Prague

28.-29.5.2009

Usually when people ask me where I come from I say the Czech Republic and they would say Prague. Prague (Czech Praha) became very popular after the collapse of Communist government back in 1989 and a lot of tourist are visiting from all over the world. So for those who doesn’t know, Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.

 

 

 I looooove Prague. I went to High School plus lived there for six years. I knew that Prague is beautiful but I fully realized it when I started travel and was coparing her with other big cities.  I miss her sooo much!

Prague is no like other city.  I love Rome, London, Washington D.C., San Francisco, but non of these cities are as picturesque and magic as Prague is. You can let yourself get lost in her narrow historical streets, close your eyes and relax in many parks, or walk on Charles River Bridge long after midnight when there is just you and last street musician.

Prague isn’t big (1.2 million people) but that’s her beauty. She also wasn’t damaged by second world war, historical buildings are preserved well and most modern buildings are situated in harmony with the old ones .

I had just two days to show Prague to David which is not much. Also it was raining most of the time. I showed him The Royal Mile, or King’s Road (Kralovska cesta in Czech), which is the most known tourist route in Prague.
The King’s Road was the route a future king had to take on the way to his crowning in the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. It has remained unchanged since about the 15th Century. Czech royals lived at the so-called King’s Court (today’s Municipal House) and rode to their coronation from the Powder Gate, through Celetna Street, across Old Town Square and through Nerudova Street up to Hradcanske Namesti (Hradcany Square), to St. Vitus Cathedral.
 
 

 

Instead of me I’ll let my photos talk and I borrowed words of Czech writer whose description of Prague is so beautiful:

Prague is such a goddess of love, able to give to everyone, without loosing the reputation of being beautiful, charming and honorable, faithful, as becomes an immortal goddess. You will find her in all her guises, the Romanesque and Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, and Rococo, Classicist and Empire, Art Nouveau and contemporary. Here too she is the goddess of gardens and bridges and towers, of which there are so many that nobody has ever counted them exactly. She is a beauty for all seasons.”

Arnošt Lustig

more photos in my album Prague.

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Kutná Hora

27.5.2009

After visiting my parents we went towards to Prague and stopped half way in Kutná Hora which is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The origins of Kutna Hora are linked with the settlement of the first Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia in 1142. In the 13th century Kutna Hora gained importance because of discovering silver which started silver mines and minting of Prague Groschen. From the 13th to 16th centuries the city competed with Prague economically, culturally and politically.

 

 

Kutna Hora has two major sightseeing. Cathedral of St. Barbara and Sedlec Ossuary.

Saint Barbara Cathedral construction began in 1388 and by 1420 work on the building was interrupted for more than 60 years during the Hussite Wars. Construction, however, depended on the prosperity of the town’s silver mines, which became much less productive. So, in 1588, the incomplete structure was enclosed by a provisional wall until 1884 and the roof was unfinished until the 19th century. The Cathedral is named after Saint Barbara who is the patron of miners. Originally three aisled Cathedral was changed to massive 5 aisled Cathedral.

 

Cemetary Chapel with Ossuary in Sedlec. The chapel was built at the end of the 14th century and its current appearance is the result of Baroque reconstruction carried out by Santini-Aichl in the early 18th century.

Its foundation is bounded with the story of abbot Heidenreich, who went to Jerusalem in 13th Century. From there he brought a bit of saint soil. During the ceremony he scaterred the soil on the local cemetery which turned to a place full of miracles. Sedlec then was sought by many pilgrims and christians from Poland, Bavaria and Belgium, who wanted to be burried there. Being burried in Sedlec ment being closer to the ressurection, so it is normal that many people were concerned in being burried there. Thirty thousands victims of black death and many hussites were added to the local corpses.

Unique skeletal decorations of the interior are probably the work of woodcarver František Rint in the 19th century. According to estimates, bones of approximately 40,000 people were used to decorate the chapel, creating this unique ossuary – a reminder of the transience of human life and the inevitability of death.

 

More photos in my photo album Kutna Hora.

Next Prague.

Chateau Nové Město nad Metují, castle Náchod and Adršpach Rocks

25.5. – 26.5.2009

After the hectic London we finally flew to Czech Republic. Exhausted we met my brother on the airport in Prague, rented a car and drove to my brother’s house. It was around midnight when my brother welcomed us at his house with shots of whiskey. :) I don’t know if it is Czech custom or just my family custom but whoever comes to visit our family, first thing you get is a shot of a hard alcohol. With my father that means that he likes you. :) After sleeping just few hours in two days we were drinking and talking to my brother and eating some fresh rolls with salami. You can imagine that I fell in the bed like dead. :)

The second day we went from Prague to Hradec Kralove, my parents town. My mom and dad were doing welcoming party for me and mainly for David because he has never been in Czech and he has never seen my extended family. My dad welcomed David with a shot of Kalvados (brandy made of apples) and since then David is part of my family! :) We had such a great time and David got to know my cousins and uncles and some of my friends. David loved it and I was happy.

The next two days we went for a trip in eastern Bohemia which is part of the Czech Republic where my parents live.

First stop was in Nové Město nad Metují which is a small town  founded in 1501 with chateau and historical town square lined with arcades as most of historical towns in the Czech. We walked around the square, stopped at a church and the chateau. We had a private tour around the chateau. Not that we asked for it but there wasn’t anybody else for the tour so it was just me, David and my mom. It was great! The owners were still living in some part of the chateau and the rest they let to open for tourists. We couldn’t take any pictures inside unfortunately as in any other chateaus and castles. You can have wedding in the chateau and they would take pictures of you in the historical rooms where aristocrats used to live. It’s pretty impressive.

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The other stop was in town Náchod. First written mentions of the town was in 1254. I must say I was a little disappointed because of the bad traffic there and we couldn’t find town square so instead we went to Nachod castle. The Gothic castle was founded in mid 13th century. Again we had a private tour around the castle. Most people visit on the weekends and during the school summer holiday. The castle wasn’t as splendid as the chateau in Nove Mesto but it is older and more massive. The castle has a very rare tapestries which were made in Brussels in 1650. There were 50 of them but only 9 pieces were saved. Also part of the castle moat was a place where they had bears but we didn’t see them.

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After that we went to Adršpach Rocks. It is set of sandstone formations covering 17 km² in northeastern Bohemia. The rocks have been protected as a national nature reserve since 1933, and since 1991 the whole adjacent region has enjoyed the status of protected landscape area. It is also known as Rock City. I really love this place and I was going there since I was child. It is a child’s paradise! Tall rocks close next to each other taking on all kind of shapes. Better to look at photos then my words.

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More photos in my album Nove Mesto, Nachod and Adrspach.

Next Kutna Hora.