Especially with Prague’s current appearance: gleaming software company offices, glitzy fashion shops, scads of skinny model types gliding in and out - often with young, bemused business types in tow - all squeezed in among the fabulously restored Baroque architecture and cobbled lanes of Old Town.
But the compact city of 1.2 million, divided by the picturesque green river and linked by stone bridges, has always been about not just truth but opportunity - not always for the good, certainly.
Nor does any Praguer look twice when couples make out enthusiastically on the Metro or people stumble drunkenly off trams or pass around a joint at a park.
It’s easy to forget, just 20 years on, that Czechoslovakia emerged from the fall of the Iron Curtain with a once-jailed dissident as president, inspiring the world.
A smoking law is in effect but really just means no smoking in public buildings or at tram stops or at some tables during lunch hours of most restaurants.
Despite reports to the contrary, drugs, even for personal use, are not legal in the Czech Republic, although enforcement for casual users is rare.
ritish Embassy: Thunovska 14, Prague; 0042 257 402 370.
Open Mon-Friday, 8.30am-5pm Czech emergency services: dial 112 Prague Information Service: Staroměstské náměstí 1 (0042 221 714 444; praguewelcome.cz) Currency: Czech koruna Telephone code: 0042 Time difference: 1 Flight time: London to Prague is around two hours.