Travel theme: Light

For Travel Theme Light I have for you some more shots from my Winter Airing at Prague Castle, more can be found at one of my previous posts here.

The first gallery is the game of the light at Prague Castle, shadow and light, sun above the Krocín’s fountain at the second courtyard and the third you have already seen, but it is so beautiful that I show it again, sun coming through the stained glass window in St. Vitus Cathedral

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Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral

And when you walk down from Prague Castle, you can see the buildings’ shadows on the opposite site of the street, thanks to the light; sun under the Charles Bridge in Čertovka channel and sunset from the Charles Bridge.

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Walking down in Neruda street and over the Charles Bridge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

This winter I was walking around my city of Prague and I made a lot of shots with different topics. Thus for Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details I have nice shots from Prague Castle. The first gallery are details from the Golden Lane, a small pictoresque street at Prague Castle premises with cute shops and small museums. To enter the street you have to pay admission fees, but in case you come before or after the opening hours, the place is for free and almost deserted (of course the small shops are closed as well :-)).

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Golden Lane details

For the next gallery we stay at Prague castle, enjoy the details from the side door to St. Vitus cathedral.

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St. Vitus door

Spring is coming and the weather invites us to go out, the last gallery is from Western Bohemia.

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Bor u Tachova

Prague Towers (5) – Little Quarter Bridge Tower

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Smaller and higher Tower Bridges in Little Quarter side from Charles Bridge

Our last tower on the left bank of the Vltava River is the Bridge Tower in Little Quarter. There are two of them, smaller and older one, you can read about it at Prague Towers (1) and the higher one for today’s post. Originally at this place another small romanesque tower stood there to be in pair with the existing one belonging to romanesque Judith’s bridge, which fall down in 14th century. After Charles bridge was built (1357 – 1407) a new gothic tower started to be built at this place, it was finished after 1464. The tower was built as a copy of the Old Town Tower Bridge (our next post), but less decorative, less symbolic. The last reconstruction was done in 1879-83 by architect Josef Mocker.

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Traditional view to Prague Castle and St. Nicholas Church from the tower

Both towers are connected by the gothic gate with a spirelet decorated with the following coats of arms: Empire’s Eagl, Czech Lion and the sign of Upper Lusatia, bellow are the symbols of the Old Town and the Little Quarter.

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Gate with symbols

Bridge towers were often used as a display and warning, therefore in 1517 there was shown the head of robber knight Jindřich from Bohnice, who was executed. But now you won’t find it there :-). The height of the tower is 143 ft (43.5 m) and you have to climb 146 stairs to reach the view.

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Charles Bridge and Prague roofs

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Vltava bridges, south from Charles Bridge, towers on Vyšehrad at the left

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Walk on the top of the gate and the window in the tower

After the visit to the Bridge Towers I recommend you to visit Café Kafíčko, cafe with the best coffee in Prague, nearby in Míšeňská 10 street. Looking down from the tower you see the small square and Čertovka Channel with a small bridge. But you won’t go there.

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Čertovka Channel and small bridge over it, Charles Bridge at the right side

You should go to the left, there is another small square with green gas lamp-post (kandelábr) and looking at the building on the next shot you go right to Míšeňská street to the cafe.

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Ministery of finance is on the left side, school building in the middle, Míšeňská street going to the right

The interior is cozy and the coffe is indeed the best in Prague, you can also try some nice sweets there. When you are there, take a look at the people in the cafe, you might find me :-).

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Cafe Kafíčko interier, delicious plum cake and the best coffee in Prague

The next tower is Old Town’s Bridge Tower, here as seen from the Little Quarter Bridge Tower.

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Old Town’s Bridge Tower

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 (4) – St. Nicholas Church

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Tower and the Church

St. Nicholas Church in Little Town (Lesser Quatter, depends of translation of the Malá Strana) is the peak of baroque architecture in Prague and one of the best works north of the Alps. It was built in 1704-1755 by three generations of great Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago (remember Loreta from Prague Towers (1)). The bellfry, the next tower from our serie was finished by Anselmo Lurago, and contrary to the church the tower belongs to the city, therefore the entrance is not from the church but from the side street. Originally the tower was planned to be low but then it was built high. People were afraid it will fall down but time proved that it was built with perfect architectonic and engineer work. You can recognize it was built like a copy of the tower of St. Nicholas Church in the Old Town (you can find this one at Prague Towers (1)).

