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Insight Cities among 10 of the best architecture tours



The influence of art nouveau, which emerged at the end of the 19th century, is seen in landmark buildings across Prague. On this three-hour guided walk you’ll visit hotels, bars, restaurants and train stations notable for their elaborate facades, carved with ginkgo biloba leaves, and elegant light fittings – including the Lucerna bar and the Grand Hotel Europa, even as you discover the dramatic social and political history of Prague in the 20th Century.


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Insight Cities one of 5 best architecture tours in Europe

Insight Cities’ tour, ‘Art Nouveau and Cubist Architecture – Prague after 1900’, could easily be mistaken for a slightly daunting academic tour. Instead, it helps make sense of a place that only emerged from behind the Iron Curtain in 1991, nicknamed ‘the City of a Hundred Spires’ and widely agreed to be as beautiful as Paris. It takes in the defining features of Art Nouveau (including ginkgo biloba leaves on facades) and includes a visit to the Lucerna bar, once owned by Vaclav Havel’s family and the building which housed the Grand Hotel Europa, which signified the Czech Republic’s willingness to join Europe. The Cubist aspect of the city is explored via the House of the Black Madonna.

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Vadim Erent on Radio Prague

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Vadim ErentVadim Erent runs Insight Cities, a tour company that promises to give visitors a deeper perspective on the cultural and political histories of more than half a dozen cities, including Berlin and New York. The firm began here in Prague, where the Russian-born US citizen has been living for the last 11 years. And our tour of “Vadim Erent’s Prague” begins near his Letná home, specifically on a bench overlooking Stromovka Park by the Místodržitelský letohrádek, or Governor’s Summer Palace.


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Find the real Prague off the beaten path



concierge-prague-spire10tr1The question:

I don’t want to be just another tourist in Prague. Any suggestions for getting off the beaten path?

The answer:

The cobbled Czech capital rapidly became the former Soviet Bloc’s most popular vacation destination in the 1990s, and its charming Old Town streets were soon crammed with great opportunities to buy Charles Bridge T-shirts and Astronomical Clock fridge magnets.

But there are still ways to encounter the City of a Hundred Spires without feeling like a walking wallet or a backpacker ticking the boxes on a Europe-wide jaunt. To prove it, I’ve pried some personal tips from Prague-based Mark Baker, co-author of Lonely Planet’s Prague and the Czech Republic guidebook.

He suggests starting with a tour that delves beneath the city’s surface. “Insight Prague ( is kind of high-brow but they employ university lecturers as their guides. They really explain the city and its history in an informed way,” he says, mentioning the operator’s Beer and Baroque and totalitarian-themed tour options.

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HuffPost Travel Section



ArticleImageInsight Cities got a nice mention (albeit in a big list!) in the HuffPost Travel Section: “Insight Prague guides come with impressive academic credentials and extensive knowledge in their areas of expertise. The company promises ‘truly informed tours for travelers who like to learn.’ Feel free to ask detailed questions during these master classes in subjects like Art Nouveau and Cubist Architecture, Stories of Jewish Prague or a detailed look at the history of the Prague Castle.”

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The Scotsman



At the Municipal House, a palatial concert hall that opened in 1912, I join Dr. Bonita Rhoads, a bubbly New Yorker and founder of Insight Cities, a company specialising in architectural tours in Central European and American cities. “The building illustrates a revolution in society,” she explains, “rapid industrialisation and the growth of the bourgeoisie freed architecture from its classical constraints and allowed architects to experiment with new artistic forms and technologies.”

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Insight Cities is featured in these two elegant blog posts by Patricia Zohn, a culture columnist whose blog, CultureZohn, is published by the Huffington Post. It was a pleasure to arrange some of Patricia’s research touring in Prague and Vienna with 2 members of our network of over 70 brilliant historian guides in Central Europe, architecture experts like Prague’s Alex Went, who curates the most comprehensive on-line encyclopedia on this city’s iconic buildings, Prague Vitruvius, and Felicitas Konecny, an expert historian who leads cutting edge tours of Vienna’s modernist and post-modernist architecture and is one of the world’s two “Guiding Architects” for Vienna.

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Prague – A Short Break to a City with a Long History



If the history of post Second World War Prague is fascinating, that of Prague during the Enlightenment is every bit as amazing.  I was fortunate to spend a morning with Bonita Rhoads, academic historian turned tour guide and founder of Insight Cities runnings tours in Prague and across a portfolio of cities in Europe and America. Their ethos is to provide a living history and insight into some of the lesser known parts of the cities where they operate. The Four Gardens tour started at the Vrtba Garden, which dates back to 1720.  With an entrance in Mala Strana, it’s a terraced Baroque walled garden which was built for Jan Joseph, the earl of Vrtba and chancellor of Prague castle.  Bonita explained that each of the gardens we visited was essentially political statements in their time.

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Tomas Silberberg samples Prague’s breathtaking architecture on an Insight Cities tour


You only have to stop and look around you in Prague to get a striking sense of the city’s personality and creativity.

It can be found while looking at its breathtaking architecture, and a tour by Bonita of Insight Cities Tours brought to life its Cubist and Art Nouveau locations.

It was an altogether fascinating tour delivered professionally with great confidence and insight.

The Municipal House, with its embellished exterior wrought with golden leaves stands as a testament to the tastes of the early 20th century. Inside, cafes and restaurants provide excellent examples of Art Nouveau interiors, designed by craftsmen and artists such as Alfons Mucha, Jan Preisler, Ladislav Šaloun, and others.


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 Prague – off the beaten track




prague-articleThe company specializes in guided walks – some in depth tours of the city’s classical sites, such as the Jewish Quarter or the fortress of Prague, and others thematic tours such as a tour of the cities breweries, a tour dedicated to avant-garde movement in Prague, Prague tour following the Cold War, and more. One of the recommended tours dedicated to Art Nouveau architecture shaped the face of the city early 20th century, and passes some of the most representative buildings of its time, such as the Grand Hotel Europe Weber Lucerne, along with some interesting Cubist buildings in the city.


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Prague: Where to go and what to do in the Czech capital


Take a stroll: Insight Cities offers an Art Nouveau tour as one of several small-group walks in the city, from £50pp, which takes in the Municipal House, where independence was declared in 1918, the world’s only Cubist lamppost, and Wenceslas Square, epicentre of the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Ask a local: Bonita Rhoads, Co-founder, Insight Cities, “The Svandovo Theatre has English supertitles for every fourth performance. Prague has more theatres per person than any other European capital; sampling a production will give you a real taste of the Czech character.”


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Insight Cities review by





Tour Prague with local experts from Insight Cities. If you are the type of traveler who longs for educational tours of a city where you can really learn and take away something specific from a destination, then tours by Insight Cities are just for you. Insight Cities offers special tours in select cities of Europe and the United States; tours are led by professors, historians, doctoral students, journalists, art critics and published authors. These special tours are perfect if you are looking for a more in-depth tour of the beautiful city of Prague – or Vienna, Budapest and Berlin for that matter (and if you happen to be in the US, Insight Cities can show you around New York City, Boston or Seattle).

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