We spent Easter weekend in Prague and it was wonderful! Unfortunately, I think every European had the same idea as us though, so it was MOBBED with tourists! We made an effort to get up early and get going before all the tours started which saved us much hassle and was definitely worth not getting much sleep (not that our roommates in our 12 person bunk-bed room at the hostel were respectful of our sleep anyhow...).
The first day we got there around 5pm and just did a bit of walking around and orienting ourselves to the city. We got up early on Saturday to get a peek at the bridge without hoards of tourists and it was beautiful (not to mention sunny and 70 degrees!). We then spent the morning at the famous castle and did a self guided tour of the sites. We also went to a few other random tourist sites including a memorial to communism which led us to our evening adventure at the communist museum. Since we had been hearing a ton here in Croatia about communism and then even more when we arrived in Prague we figured we should have a good understanding of what it actually is and what life was like and this museum was actually very informative! (only medical students would go on a vacation to prague and be more interested in learning about communism than partying ha). We had a delicious "typical czech" dinner that night.
The following day we got up early to catch a bus to Terezin, a town that was a concentration camp during WWII. It was not a death camp, though many people died there. It is most famous for 1)children's artwork: one of the women who was transported there worked with children and had them use art as a way to express their feelings and she saved all their drawings (and analyzed them) and though she was transported from the camp (I believe she died in Auschwitz) 2 suitcases full of children artwork (which were named and dated) were found and are now on display all over the world with many at the Terezin museum as well as in the jewish quarter in Prague and 2) the red cross visit--Terezin was visited by red cross workers for them to get an "idea" of the quality of life of the Jews in the concentration camps but as you can imagine it was all a farce and what was originally a fenced in lot where Jews were making warfare machinery for the nazis was converted into a garden and field. There is also a very large washroom that is completely a sham--there were never any pipes so the faucets never even ran water! The list goes on but basically they forced the inmates to act as if they were treated respectably and they convinced the red cross, in there 6 hour visit, that the quality of these camps was sufficient...sad, really, that it actually worked.
In Terezin we went to the museum which begins with a memorial to all the children that died from there (most were transported to Auschwitz where they were killed upon arrival). It was devastating. My stats might be off but I believe they said there were 10,000 children in Terezin over the years, 7,500 of which died. Terrible.
We also visited a building that used to house the older boys but is now used as a museum of sorts as it has replicas of their living quarters and some other remnants from the war.
We then went to "the little fortress" which is just outside the city and was used by the SS as a prison (that was where the fake washroom was). We were quite rushed in terezin because of the bus schedule but we literally ran back to town to see the secret synogogue which was very cool. This was one of 4 shuls used by the jews of terezin, in secret, during their interment. It was the size of a 1 car garage, hidden behind what was once a bakery. There was still original hebrew writing on the wall and it was quite eerie but interesting to see.
The afternoon of that day we spent in the Jewish quarter of Prague where we saw synogogues, a museum, and the jewish cemetery. The cemetery is interesting in that when they ran out of room (its use began in the 1500s I think) they removed the headstones, covered the ground with many feet of dirt, replaced the headstones and then built new graves on top (since the only requirement is that they are 6ft under if they kept building up the land they could just keep burying people on top of one another!). The highest part of the cemetery has between 10-12 layers (this is disputed among historians) and they say over 100,000 graves are present in this small area (it was pretty small, but very high above street level). There are some famous people buried there and one tombstone that they say if you touch it it will help you become pregnant (dont worry--I did NOT touch it!).
Monday we got up early to enjoy bagels (!!) and then headed back to zagreb. All in all it was a wonderful weekend in prague and we saw a ton! I would definitely go back there as it was a great city and there was a ton to do and see and I am sure we only scratched the surface in our 3 days there!