Prague is a beautiful city and an absolute pleasure to visit. In eastern Europe, the impact of the history and especially government history continues to influence the appearance of the city and the personality of the people. The atmosphere and environment here was more colorful and positive than other former-Communist cities we visited later.
One reason is Prague escaped bombing during the World Wars, preserving the gorgeous Art Deco architecture. The attitudes were different too, much more positive to me. Perhaps because of the sense of the Czech history of standing up to institutions for what they believe in.
First was Jan Hus, depicted above, a preacher and professor, who stood up to the Vatican a century before Martin Luther. He was burned for heresy in 1415 and became a national and religious hero. According to Rick Steves, “The way he challenged authority while staying true to his beliefs has long inspired and rallied the Czech people.”
The people of Prague followed this example in the 1968 Prague Spring, which loosened the yoke of Communism, and the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which ended 41 years of communist rule nonviolently (in contrast to the defenstrations of the past).
View of the city from Prague Castle with the Charles Bridge over the Vltava River is in the center as well a few of the steeples that give Prague it’s nickname, the City of a Thousand Spires.
Downtown Prague was almost ovewhelmingly packed with tourists and some of the touches that help Americans feel at home, including multiple T.G.I.Fridays.
The famed Astronomical Clock. During the Communist era, Czech people had to refer to Moscow time rather than their local time.
View towards the Castle during the Golden Hour.
One of Prague’s most famous sons is Alphonse Mucha. It was a pleasure to visit his museum as well as see his work in situ at St. Vitus Cathedral. His work is beautiful, bright, and full of hidden meaning.
In the center are a kneeling boy and a prophesying elder-that’s young St. Wenceslas (the patron saint of Bohemia) and his grandmother, St. Ludmila. In addition to ebing historical figures, these characters are also symbolic. The old woman, with closed eyes, stands for the past and memory; the young boy, with a penetrating stare, represents the hope and future of a nation. -Rick Steves
The square next to our neighborhood Metro stop with the Žižkov Television Tower in the distance. In addition to the beautiful old buildings, there are numerous communist structures as well. The church is unlike any other I have seen. In addition to serving as transportation, the ultra deep subway stations are designed to serve as bomb shelters.
I noticed clocks everywhere in Prague and other formerly communist cities.
The tower was built in the 1980s to broadcast Czech TV as well as jam Western signals. Today, it is home to a restaurant and crawling babies by David Černý, who has other amusing statues around the city and world.
Another city with excellent public transportation, the historical streetcars were a reminder of Toronto.
This is a shot of the crowded Jewish cemetery. A lack of space and burial rules resulted with 12,000 visible tombstones in 12 layers, with the oldest dating back to 1439.
The intimate Jewish Quarter is one of the must see sights in the city, evoking a sense of the close-knit community. Historically, Prague’s population consisted of an almost equal mix of Czech, German, and Jewish people. But only 5% of the Jewish population survived the Holocaust.
This is a shot from the ornate Spanish Synagogue, which was vastly different than the modest and older temples. It definitely evoked some of the grandiosity of Spanish cathedrals.
Lots of Communist-era cars to be documented!
And another tiny Fiat!