A Word A Week Challenge – Zoom

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Golden spires, petrified gamin and art nouveau roses

I have already written about my new ZOOM lenses in the Travel Theme: New. And I already wrote about the necessity to look up in Prague for another Travel theme: Up. For ZOOM challenge I will combine both and I will show you more pictures of Prague taken with my ZOOM. When you are in Prague, I will show you all these and even more with stories, that are behind them :-).
The last shot gallery is very special to me, these are the details from the Hotel Central. About 15 year ago the hotel was in a very bad shape, empty, with just a dirty tabacco and newspaper tobacconist’s at the ground floor. Being rich I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the building and reconstruct it. And few years later someone (not me) did it and now there is a beautiful Art nouveau hotel, in the oldest Art nouveau building in Prague (second built, unfortunatelly the first built was demolished long time ago).

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Heads on Municipal house and Old Town Tower Bridge detail

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Hotel Central

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

For Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward I chose another bridge, a very special and unique one. It is Øresund Bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark over the sea. But it is not usual bridge, as on the Denmark side there is an airport and having a bridge so close to it would have been risky. Another posibility was building a tunnel under the water, but it would have been very expensive. Therefore it was decided to build partially bridge and partially tunnel. Travelling over the bridge from Sweden is like you are going nowhere, as the bridge ends in the water. Getting closer you find you are going to “dive” under the sea. Quite interesting experience :-).

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The bidge ends in the sea

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See the airplane right above the horizon

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“Diving” to the water

Travel theme: Bridges

In the half of this post you will find a quiz question and in case you send me the right answer, you can win a nice prize for it :-).

For travel theme Bridges I chose the oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic. You already saw our second oldest bridge, which is in Prague, on my shots here.  Today’s bridge is even older, for about 100 years, and you can find it in South Bohemian town Písek about 110 km from Prague. It is called Stag’s bridge, as medievel municipality decided it will take name after the first “person” who would cross the bridge. But it was not a person but a brave big stag and therefore it’s named Stag’s bridge.

The bridge is long 110 m and wide 6 m, it has 7 arches and it is decorated with statues, the most traditional ones are St. John of Nepomuk and the Christ on the Cross. The bridge is the second oldest in middle Europe and the 8th oldest in the world.

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Písek bridge and the view from it

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Traditional bridge statues: St. John of Nepomuk and Cross with Christ

The second bridge is even older then the Stag’s bridge in Písek, it’s the oldest one in middle Europe. If you know the name of the town, where you can find this bridge, send me the answer to the email you find here till the Thursday (Feb 28) evening. From correct answers I will allot a winner, who will be asked to send me his or her address and will receive a nice gift from Prague.

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Map of the medievel town with the old stone bridge

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Bridge tower – entrance to the bridge

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Old stone bridge

Prague Towers (7) – Astronomical Tower Klementinum

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Klementinum astronomical tower from the yard

Not far from our previous tower (Old Town Tower Bridge) you find a large complex called Klementinum. Klementinum, built on area of 2 hectares, is one of the largest building complexes in Europe. It was built like a jesuit college in 1653-1726 and now it is the seat of Natinal Library. A dominant feature of Klementinum is Astronomical Tower, earlier known as Mathematical Tower. The tower was built in 1722, but due to problems it had to be rebuilt, which lasted another 28 years.

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Organs in Mirror Chapel, astronomical equipment at the tower and the tower balcony

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Atlas at the top of the tower

In the courtyard of Klementinum there is standing a monument in honor of Josef Stepling (1716-1778), mathematician, physician and astronomer. He had an imperishable merit for the tower reconstruction and in particular for equipping it with astronomial instruments. In 1891-1911 so called Prague midday used to be signalled by cannonade. With help of the unique crexicular solar clock and the time-measuring instruments the man in tower found the actual time and then he walked onto the gallery at 12 o’clock and sent a signal with flag. The cannoneers, prepared on Mariánské walls, fired out.

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View to the Old Town Square direction with Prague New Townhall

The tower is 68 meters high and on the top of it stands the statue of Atlas bearing the Earth, with a symbol of God’s eye.

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Prague Castle and Petřín Hill views

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Views to all directions

To visit the tower you have to buy the ticket for all Baroque interiors of Klementinum, but it is worth seeing. The other attractions are beautiful Mirror Chapel with an in-wrought interior with unique built in mirrors that can not be seen anywhere else and the Baroque Library hall with splendid fresco paintings on the ceiling and a few historically rare big globes.

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South east view, clam-Gallas palace middle left

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Klementinum courtyard and the stairs at the tower

Our next tower is in the middle of the shot – the tower of the Old Town Townhall:

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Roofs of the Old Town

The whole series to be found here

1 Introduction
2 Bell Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral
3 Petřín Watchtower
4 St. Nicholas Bellfry
5 Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower
6 Old Town’s Bridge Tower
7 Astronomical Klementinum Tower
8 Tower of the Old Town Townhall
9 Powder Tower

LOGO_PragueTowersS_KOI

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red and White

When I bought my first digital camera it was the year of Cow Parade in Prague (2004). Therefore I spent weekends at the city collecting shots of all cows, and after few weekends I fulfill my task. Only two cows that were destroyed before I was able to make their pictures are missing in my collection. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge I chose the right coloured ones.

