Winter Walks (2) – Vysehrad

Vyšehrad (“higher castle”) is so connected with Czech history and the oldest legends from father Czech coming to Bohemia and settling here to be the place of the last resting place (as we call the cemetery) of famous Czech people. Vyšehrad is located a little bit far from the main touristic attractions, that can be the reason why it is so much loved by Czech people, visiting the place in every season, during day and night and enjoying its quiet space. Visiting beer garden (in summer), jogging, walking dogs or kids.

I visit this place often and in this cold but sunny day I decided to visit it with my camera. But I haven’t made the most popular pictures, just some views from Vyšehrad, and then I oriented more at the cemetery and church.

Vyšehrad is now a fortress, surrounded by walls and couple of entrance gates. The main entrance (Tabor’s gate) is followed by Špička (Top) gate, you will find just part of it, as the original gothic gate is gone now, and what remained is occupied by information center with model of Vyšehrad area. And finally there is the baroque Leopold’s gate to enter the area.

Tennis courts under the bastions and Leopold’s gate

Just behind the gate you will find one of the oldest buildings in Prague, the rotund of St. Martin, three of the remaining rotunds in Prague area.

St Martin’s rotund

I never miss going to the view to the South of Prague, where Podolí quarter is. Silver river is beautiful and unlike the Central area of Prague (around Charles Bridge), the river is quite narrow and deep here. If you have a chance to listen the music composition My Country by Bedrich Smetana, listen (at least) to the part which is called Vltava, and when you hear the royal fanfare, it means the river enters Prague under Vyšehrad rock.

River coming to Prague from the South

The I walked around Vyšehrad on the rampart with more views and finally there is the view to the Prague Castle.

The rampart walk with the church at the back

One more river with sport island and little port

Prague Castle and the whole city center in one view

St Peter and Paul’s basilica is wonderful piece of architecture, completely rebuild in puristic Gothic style by Josef Mocker at the end of 19 century. Surprisingly the interior is very colorful and decorated in art nouveau style.

Gallery (click on the picture to enlarge it)

After visiting the church I found myself wandering through the cemetery of famous Czech people, finding the names and tombs which I skip the other times, so lot of them were “new” for me as well. I love the cemetery as there you can learn a lot about our history, about our traditions, about our clever people, inventors, musicians, and others. And it is not only about people who are buried there, but also the tombstones itself are art pieces by popular artists, showing who lies underneath.

Gallery – click on the picture to see the full size

From Vyšehrad I descended to the river to make a picture of the less photographed cubist house and the to Náplavka next to the river, which was empty today but for weekend it changes to be the favorite farmers market place.

Gallery – click on the picture to see the full size

Josef Chochol cubist house under Vyšehrad

Náplavka on Vltava river

Náplavka with sauna on the river

Stairs up to the street

Another post about Vysehrad you can find here.

Other Winter Walks you can find on these links:
1. Letná
2. Vyšehrad
3. Vršovice (1)
4. Vršovice (2)
5. Kampa

The series about Night Walks can be found here:
1. Prague Castle

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Last weekend I have visited Kutná Hora and there I had found a nice sign that I want to share with you for The Sign Says Weekly Photo Challenge. More about Kutná Hora you can find on this link.

The sign I found in the souvenir shop simply said:

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The sign says: 2 + 1 free

A bit strange and scary to find it at the souvenir shop at the bone chapel, which inside looks like this:

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Bone chapel

And all the decorations in the chapel are done from the same “material”, the real human bones and human skulls.

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Decorations

Therefore it is really strange to find this special offer:

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The sign says: 2 + 1 free

Fortunatelly the small sign next to the first one says:

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This sign explains what’s on sale – certificate

Still I would feel a bit strange to buy three skulls, despite the fact that one would be for free :-).

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bridges

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bridges I want to show you two “bridges” in Prague. The first one is on the river, very close to the Charles bridge.

Novotného lávka (Novotny’s Gangoard)

This place is not called bridge (“most” in Czech), but gangoard (“lávka” in Czech). Maybe you have heard about it, because there is the famouse music club Lávka, the biggest club in middle Europe. Also you will find there a museum of well known Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, who made beautiful music poem My Country, where one of the pieces is called “Vltava river”.

