Prague - Despite a sharp decrease in the number visitors, Prague Castle still holds the first place among the most visited places in the entire country. But Prague zoo is quickly catching up.
The list of the most visited places was compiled by CzechTourism, a state-run agency that promotes tourism in the country. Almost all tourist destinations have reported increasing numbers of visitors in 2007. The average growth was 12 percent.
Six of the ten most popular tourist sites in the Czech Republic happen to be in Prague.
Zoo in a chateau
Zoos saw the highest increase with four zoological gardens among the top ten.
A zoo in Lešná u Zlína in south-east Moravia, displaying animals from four continents - from elephants to lions and tigers - reported a 24-percent increase in visitation. Lešná´s expositions are interestingly placed within a historic chateau park, imitating the original habitat of the animals.
"Zoos have one big advantage - they are open all year round," CzechTourism´s head Rostislav Vondruška told Aktuálně.cz.
Czech nature reloaded
On the other hand, despite being the most visited destination, Prague Castle reported a robust outflow of trousts in 2007. The statistics indicate a decline by 41 percent of paying visitors. CzechTourism explains the drop with the change in the payment system. The entrance to St. Vitus' Cathedral is to be paid separately now, which may deterr some people.
1. Prague Castle 1.42 million
2. Prague ZOO 1.27 miliionu
3. National Museum 687,000
4. Jewish Museum 674,000
5. National Gallery 571,000
6. Dvůr Králové ZOO 542,000
7. Lešná ZOO 503,000
8. Theresienstatd Memorial 470,000
9. Prague Old Town City Hall 433,000
10. Pilsen ZOO and Botanical Garden 402,000
Among the most visited castles and chateaus, Český Krumlov is number one, followed by Lednice's famous gardens and a mosque-like tower in south Moravia and Hluboká nad Vltavou in south Bohemia. The legendary castle Karlštejn near Prague took fourth place.
In the museum category, the National Museum in Prague was the most popular in 2007, followed by the Jewish Museum and the National Gallery, both in Prague.
In the nature landmark category, Moravian Karst with more than one thousand caves is an evergreen. The region with its romantic hilly surroundings boasts of having the biggest gorge of its kind in Central Europe - 138 m deep, 174 m long and 76 m wide Macocha Abyss.
Beer and towers
Pilzensky Prazdroj brewery took the first place among the industrial sightseeing spots. Prazdroj brewery is the first Czech location to have received the European industrial legacy license, offering a tour around the plant and short films topped with tasting of filtered and non-pasteurized Pilsner Urquell directly from the barrel.
Prague Žižkov Tower with its cosmic look took second place in the industrial tourist destination category, followed by Škoda Auto Museum in Mladá Boleslav.