Shopping In Prague
Although Prague is not a shopping capital like Rome and London, many of the local wares make charming souvenirs and gifts.
Although Prague is not a shopping capital like Rome and London are, the dollar tends to be quite strong there and there are several local items that are worth seeking out. To see what the locals buy and get an overview of what¡¦s available, browse through one of the large department stores (any hotel concierge ought to be able to give you directions). These include: Kotva, Bila Labut, and Maj. Other than these, most shops are small boutiques that specialize in one type of merchandise, like clothing, glassware, or electronics. In the tourist districts, like Wenceslas Square, there are always street vendors hawking local arts and crafts.
These are the items that are probably of greatest interest to foreign visitors:
„« Crystal and Glassware. All the tourist routes are lined with shops and street vendors selling these glittering treasures, which the Czech Republic is famous for. The best known brand is ¡§Bohemia¡¨, and Bohemian crystal is world-renown. Another famous brand is ¡§Moser,¡¨ founded in the 1800s. If you can safely transport it home, it is well worth the price here, as imported pieces back in the States are very expensive. Small perfume bottles are easily packed and are readily available from street vendors.
„« Porcelain. This includes everything from beautiful sets of china to intricate figurines. One of the most famous names is ¡§Cesky¡¨. Porcelain dishes with a gorgeous cobalt blue glaze are characteristic of eastern Europe; they were used by royalty through the ages, including the czars of Russia.
„« Local Liquors. A type of plum brandy, called Slivovice, is a local favorite. Becherovka is another after-dinner drink that is bottled at Karlovy Vary, an elegant spa town 80 miles outside of Prague.
„« Ethnic music. Prague is the music capital of Bohemia. For the afficionado, many CDs and tapes are available of local folk tunes.
„« Clothing. In the States, the ¡¥peasant¡¦ or ¡¥Bohemian¡¦ look is fashionable once again. Shop for the real thing here -- embroidered peasant blouses in traditional ethnic patterns.
„« Dolls. Puppetry is a big part of the local culture and fanciful marionettes are for sale everywhere. There is also a good collection of dolls in traditional ethnic dress.