Wednesday, October 19, 2016

174. Prague - a City in Review ...

After three weeks in Prague - during which time I must have walked a million paces / climbed a million steps / opened at least a million doors and dodged twice that number of tour groups - and now it is time to pack my bags and start thinking about moving on ...

Before I do though, here are a few last impressions of this beautiful city ...

 My Airbnb apartment - upstairs - out in the leafy suburbs - 
and away from the chaos of the city centre ...

 5 minute walk to the station, then 15 minutes into the centre

 The old town - not a high-rise in sight - except for church steeples
 
  Old Town Square - meeting place for the hordes and the touts ...

 ... and this is a city of remarkable architectural contrasts
from the Art Nouveau  beauty of Municipal House ...

... to the quirky fun of The Dancing House 
by architects Vlado Milunic and  Frank Gehry ...

... and everything in between ... 

 The 600 year old Astronomical Clock

 ... more Art Nouveau ...
reaching out far into the suburbs


  


 
The Powder Tower - old Gothic city gate ...
plus a couple of transport modes popular with the tourists ...
 
  ... and a more recent method of getting about - the annoying Segways ...

 ... lots of markets selling everything necessary - and unnecessary ...

 Huge weekend river-side markets ...

... including a flea market aboard old rusty paddle steamer ...
 
... and my local suburban supermarket ...
 
  Czech Yacht Club ...

A very special seek-out was the Strahov Library ...

 The library is attached to the Strahov Monastery - 
a Premonstratensiam ( RC religious order ) abbey founded in 1143
and continuing to this day as a functioning monastery ...

 Tourists are not allowed to wander through the great halls, 
but rather we stand at a roped-off doorway to ogle and click our cameras ...

 The Theological Hall with decorations from the 1700s

 The Philosophical Hall

 The church and library have survived wars and plunderings over the centuries, 
but the abbots have always repaired the buildings 
and renewed the vast collection of books.

 Another hall houses all manner of things from sacred relics
of past saints to gifts given to the monastery from visiting royalty ...

  The bascilica attached to the monastery 
is a cloister church for the abbots alone ...

  ... we can only gaze in through glass and bars 
at the beauty inside ...

Prague also boasts hundreds of public sculptures ...

 Statue of Franz Kafka - 2003
by Jaroslav Rona 

  another more recent sculpture of Franz Kafka
by David Cerny
... refer back to a previous post on Facebook
 to see this amazing work in action ...

 The Memorial to the Victims of Communism
" ...dedicated to all victims, not only those who were jailed or executed,
but also those whose lives were ruined by the totalitarian despotism ... "
by Olbram Zoubek

 untitled ...
 
 Woman in the sun - by Eva Kmentova - 1928

... and lots of historical / patriotic memorials ...
- these blokes holding up the steeple - 

   A bit of Steam Punk
 
 Prague castle - queue lining up to get in to see very little 
except St Vitus Cathedral ..

... more of those Segways - this lot were a group
of British pensioners - very daring ... 

 The John Lennon Peace Wall - 
complete with local busker singing Lennon McCartney songs ...

 
 - and the swans feeling the chill in the air and thinking maybe 
time to head off somewhere warmer for the winter months ...

and so as the trees along the river 
start to turn golden and drop their leaves ... 

 ... I take one last tram ride past the National Theatre ...
... head home to clean the flat and pack my bags ...

... then it's into the city to board the RailJet rj75 ...
and zoom off to my next destination ...