Prague is alight with Bohemian glass and crystal shops. If you have always wanted a complex, classic chandelier, Prague is the place to buy it. Even with shipping and handling, the price tag will be less than you think. A lovely decanter and six matching glasses can be purchased for about $30. Select from hand-painted flower designs or the mauve or green colors the Czech's love. I bought a set of show-stopping goblets, very contemporary in soft golds, greens, and rose for about $45 and have seen similar art-glass items in Neiman Marcus and Rosenthal stores for about $250. Indeed, those with patience and an eye for quality can find real treasures.

Krasna Jizba, an excellent arts and craft store on Narodni Street, offers subtle hand-crafted jewelry made by local artisans. I could not resist a necklace and matching earrings for $14, and a hand-painted silk scarf for $20. This store also has whimsical folk art, housewares, and sophisticated clothes by local designers, which sell for MUCH more in Paris.

Czech folk artists are renowned for their marionettes with carved wooden faces that are startlingly realistic, from very cheap to expensive. You can even commission an artist to make one of yourself. Truly an amazing signature piece for your foyer or for a bookcase-top one-of-a-kind conversation piece! The Hotel Moran owners chose to personalize their hotel's postcard with two life-size marionettes of themselves. The faces are so photographically accurate that I instantly recognized the people who greeted me so kindly upon arrival!

Finally, as a die-hard Kafka fan, I could not resist a KAFKA! PRAGUE! t-shirt which at $22 was no bargain.

Stores selling the above merchandise are located in the central pedestrian zone a most pleasant and educational stroll past architectural masterworks. Start at the top of Wenceslas Square and head straight down toward the river. Continue on to Old Town Square, in "the center of everything." For the art collector on a budget, Prague is a city not to miss!

Sally Lloyd Woelfel

January 1995