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Flower cow

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Red and white collection

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Cheese cow

A Word A Week Challenge – Industrial

I love industrial architecture and objects. In the Czech Republic we have lots of breweries and I like to make beer tours to see and taste. Therefore for A Word A Week Challenge – Industrial I will take you to some of the breweries, but without the tasting, sorry :-). The first brewery is the biggest and also the most famous brewery in Pilsen, the city which gave name to the Pilsner type beer. Beer is brewed here from 1842 and it is really the number one.

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Pilsen – Pilsner Urquell brewery

The second one is a medievel brewery. It is located in the beautiful city of Český Krumlov and the beer produced there is called Eggenberg. But my husband (beer-taste expert) says the beer is not that good. But I love the location and the brewery itself :-).

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Český Krumlov – Eggenberg beer brewery

On the other hand Regent is my husband’s most favorite beer and he tried hard to find a place in Prague where they sell it. After non-succesfull visits to shops and supermarkets he found a small dirty hashery a few steps from our home where he can buy it. I can say the beer is very tasty and even more, the brewery itself is beautiful. It is located in small South Bohemina city Třeboň, which worths visiting for beer and also for carp specialities.

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Třeboň – Regent beer brewery

Platan is a brewery in another small South Bohemian town Protivín, where you can also find a crocodile farm. The brewery is located in beautiful plane-tree alley and it is named after it: platan in Czech = plane-tree in English. We have a beautiful memory for very interesting excursion to the brewery, which ended up (as usually the brewery tours do) with a tasting. By coincidence our guide was not only a guide, he spent his whole life working for the brewery and he was very enthusiastic about the place and also about the beer. It made the tour even more interesting. Finally our tasting was much longer than the tour, the next group started 30 minutes after us and they were done quicker than we were. On the other hand they were able to stand on their feets after their tour, which cannot be said about us 🙂 (shots made after the tour are under the ban).

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Protivín – Platan beer brewery

Travel theme: Mountains

I am not that much a “mountain woman”, but I have some nice shots from the Alps in Italy and I will share them with you for the Travel theme: Mountains. In case I would ski, I would definitelly go to this place for skiing and not just for enjoying the sun and sceneries at the mountains. But enjoying is also a big fun :-).

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Corvara Boe

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Porta Vescovo Arabba

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

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Karel Hynek Mácha at Petřín Gardens

For Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss I chose one Czech tradition. I already wrote about it in My 2012 In Pictures, but as we say “Repetition is the mother of wisdom” :-):

“It’s first of May the day of love”, that’s the beginning of poem May by Karel Hynek Mácha, a Czech romantic writer. His statue stands in the big public park Petřín and every first of May couples are coming to kiss under blossoming tree here and greet Mácha. The English translation of the whole poem you can read at this link. Warning: it doesn’t have a happy ending!

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Kiss

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Tradition – kissing in front of Mácha, but when you are not close, kiss under any tree in bloom also serves well

Prague Towers (6) – Old Town Bridge Tower

View to the Old Town Prague roofs, read more at praguebykaty.wordpress.com

Old Town Bridge Tower from the Charles bridge

Old Town bridge tower was built at the same time as the Charles bridge (second half of 14th century) by the work-shop of Petr Parléř, the most important builder in gothic Prague. About hundred masons worked on it during its building. Recontructions were done in 17th and 19 centuries, also changes were done in 50s an 70s of the 20th century.

From 1621-1631 the tower served also as a display for 12 heads of leaders of estate revolt, who were executed at the Old Town Square. One night they were taken down and burried at the unknown place. The tower was sorely spoiled at the end of 30 years war in 1648 by Swedish Army, all the decoration from western side (from the bridge) are gone. There used to be statues of Madonna, Charles IV and his wife. Two oracular writings were found during one of the recontructions, they are in latin and readable in the same way from back as from the beginning: “Signate, signate, mere me tangis et angis” and “Roma, tibi subito motibus ibit amor” (palindromes). They have no easy meaning (and therefore I am not able to translate them to English), but the magic formulae of power and might is hidden in them. They are spells to protect the tower.

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King fisher in knotted-towel, sign of spa-guild, symbol of Wenceslas IV (son of Charles IV), also symbol of pure soul, can protect from lightning, multiples treasuries and calms the storm

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Look up when standing under tower, king’s crown and more king-fishers

The ground part of the tower – up to the size of “the man on the horse” – belongs to the carnal life.

