Prague – Day 2

We both LOVE Prague.

Friday was our programmed day in Prague. In some cases, things that we stumbled past last night we had a chance to explore anew. We signed up for two tours, one of the old town center city and the second one of the Lobkowicz Castle.

We started in the Jewish quarter. At its peak Prague was home to over 120,000 Jews. Today that number (at least officially) stands at 1,700. Over 79,000 were killed during WWII. We learned quite a bit about their tumultous history in this city. The WWII days we were pretty familiar with, but it became clear that this didn’t improve under communist rule.

The first image below is of the clock tower from the Jewish Town Hall in Prague, right next to the Old New Synagogue. The upper clock is normal, the lower is numbered in Hebrew, in reverse order and runs counter-clockwise or anti-clockwise as our guide explained it. 

The second image is of stumbling stones. These were placed in front of the residences of Jews who were killed during the war. An example reads: “Here lived Alois Bergman. Born 1899. Murdered 1942 in Terezina.”

From there we went back to the Architectural Clock. At the tenth hour (and every hour) the dance began. The Skeleton rang a bell, the twelve apostles appeared in succession in the windows at the top and the rooster flapped his wings. Quite an interesting sight. The dial shows the phase of the moon, daytime or nighttime, and the day of the year in the lower dial.

As we moved towards the castle we moseyed through a park with some brass statues by David Černý. He also was the leader of the group who painted pink the first soviet tank that rolled into Prague in 1945 “liberating” the Czechs from the Germans. This was prior to the Velvet revolution but was a bit of a harbinger of things to come.

Our next stop was at St. Vitus Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop. Pretty inside and out but showing its age. Construction started in 1344 finished in 1929 (that is not a typo). One image shows the interior and the next the fresco on one of the facades.

We took a nice tour of Lobkowicz Palace which was returned to its owners (the Lobkowicz family in 1991-2) after legislation was passed returning property seized by the government to its owners. The historical artifacts were amazing, especially the music. There were original manuscripts from Beethoven (the 4th and 5th Symphonies) and Mozart (the re-orchestration of Handel’s Messiah). We also had a nice concert which featured works of Hayden, Dvorak, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann. Amazing. It reminded me of the movie Amadeus which was filmed in town.

The final image is a picture from a balcony of the Lobkowicz Palace with Prague and the Charles Bridge in the background.

One Response to “Prague – Day 2”

  1. Chelle says:

    Amazing adventure you’re having. Keep writing and taking photographs. Living vicariously through your journal.

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