Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ November 15, 2017

So while we’ll be at West Pines today, I couldn’t help but wish I was back in Praha, or Prague as most people know it, and my most favorite city in Europe. Some buildings in this beautiful city date from the 800’s and during the Middle Ages, Prague was larger than Paris or London. Central Prague is easy to meander about on foot, cab, tram or bus. Sites from Old Town Square, fabulous gothic churches, the towering Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridge are guaranteed to make you want to spend many days wandering around inhaling as much culture as possible. With many US expats and a large English online newspaper (The Prague Post), it’s easy to see why so many Americans love this city. English is spoken in many shops and restaurants so communicating is very easy. I found only one small apothecary shop where English wasn’t spoken but thankfully between my pathetic German together with goofy impersonation, I was still able to procure some cold/allergy medication. Isn’t it funny how people will go out of their way to help tourists who manage to convey their inability to breathe easily?

One of the most iconic sites is the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock. First built at the beginning of the 15th century, it was rebuilt by a master clockmaker (Hanús) in 1490. Not wishing for him to duplicate his masterpiece elsewhere, the city councillors blinded the poor clockmaker. The mechanism currently in place was perfected by Jan Táborský between 1552 and 1572

Astronomical Clock

From Frankfurt, I took an overnight train and arrived bright and early in the morning. An older wooden train with sleeping compartments, the rocking motion and click-clacking on the tracks were the perfect way to get a restful night of sleep. Arriving at the main station one feels they’ve stepped back in time.

Our comfortable hotel (K+K Hotel Fenix) was not far from the train station near Wenceslas Square and they arranged a lovely bus tour of the city for me and my travel companions.

National Museum

Dominating the Little Quarter Square, the fabulous High Baroque Church of St. Nicholas dates from the 1700’s. Located near the bridge, the beautiful church with its lush interior and frescoed vault, makes it one of Prague’s most important baroque buildings. It took 60 years to complete.

St. Charles Church

No trip to Prague would be complete without visiting the Prague Castle founded in the 9th century with towering St. Vitus Cathedral overlooking the city. The picturesque ‘Golden Lane’ with its colorful little cottages built into the castle walls was constructed in the 16th century.

Prague Castle
The Golden Lane

Folk art can be found everywhere with hand painted eggs, wooden toys and Prague is well-known for its exquisite Bohemian crystal and beautiful garnet jewelry.

 

The most iconic monument in Prague by far is the Charles Bridge. At 1706 feet long, the pedestrian bridge is now a haven for craft and trinket stalls and connects the Old Town with the Little Quarter. Until 1741, it was the only crossing over the Vltava River. Built by Charles IV of sandstone blocks, it was commissioned to replace the Judith Bridge. Approximately halfway, the only decoration for 200 years was a wooden crucifix but subsequent statutes were erected along the bridge and named after many saints.

The iconic Charles Bridge

Located in the Old Town Square, the historic Church of Our Lady before Týn with its twin towers dominates the Jan Hus Monument. Begun in 1364, the church became associated with the reform movement in Bohemia and commemorates the religious reformer and Czech hero, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake by the Council of Constance in 1415. 

Jan Hus Monument with Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Jewish Cemetery is crammed with some 12,000 headstones with occupants stacked up to 12 deep in some places with an estimated 100,000 people buried in the small space. The last burial was in 1787.

Prague is one of the most fascinating cities I’ve ever visited with a rich and sometimes tortured history but one place I strongly recommend. Have you ever been there? What did you love about this cultural treasure?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

65 thoughts on “Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ November 15, 2017

  1. Thanks for the link Monika…I tried to research my Father’s name but there are no records.
    the other DNA site is 23andme.com.
    All wonderful sites & even with holiday discount I still can not afford the testing…..thanks for the help tho’. It IS appreciated!

  2. Sure have Monika…there is nothing! Even Ancestry.com does not have a lot of info on European Jews. With all the migration as Jews were driven out of so many countries the history was burned or lost. And WW1 & WW11 really messed things up!! I DO know that my Father’s Mother my Grandmother Helene was killed the day before Liberation in Leipstag in Poland 1945…
    That was only because the German Government did a massive sweep & search in the 80’s/90’s to collect information. They then invited living German Jews back to the Homeland all expenses paid & revealed where missing relatives are buried.
    We know about his Mother’s family (Kohnstam) right back to 1700’s. We have nothing concrete on his Father’s family (Theilheimer) altho we know the Thalheimer’s lived in Austria from 1392. At some point 1700’s? a group of them left for Germany & arrived in the Valley if Theil & changed the spelling from Thal to Theil….Then at some point the Theilheimer’s all went to live in Hamburg, Germany. I know about WW1 & WW11 & what my Father’s family there went thru’. So I do feel I know a lot about. I’m just curious whether I’m part Polish or Czech. Many people say Polish because of my cheekbones & shape of face…even Ojibway Natives say I have similar cheekbones to their tribe & many Polish people also have similar cheekbones…so it is a bit of a mystery!!!

