Prague: Jan. 4 to Jan. 5

/, Timeline, Uncategorized/Prague: Jan. 4 to Jan. 5

Prague: Jan. 4 to Jan. 5

This is Prague's Astrological Clock in the Old Town Square. The medieval clock tracks the sun and moon. The four figures are the sides of the clock move, and the Apostles appear above, when the clock rings every hour.
The streets are all lined with interesting buildings.
The entry to St. Vitus Cathedral which stands inside the Prague Castle complex 
The back of St. Vitus is highlighted by its flying buttresses.
This is the view down Golden Lane in the Prague Castle. The tiny cottages that line the street housed some of the castle's workers. The street get its name for the goldsmiths who lived and worked on this street. Author Franz Kafka also lived here for a while.
Locals definitely talked up Czech food and beer! It was hearty and filled us up after a long day.
Legend has it that St. John of Nepomuk was thrown from the Charles Bridge because he wouldn't reveal the contents of the Queen of Bohemia's confession to the King. Apparently, the night he drowned there were five stars in the sky, which is way he is often depicted with a halo of five stars. This memorial now stands on the spot of the Charles Bridge from where it is believed he was thrown.
The walls of the Pinkas Synagog now list the names of the Czech Jews who were persecuted during World War II. The orange text shows the names of the towns followed by the names of citizens who perished. The red is the family name followed by the first names in black.
The Jewish Cemetery is an incredible space with uneven ground, a conglomeration of tombstones, and endless stories.
Although not the most elaborate stained glass window I've ever seen, I was taken by the simplistic and symbolic lines that cross and overlap to subtly form the Star of David.
The Spanish Synagog, with a moorish interior, was full of fascinating and beautiful details like this fencing.
A balcony in the Spanish Synagog
The skylight dome of the Spanish Synagog
My mom and I couldn't pass up sharing a yummy chimney cake filled with chocolate, strawberries, and cream!
Quite a contrast from the vernacular architecture, Frank Gehry's Dancing House stands out along the riverfront.
The John Lennon Wall is a place in Prague were graffiti is legal. Professional and amateur artists alike enjoy expressing themselves here!
A look across the Charles Bridge from the Lesser Town Tower
A view of Lesser Town and the Prague Castle from the tower at the end of the Charles Bridge

We started our first morning in Prague by crossing the Charles Bridge and going to the Old Town Square, where we caught a walking tour of the city. The tour was extensive and covered parts of the Old Town, New Town, and Jewish Quarter. Our guide gave us a detailed history of the buildings, neighborhoods, city, and the Czech Republic as a whole! After the tour we grabbed a lunch at a Christmas Market and then met for another walking tour of the Castle District. The Prague Castle is the largest ancient Castle in the world. The massive complex was home to kings, emperors, and now the president of the Czech Republic. On our tour we saw the childhood home of Madeleine Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia, and a building where 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe lived. We went inside the castle complex, progressed through a series of large courtyards, and went inside St. Vitus Cathedral. We were also able to walk down the castle’s Golden Lane, which is a series of small houses originally for guards and servants of the castle. Its name comes from the goldsmiths who worked there in the 17th century. Jewish author Franz Kafka once lived in one of the little houses on Golden Lane. After finishing our tour of the Prague Castle, we took a scenic evening walk down the hill, stopped briefly at our hotel, and had a traditional Czech meal with some czech beer! We then walked around the Old Town at night.

The next morning we started early in the Jewish Quarter where we had an audio guided tour that took us through various synagogues and the impressive Old Jewish Cemetery. We started at the Maisel Synagogue, where we learned the story of the Golem of Prague. The legend says Rabbi Loew created the being from clay and when he inserted a paper with the word of life written on it in his mouth, the creature came to life and served the community. One night Rabbi Loew forgot to remove the word of life for the Sabbath and the monster went on a rampage until Rabbi Loew was able to remove the paper from his mouth. He then destroyed the creature. The next stop was the most powerful; the Pinkas Synagogue had the names of Czech Jews who were killed during WWII painted on the walls. It also had an exhibit of pictures Jewish children drew while in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp at the urging of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a Jewish artist also at the camp. The pictures were smuggled out of the camp and depict things like everyday life, what the children feared, life before the war, the camp guards, and the Promised Land. The Old Jewish Cemetery is located right outside the Pinkas Synagogue. It is the largest Jewish Cemetery in Europe and has about 12,000 tombstones leaning, piled, and scattered all over the place. The cemetery holds many more than 12,000 bodies though. When there was no more space in the cemetery, a new layer out dirt was brought in and bodies were stacked upon the previous burial sites, resulting in uneven ground that raises much higher than the surrounding streets. The Klausen Synagogue and Ceremonial Hall provided a nice background to Jewish life in Prague. The Spanish Synagogue was, in my opinion, the most beautiful of them, because its interior is based on Moorish architecture. We then saw an exhibit on the Jewish faith under communism. Our last stop in the Jewish quarter was the Alt-Neu (Old New) Synagogue, Europe’s oldest functioning synagogue. We then had lunch near the Old Town square, bought some family presents, shared a delicious chimney cake, watched the Astronomical Clock’s performance at 3:00, then walked along the river to see Frank Gehry’s Dancing House. Afterward, we crossed the river to Lesser Town and saw the John Lennon wall, where people can legally create graffiti and street art. Then we climbed the Lesser Town Bridge Tower, which was right next to our hotel, and got a spectacular view of the city! We ate dinner in the restaurant connected to our hotel and called it a night in order to pack up and play some cards.

By | 2018-03-13T21:23:34+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Roman Life, Timeline, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

For those of you that inquired, the countdown clock on the homepage represents my remaining time in Italy ... on this trip. (I'm already planning my return journey!)

Leave A Comment