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Staircase and bell

During 18-19th centuries the guards served at the bellfry, their duty was to announce fires or enemies trying to enter the town. During communistic regime there was state police observatory and listening devices. The reason was the proximity of American and Yugoslavian Embassies, and also path to Western Germany Embassy. The last records from this observatory were done at the beginning of 1990 year (after revolution in November 1989). The exposition of former observatory called “Eider duck” picturing the work of State police was opened for public in April 2010. As most of the towers of my series, this tower can be climbed up. The flourish are played from the top of it every full hour during summer.
The bellfry tower is in roccoco style and it is 243 ft (74 m) high, the view is in 148 ft (45 m) and you have to climb 215 stairs to reach the view.

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View to the Eastern side of Little Town Square

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Down there is  a Starbucks coffee

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South view to Carmelitan street and the Church of Our Lady Victorious

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Little Town Roofs

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Little Town Square again – left 2003, right 2010, the bulding of Malostranská beseda before and after renovation to its original shape with spires.

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Petřín view, 2004 and 2010, winter and summer, the building in the middle is a garden house of US embassy (see the flag?), bellow it one of the most beautiful gardens in Prague, Vrtbovská Garden

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View from St. Nicholas Bellfry to Strahov monastery and Prague Castle – partial view

The next tower is Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower as seen from St. Nicholas Tower.

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Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower

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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Travel theme: Up

What I always say to my clients when I am giving the tour in Prague is: Always look up. Everywhere there is something that surprises you, some nice detail that worths seeing, something unexpected. The Travel Theme: Up is therefore easy for me. I want to show you ceilings, domes, vaults and arches, which you can find in Prague but also around it.
As usually we start our tour at Prague Castle, with vaults of St. Vitus cathedral, Vladislav’s Hall and Lands Rolls.

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From top left: Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral, ceiling of Land Rolls offices in Royal Palace, valuting of St. Vitus cathedral, Vladislav’s Hall

Above you have examples of gothic and Renaissance vaulting, bellow is the dome of St. Nicholas Church in Little Quarter in Prague, the peak of Baroque in Czech lands.

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Dome of St. Nicholas Church

We are coming to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Vaulting on the left is from the Church of St. Ludmila from the end of 19th century, the right is the shot from the passage of Czech National Bank (our Fort Knox), built at the beginning of 20th century.

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Vaulting of St. Ludmila Church and passage of Czech National Bank

There are a lot of passages and galleries around Wenceslass Square in Prague. Specially these are the places where you stop doing window shopping and you look up to see all the glass and metal around. Most of the passages is nicely reconstructed.

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Passages at Wenceslass Square: Koruna, Rokoko and U Stýblů

Trains are a good way of travelling around Czech Republic, the next shot is from the oldest train station in Prague, now it is called Masaryk‘s, after the first president of independent democratic Czechoslovak republic 1918-1938.

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Masaryk’s train station platform

With the train we can reach Kutná Hora, another place in Czech Republic that is written in UNESCO World Heritage List. Now we are not going to visit the city center, but let’s see quarter called Sedlec, where you find bone chapel and beautiful Church of Assumption of Our Lady.

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Kutná Hory / Sedlec, Ossuary (Bone chapel) and Church of Assumption of Our Lady

You already saw the works of Santini in one of my previous posts and there is the dome of the Church of St. John of Nepomuk in Žďár nad Sázavou, another monument written on World Heritage List and protected by UNESCO.

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Ceiling od the Curch of St. John of Nepomuk in Žďár nad Sázavou

Last but not least is my favorite city Olomouc and shots from the Cathedral of St. Wenceslass, a beautiful cathedral from 12th century.

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Arches and roof of St. Wenceslass cathedral in Olomouc

Prague Towers (2) – St. Vitus Cathedral

The introduction to Prague Towers series can be found here.

St. Vitus behind Royal Summerhouse

St. Vitus behind Royal Summerhouse

The first tower I chose for my Prague Towers series is the tower of St. Vitus cathedral in Prague Castle. That’s the green one, which you will find on any panorama picture from Prague, also on my blog here or here or here and also at some other posts, I chose just the panoramatic ones. Today I start with a bit unusual view from the Prague Castle’s back, from Royal Summerhouse.

St. Vitus Cathderal was founded in 1344 by Czech king and Roman Emperor Charles IV as the most important church in Czech lands. It was not built in the city center, as it is quite usual in Europe, but above it, in the complex of Prague Castle.

