Tuesday, May 24, 2005

PRAGUE 2: Old Town

Now we're talking! As in all these European cities, we do indeed head straight for the old City Center as quickly as possible. And as elsewhere, here are the Town Hall and Church prerequisites:

The 1338 TOWN HALL (below) is the main attraction of Old Town Square because of the astronomical clock (last post) that chimes on the hour and gives its little centerpiece show of the Apostles processing through the windows at the top, as seen in my photos.

There are two main CHURCHES in the town square. The one on the left (below) is the Church of St. Nicholas from 1735 and the one on the right is the Church of Our Lady before Tyn from 1365. Nicholas started out Protestant and Tyn started out Catholic (or the other way around--I'm so confused) but over the years switched because of all the history related to Jan Hus and the Hussites and the influence of John Wyclif during the Reformation. It's a dizzying history which is hard for me to follow but a good read for those of you who get it.

The other main attraction of Old Town is the 1357 CHARLES BRIDGE that takes you over the Vltava River to the Little Quarter and Prague Castle. Actually, Charles Bridge is part of Old Town and the Little Quarter by virtue of connecting the two sides and is considered Prague's most familiar monument. Today it is pedestrianized and most of the statues are copies of originals kept elsewhere. Because of the 30 statues, plus all the vendors midst the pedestrian traffic, I created a separate album for it alone. It's where Donica bought an art print for our collection from a Belarusian fugitive. As we left, he said, "Don't forget me and don't forget my country!"

One thing we definitely noticed over this weekend, at the end of May, was not only the heat (mid-high 70s) but the added number of tourists, more than we're used to. It's renewed our commitment to take our week's vactions in early spring and late fall!

But then again, who's complaining! We'll take Europe any which way it comes on a weekend.

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