Kitch in Prague

Prague is undoubtedly a drop dead gorgeous town, especially on a warm afternoon with clear sky’s it is stunning. This beauty as well as being in the cheaper central / eastern part of Europe with cheap food, drink and accomodation has made it a bit of a tourist mecca. There were so many people it was difficult to walk the streets. In comparison Kraków felt like a ghost town.

Unfortunately this also has attracted the tacky side of tourism, There is the “biggest wax museum in Prague” (you mean there is more than one?), a museum of torture, a dungeon museum, a senses museum, a museum of sex machines😳,  hot rod tourist cars, a chocolate museum, model Ts and your usual standard selection of street performers (gold and silver men, bubble men and if I looked hard enough I’m sure I’d find the floating Yoda). It’s almost like a little Las Vegas. I’m sure it’s all interesting stuff but has little or no relationship with Czech culture. I kept finding little museum after museum. Here is but a small example of some of the things on offer.

There is even a museum on Czech hockey, I never even knew hockey was a thing here, but then what would I know about hockey, When in Canada many years ago I had no clue who Wayne Gretzky was yet I still visited the Hockey Hall of Fame. At least that was a central part of the of Canadian culture and makes sense to do that when in Canada.

Walking along I rounded a corner and walked past an “Apple Museum”. I thought this has to be tacky and a complete waste of money, but I couldn’t resist paying my 300 Koruna (about A$18) and went inside to see for myself. At this point I instantly became part of the problem. For every 1 person that goes into the Apple museum, probably 50 go into the sex machine museum or the various wax museums.

In its defence the museum covered almost every Apple device imaginable, I was happy and I think I got my K300 worth. The English grammar on the displays was a little suspect. I liked the museum But did it have to be in the Old Town? Probably yes to get the tourist market, they rely on people just finding these places. If I had to get an Uber or metro out of the tourist area for this I probably wouldn’t have bothered where I would bother for some sort of cultural or historical museum or monument.

And of course there are more Thai massage places here than you can poke a stick at. I guess if there is a happy ending to this story it has to be that at least all this kitch and tack is keeping people employed and paying taxes so the city can be maintained. Striking a balance is difficult given how popular this place is. Of course I did also discover upon leaving here there is a Lego museum. Given a few days here I may have relented and visited that one too.