Bell Tower from the 3rd courtyard of Prague Castle

Bell Tower from the 3rd courtyard of Prague Castle (you can easily guess this shot was not taken the day I climbed the tower up …

It was built in four phases, finished in 1929. At the interior and the exterior you can see the traces of the centuries, but the building itself is gothic, despite the fact that the final works were done in puristic gothic style in 20th century.

The tower we will talk about was founded in 14th century by Petr Parléř and it is called Bell Tower. The height of it was 180.5 ft (55 m). The tower partially burned during the big fire in 1541 and was rebuilt again in 1544. Therefore,  Renaissance arcades were added with baroque green spire on the gothic bases.

Bells are hiddne in the tower behind the golden bar

Bells are hidden in the tower behind the golden bar

Lots of bells rang from the tower, today you will find there these 7:

  • Zikmund (Sigismond) from 1549, the biggest Czech bell, done by Tomáš Jaroš, weight 13.5 tons and diameter 6.6 ft (2.56 m).
  • Václav (Wenceslass) from 1542, done by Ondřej and Matyáš Pražský
  • Jan Křtitel (John Baptist) from 1546, author Stanislav
  • Josef (Joseph) from 1602, author Martin Hilger

From 2012 there are three more bells from the workshop of Dytrych family (from Brodek by Přerov)

  • Dominik (Dominus = Our Lord)
  • Maria
  • Ježíš (Jesus) – the smallest

You can listen to easter ringing of these bells from 2012 at this link.

From St. Vitus bell tower there is one of the most beautiful views to Prague, even when the visibility is low.

Government buildings

Important buildings from top left: Černín Palace – ministery of Foreign Affairs, Royal Summerhouse, Lobkowicz Palace – German Embassy, Karmář’s villa – seat of prime minister

Looking straight down from the tower.

Right down

St. George basilic, oldest church at Prague Castle, roofs od the Cathedral, 3rd courtayrd of Prague Castle – main entrance to presidential offices

Deatils on the roofs.

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Details

And finally view to the city.

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View to east, Little Quarter and Charles Bridge

Little Quarter square with St. Nicholas Church and former jesuith college in the middle

Little Quarter square with St. Nicholas Church and former jesuith college in the middle

Vltava river bridges, direction Letná, Karlín and Holešovice

Vltava river bridges, direction Letná, Karlín and Holešovice

Our next tower will be Petřín Watchtower, how viewed from Bell Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral.

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Petřín – watchtower

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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Travel theme: New

The travel theme for this week is New. First, I read the topic I decided to visit Prague ZOO and make a picture of our new gorilla baby which was born Dec 22, 2012. I can responsibly say it is a boy, as just today ZOO has published this information and if you are interested, you can participate in finding him a new name here. More about Prague’s gorrillas family you can read in one of my previous posts about My best animals.

From top left: alphamale Richard, Kijivu with new baby, Kiburi - older brother, Bikira, Kamba in expectation (please keep your finger crossed, the situation doesn't look good with her and her baby), Shinda

From top left: alphamale Richard, Kijivu with new baby, Kiburi – older brother, Bikira, Kamba in expectation (please keep your fingers crossed, the situation doesn’t look good with her and her baby, she didn’t eat and didn’t sleep the last week), Shinda

I visited ZOO yesterday (Jan 2) and I was lucky to see the little baby, but as the family was sleeping, there would not be a lot of interesting photos. See what I get :-).

Little baby in safe arms of his mother

Little baby in safe arms of his mother

I need more “NEW” and I have one more. In another post about Surprise I wrote about my visit to Stockholm. I kept secret from you one of my biggest surprises there. Now I unfold it. During our very short visit of Christmas Markets we were robbed. Someone opened our small backpack and took my ZOOM camera object lense. Not really a nice surprise …

But why I am writing about it now? During Christmas I got a new – bigger – ZOOM lense and I used it yesterday for the first time, therefore everything I took with it is NEW as well :-).

Animals  details reached with new ZOOM.

From ledft top: surricati posing for the shot, yawning otter, arguing flamingos, kissing pinguins

From left top: surricati posing for the shot, yawning otter, arguing flamingos, kissing pinguins

With ZOOM you can also make shots of Prague Castle and Petřín Tower from ZOO.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

And even you can take New year’s fireworks above the center of Prague from Prague suburb.

New Year's fireworks

New Year’s fireworks

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