      1. I REALLY want to but never have enough $$ to do it! It would be the easiest way to find out that missing piece of ancestry.
        My Father’s line (both maternal & Paternal) German/Austrian Jews all the way back to 1392.
        On my Mother’s side I know my Maternal Grandfather’s family were Russian Jews for generations. My maternal Grandmother’s family is the mystery….oh if only I could take that DNA test; it is on my ‘Bucket List’!!!

    1. You can hardly have Polish cheekbones if your family is Jewish. It was forbidden for the Jews to marry Gentiles, and if someone did, she/he was no longer accepted in the Jewish community and therefore no longer a Jew. I believe you said (or was itsomeone else here?) you grandmother was from Lemberg. Lemberg used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but today it is called Lviv and it is situated in Ukraine.

  3. I was there last year…for the first time. Quite enchanted! Only drawback: way too many Asian bride and grooms (beautiful to be sure) on the Charles bridge for wedding photos. It seemed a constant thing during our three days there. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos!

      1. Would you believe there was photo staging for these couples starting at 5:30 a.m.? Yep. We got up before the chickens….before the moon disappeared from the night-morning even. BEFORE COFFEE even! Not complaining really–just felt so thankful to even be able to experience Prague…. however….it was a bit of a distraction to the bridge experience. Happy Friday Night to ya!

      2. W.O.W. that’s wild!! It is a beautiful site though and it makes sense there’s a line queuing up early. I can imagine why so many people want to commerate their wedding since it’s one of the most picturesque places there, somewhat like St. Marks Plaza in Venice.

  4. What a gorgeous & historical place Monika! Thank you for the ‘virtual tour’….such lovely buildings. And I had NO idea there were that many people buried in the Jewish Cemetary…..I wonder if some of my relatives (on my Maternal side) are buried there? My Bubba (Great GrandMother) was either Czech or Polish….it is all a mystery as the borders kept changing way back then. I know the name of the town she was born in but I don’t know how to spell it….It was called Pyshemashawl….. (phonetic spelling). I wish I knew about that part of my heritage!!!
    (((hugs))) Sherri-Ellen

    1. Thanks. Prague is truly my favorite European city. The last burial was in 1786 but it’s certainly possible some of your relatives were interned there. The headstones are so crowded together but, like you, had no idea of they were stacked on top of one another and so numerous. The photo just didn’t do it justice.

      1. I wish I’d asked more questions when Nanna was alive! My Nanna was conceived either in Czech Republic or Poland & born in Lemburg, Austria. She lived there til she was 3 yrs old. Went to Manchester UK from ages 3-16 yrs.Then came to Canada in 1923/24. Met her husband Harry who was Russian emigrant. He brought his parents Yossel & Bashie over & they lived out their lives here. My Nanna’s parents; my GreatGrandparents Sarah & Jacob lived the rest of their lives here & are buried in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The problem with doing research is that being of eastern European Jewish ancestry a lot of info/documents/keepsakes never reached Canada…history was lost…..**sighs**

  5. My humans have never been to “Prague,” but I showed Mom your photos & got her wanting to pack her suitcase right now! She loves to look at old buildings. Tee hee hee.

  6. Loved seeing your pics. Prague is a city I’ve long wanted to visit.

    You should watch movies carefully that are set in pre World War Paris. Many of them are shot in Prague because it retained so many historic buildings. You might spy one of your favorite places.

  7. Yet another place I wish I had visited before leaving Europe…

    Did they mention the defenestrations of Prague when you took the tour? Seems to have been a favourite way of dealing with unpopular politicians…

  8. I love it too… and I specially love the golden lane… prague it is like a time machine back to medieval … I visited hradcany castle with my classmates once… we were impressed to see the chamber of tortures and some obstinate brats tested the pilliwinks… I was runner up ;o))) … and I learnt that the medical care in Prague is not bad ;o)))

  9. Wow. Blind the clockmaker…burn people at the stake…create beautiful buildings and cozy lanes. Always such a contrast. Similar things still go on today, even here in the so called civilized USA.

      1. Yet, as recently as when the emancipation act was passed in the US, families came out with picnic baskets to watch black men and women being lynched and others burned to death.

  10. Just when I think I’d like to live in the time of castles i am reminded of some of the realities of the times like being burned at the stake.

  11. Don’t blind the clockmaker! Blind the idiot who came up with Daylight Savings Time. He’s the one who deserves it….

    And remember this, my friends….. if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it.

  12. OK, you’ve convinced me. I’m not going there. They burn heros at the stake and blind a craftsman that did well for them. I wonder what they’d do to a jaywalker.

  13. Prag! That’s another city in Europe that’s still on our bucket list. Thanks for taking me there – mentally. 🙂
    Enjoy the day,
    Pit

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