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View from the gangoard to Vltava river and Smetana’s Embankment

You can go there to rest, to make shots with the most famouse view to Prague with Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, to eat in the restaurant, to visit the museum, to the club for dance or performance. You can go there to enjoy.

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Smetana statue and the gangoard

You can watch the river flow and to observe all the boats on the river, or think out what kind of art is the row of yellow penguins on the other side of the river by the Kampa Museum, specially at the evening, when they are enlightened.

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Take a seat

Můstek (Little Bridge)

The second bridge is in the middle of the city. At the border between The Old Town and the New Town, where used to be ramparts and the moat. Bottom of the Wenceslas Square is still called Little Bridge and you can find underground station there called the same (Můstek).

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Můstek, the bottom of the Wenceslas Square

The place is used as a meeting place, the second most used by locals, after the one on the top of the Wenceslas Square called “under the tail”.

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Up and bellow

The old bridge is from the first half of the 15th century, when it was built over the half covered moat between the Old and New Towns. The bridge was set aside around 1463, and there used to be a cellar under the bridge. When the underground was built, bridge was uncovered and you can see it when you go to the subway.

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The old bridge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks Indoors or Outdoors

Let me show you few shots from brilliant place in Moravia – Kroměříž Gardens. I chose them for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks Indoors or Outdoors and I hope you will like them and maybe you will visit the place as well :-).

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Balcony above the garden, renaissance passage is bellow.

The first shot is from the view balcony over the gardens.

This gallery are the paths in the garden, passage under the balcony, walks in between flowerbeds.

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Walks in the garden

Weekly Image Of Life: Easter Time

Today I have some shots connected with Easter in Czech Republic and Prague for Weekly Image Of Life: Easter Time.

Despite the fact that Czech Republic is very secular country, also here we have Easter services, this one from St. Salvator Church at Klementinum complex.

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Easter Ceremony at St. Salvator Church, Klementinum

Mostly the feast is the great opportunity to decorate city squares and have Easter markets, as this one at the Old Town square.

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Old Town Square – Easter Market

“Kraslice” are the real egg shales. The name comes from the Czech word “krásný” = beautiful and “krásný” comes from Slavonic/Russian word “krasnij” = red. Look at the next gallery and you won’t be surprised, that kraslice are mostly red. There are many decoration styles, every village has its own style and method and ornament shapes, which are used for centuries.

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“Kraslice” – Easter Eggs

Important for Easter Monday, “pomlázka”. Pomlázka is a stick made from willow canes and the word comes from: “mladý” = young, “omladit/pomladit” = make younger. Therefore, on the Easter Monday mornings boys are visiting girls and they make them younger with their “pomlázka’s” and girls are giving back the eggs and ribbons. Look at it from other perspective here.

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Pomlázka

About Czech Christmas gingerbread tradition you can read here, and for Easter we have special gingerbread shapes as well :-).

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Easter Gingerbreads

Eggs are all around us, also like a colorful candles.

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Eggs od candles?

And easter time is also important, as the spring is coming to Czech Republic and flowers start to bloom and smell, it is beautiful!

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Spring is coming

A Word A Week Challenge – Music

Czech People were always famous musicians, not only the world know composers Dvořák, Janáček or Smetana, but music was perfomed at every home. Unfortunatelly this is not true anymore. But we have beautiful Music Museum in Prague at the Little Quarter, which is worth to visit.

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Main hall of Music Museum in Prague, also used as a concert hall

Piano machine from the Music Machine Exhibition this year.

Instrument permanent exhibition.

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Instrument details, how many of them you know?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Textures

I chose a bit different textures for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Textures.

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Glass semi products

Glass textures from the bead company in Pěnčín in the mountains in North Bohemia. Nice trip there, beautiful country, goat farm, glass beads … what else have to be told about this beautiful place?

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Beads dregs and semi products

Prague Towers (9) – Powder Tower

Powder Tower – in Czech we call it Prašná brána (= Powder Gate) – stands at the entrance to the Prague Old Town, next to the famouse Art Nouveau Municipal house.

