London yet, despite decades of the EU trying everything they can think of to accomplish that. London, according to the Loughborough guys, is equal top (Apha++) with New York. NickM goes further. He reckons New York is overrated and has London top on its own, as the greatest city in the world “bar none”. He doesn’t say why, however.
Personally, I love London, because I live here and I just do. But I do not know where I think it ranks in the great city stakes because I seldom leave it, and hence can’t compare it with other urban greatness contenders.
I have been to Prague, which I thought was pretty good. The middle is amazing, wall-to-wall listed buildings, as we would say in London. As I assume is the case in Prague too, i.e. you may not smash it down and replace it with a concrete blockhouse, just because you “own” it. Which I understand. But the uninterruptedly historic nature of the centre means that nothing new can now be built. In other words, the centre of Prague feels like a film set, and will feel more and more like one as time passes. See also: Paris.