Monday, October 10, 2016

166. Next destination - magical Prague ...

Leaving Edinburgh on a cloudy wet morning it was but a short flight east to the Czech Republic, where I am making my home in magical Prague for three weeks.

Founded during the Romanesque, and flourishing by the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia, and the principal residence of several Holy Roman Emperors. The city played an important role in the Protestant Reformation, the thirty years war, and as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and post-communist era, and today, with a population of 2 million is a thriving business and commerce centre - and a major tourist destination ...

Prague has had a turbulent history - most recently being during the Second World War when Hitler's occupying army entered Prague ( 1939 ) and proclaimed Bohemia a German Protectorate - during this occupation most Jews in the city were deported and/or killed.

Towards the end of the war the city suffered heavy bombing by the US Army Air Force, and was finally liberated by the Red Army in 1945. Prague remained under Soviet Union control until 1989 when the peaceful "velvet revolution" turned the population against communism and in 1993 after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital of the new Czech Republic.
 
Winding its way through the centre of Prague is the Vltava River coverings 18kms within the city and is crossed by 18 bridges.
 



























The most famous of these bridges is the Charles Bridge - named after King Charles IV - constructed in the mid to late 14th century - and until 1841 was the only means of crossing the Vltava from the old city to the Prague Castle.

And on a sunny but cold Autumn afternoon, this intrepid tourist joined hundreds of others from the four corners of the globe to cross the Bridge and climb the hundreds of narrow steps to the top of the Tower for a better view.
 
 


 The river boats all day and into the night ferrying tourists up down and under ...
 
 


Church of Saint Salvator

The Bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues - most of them of Baroque style - originally erected around 1700, but now all replaced by replicas.

Two more towers on the Lesser Quarter side protect the bridge - but unfortunately nothing can protect it from the hordes of eager tourists that shuffle to and fro each day ...

Prague is bursting at the seems with lots for this wanderer to see and do and eat and drink - but first stop is a contemporary art gallery ... hope you'll join me next blog ...