Powder tower Prague

Powder Tower viewed from the New Town, from the Old Town and the statue of its architect Matěj Rejsek

There also starts so called Royal Road because King’s corronation parade started here. Formerly, the Royal Palace was at the place where you find Municipal House in 14-15 centuries. King preferred to live in the city center more than in the Prague Castle. Therefore, the Old Town Municipality decided to build here a new tower in 1475 to show the safety of the Old Town and to have an opposite to the imposing Old Town Bridge Tower on the other side of the town. They named the tower New, its bases were 30 ft (9 m) bellow the current level of the ground and it was 138 ft (42 m) high. The architect was Matyáš Rejsek, now you can see his status looking at the tower from the corner of Municipal House. Unfortunatelly for the tower, due to the riots on the streets king Vladislaus II Jagiellon found out that it would be much safer to live in Prague Castle and he left the Royal Palace. As a result you can find beautiful Jagiellonian Hall at Prague Castle. The architect left as well, Matyáš Rejsek went to Kutná Hora and he built there a beautiful gothic cathedral of St. Barbora.

Powder Tower in Prague

Interiers, stairs and stained glass windows, specially impressive when sun shines

Thus, the tower at the Old Town was not finished and it was used as the warehouse of the gun powder and got its current name Powder Gate. In 18th century it was badly destroyed by prussian army and lost its beautiful decorations. Today’s appearance it received in 1878-1886 in pseudogothic puristic recontruction done by Josef Mocker (as St. Vitus Cathedral, Karlštejn and a lot of other gothic buildings in Prague and its surrounding). Old Town Tower bridge was again used as the source for the decoration style and the tower received new “boaster” tower so typical for Mocker’s reconstruction.

Power tower Prague

Views from the tower, direction Prague Castle, roofs of Celetna street, Golden Eagle roof with pigeons, roofs of Municipal house

Tower is 213 ft (65 m) high, the view platform is in 144 ft (44 m) and you have to climb 186 stairs to reach it. In fact I consider this tower to be the most “difficult” for climbing, specially due to the narrow stairway at the bottom of it. The lowest part is the worst, when you climb up, it gets better and safer.

Municipal House in Prague

Details on the roof of Municipal house

Prague

Personal note: windows of my first office at the second floor at the top shot, bottom shot street leads to the place where I live

Our next tower is St- Henry’s Tower, highest standalone belltower in Prague, as seen from the Powder Tower:

Jindřišská věž

St. Henry tower dwarfs the roofs of Czech National Bank, out next topic for Prague Towers

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

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Prague Towers (8) – Old Town Townhall Tower

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Tower from the Old Town Square

Today we are back at the tower, about which I already wrote here, this tower is one of the most important ones and the view from its top is incredible. The tower was built in 14th century in gothic style, with a beautiful chapel and an astronomical clock, done by Mikuláš from Kadaň and later reworked by Mr. Hanuš. If you are an astronom, you can enjoy all the “measurements” that astronomical clock (“orloj” in Czech) offers.
In this post I want to show you the tower from the bottom to the top, so let’s start under the tower, where you can find a unique sewage system. There is sewage nodal point 7 metres bellow the ground, where 3 lines join into one. Unfortunatelly, this underground is opened only on special days, but when you buy the ticket for the tower, the entrance is exactly there, behind pannels.

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Old sewage system

On the left side from the Astronomical clock there is a beautiful gothic portal and the hall behind it is decorated with colorful mosaics showing the glory of Prague. That’s the hall which is most often used as the exit from the tower and town hall complex.

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Mosaics

The entrance to the tower is from the tourist information center, red building on the right side from the astronomical clock, whilst the ticket office is in the small door on the right side from the clock. You follow the arrows, then you can take a first lift, going up just 2 floors and then you go to the tower, inside of which is another lift (check my post here), this one goes through the tower to the top of it.

The best time for the visit is a quarter to the full hour, when most of the tourists are waiting down for Orloj show. After the show they are going up and the place can be really crowdy. The tower is 69.5 m (228 ft) high and it doesn’t have stairs, just a ramp which you can climb in case you don’t want to take a lift.

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View to Petřín hill, how many towers I wrote about are on this shot?

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Prague Castle and church of Our Lady in front of the Tyn at the Old Town square

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St. Nicholas at the Old Town and Pařížská (Parisien) street, the most posh street in Prague

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St. Nicholas and Prague castle by night

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Direction south by day and by night, don’t miss the beautiful terrace restaurant at the roofs, brilliant view from there (Hotel U Prince)

Our next tower is Powder Tower, the entrance to the Prague Old Town:

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Direction – Powder Tower (the dark one)

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

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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

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