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The entrance to the tower and Prague castle view

The next belt belongs to moon, above the gate there are coats of arms of the lands under Charles IV rule. The most important ones are in the middle, a black eagle in the gold field (roman emperor) and a silver double-tailed lion in red field (Czech king).

Right above is the next belt – the sun one. St. Vitus, patron of the bridge, is in the middle and by his sides are Charles IV and Wenceslas IV, arched over with triangle decorated by 24 crabs, symbols of 24 hours. Both rulers are coronated with emperor’s crown. Above them are St. Vojtěch and St. Zikmund. The statues were made in 1380-1400, but now you can find here sandstone copies from 2006.

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Tower interior ceilings, scultpure at the tower as viewed from Křižovnické náměstí

You have to climb 138 stairs to reach the view platform. The height of the tower is 154 ft (47 m) above bridge level and 187 ft (57 m) above Vltava river level.

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Views to the bridge and Prague Castle from the tower

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River view

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Direction Old Town

The roof of the tower was originally covered by polished gold, the gold covered also the cloaks of the statues. It nicely corresponded with the St. Vitus cathedral at Prague Castle, whose roof was covered with gold as well. The roof is made of shale now. The symbolic and spectacular decorations served to show the triumph of Luxembourg family, and they also had cosmologic and astronomical importancy at the date of tower origin.

There is one special Mystery of solstice. Every year at the solstice at the noon the shadow of the lion covers the coat of arms with the eagle. It happens only this one day of the year.
And when you stand at the former saint Vitus day at the bottom of the tower and you look at the sunset above Prague castle, the Sun shows you exactly the place where the remains of St. Vitus are buried in St. Vitus cathedral.

The next tower is Astronomical Tower of Klementinum, here as seen from the Old Town Bridge Tower.

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Astronomical Tower of Klementinum is the second one from left with statue of Atlas holding the globe on the top

The whole series to be found here

1 Introduction
2 Bell Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral
3 Petřín Watchtower
4 St. Nicholas Bellfry
5 Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower
6 Old Town’s Bridge Tower
7 Astronomical Klementinum Tower
8 Tower of the Old Town Townhall
9 Powder Tower

LOGO_PragueTowersS_KOI

Weekly Image Of Life: Event

Geocaching map

Geocaching map, click for bigger

For Weekly Image Of Life: Event I will take you geocaching. Who haven’t heard about geocaching yet, to be very simple, it is looking for boxes (from the very small tiny ones to big big ones) in the country or in the city using your GPS device. There are several types of caches, some of them are more virtual than real boxes. And we will talk about one of these, namely about Events.

Taken from geocaching.com: An Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations to discuss geocaching. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. After the event, the cache is archived.

Cachers community in Prague and in Czech Republic is quite big and events are great opportunities to meet people and share fun. Look at the following maps. The first one is a single map of Prague, the second one is a map with geocaches on it (the smilies are my finds), the third one is just a filter for event caches. Quite a lot for our city :-).

To read more about geocaching and fun with “hunting” the caches look at these posts:
caching heaven
transventure
traveltails
kayak rogue
Geocaching and Exploring Off the Beaten Path

A lot of events last year happened in February 29, as 2012 was a LEAP year, only once in four years you can do geocaching on Feb 29, therefore it was full of events. We already started at the first minutes of the day at the Old Town square.

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Crowds at the midnight in Prague Old Town

I will skip some other events that day (like meeting at the altitude of 366 meters above see level, meeting at the end stop of the bus number 366, meeting at the coords ending 366,366) and will show you shots from event: Travelling by bus number 292 (29.2. = Feb 29). The bus normally is almost empty, just a few people, and that day? Why was everyone taking the picture of the bus?

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Just a few cachers in the bus, as it is small, others waiting at the final stop

Old Town square again, St. Patrick’s day and bunch of lunatics all dressed and colored in green :-).

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St. Patrick’s event in Prague Old Town

I would love to know how many people know what to celebrate on May 25, but I believe all readers of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would know we celebrate the Towel day. Everyone must have his towel.

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Towel day at the stairs of Rudolfinum

One morning geocachers decided to find out if there would be enough tomfools coming very early in the morning to the Charles bridge to make a living chain over it. The lenght of the bridge is about 1969 ft (600 m). Yes, we did it, view from above and also video you can check here.

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“Building” the chain

After participating in the other owners events we connected our travelling with meeting people in our holidays destinations, very nice way how to meet local people and share your hobby with them.

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Event at Jurmala beach (Latvia), at the Tallinn old town (Estonia) and in republic Užupis (Lithuania)

And after this success we organized Czech Christmas at Slussen in Stockholm (Sweden), also with Swedish Christmas Carol.

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Event at Slussen

One of the nicest events in Prague happens every year before Christmas and more then 800 people are attending this MEGA event – Christmas Nutshells – Czech traditionally sending nutshells with candle on the water.

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Bellow the Charles bridge, Čertovka channel with nutshell boats with candles

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