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Gay Prague: Increasingly gay jewel in the heart of Europe



Prague castle

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's (and the world's) most popular tourist destinations. It is the sixth most-visited European city after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.

Prague and the Czech Republic have earned a (generally accurate) reputation of being more liberal than its neighbours to the east like Poland or the Baltic States, and Czechs' attitudes towards issues like gay rights or drugs are far more tolerant. Homosexuality in the Czech Republic is legal and the minimum age of consent is 15. The biggest example of the Czech Republic's progressive policies towards the homosexual community would be its passing of historic legislation legalizing registered partnerships for same-sex couples in July 2006. There are no laws concerning tourists with HIV/AIDS. The number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country is low.

This means that Prague has far more gay and gay-friendly clubs than most Eastern European cities, and is quickly becoming a popular travel destination for gay tourists. By some estimates, nearly 600,000 visitors to Prague per year have used services aimed at the homosexual community - though those numbers might be overblown, as most gay clubs don't deny entrance to heterosexual guests. Either way, gay tourism has definitely been on the rise since the 1990s. More than half a dozen new bars or clubs have opened up in the last year alone and there are around 25 gay bars, discos and saunas in the city as a whole.