FINAL fun fact about Prague: Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in Europe and the ancient seat of Czech kings throughout the ages. It is Prague’s premier tourist attraction. Several destructive wars and fires (and the subsequent renovations), along with differing political forces have combined to create an intriguing mix of palaces, churches and fortifications, spread over 18 acres. The Prague Castle complex comprises three courtyards and a great many buildings. The first known building on the site of Prague Castle was erected in the 9th century. In the 12th century it was replaced by a Romanesque palace. In the 14th century it was rebuilt in the Gothic style, under the reign of Charles IV. A further reconstruction of the Royal Palace then took place under the Jagellons at the end of the 15th century. Following a fire in 1541, Prague Castle underwent further works. The Spanish Hall was added during the reign of Rudolf II. And final alterations were made by Empress Maria Theresa, under the direction of the celebrated architect M. Pacassi. After World War I, renovations to the castle buildings and to the Prague Castle Gardens were undertaken by the architect J. Plecnik. Today, Prague Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic and serves as the historical and political center for both city and state. Thanks everyone for your support and I’ll be sure to update you when I’m in Prague. Ta-ta for now!
Fun fact about Prague for the day: In the 10th century, 70 years after the establishment of Prague Castle, a church and fortified trading post were built on a cliff top overlooking the Vltava River, on the heights of Vysehrad. In 1085, Vratislav II, a prince of Bohemia’s founding Premyslid dynasty, built a castle here and Vysehrad, “Castle on the Heights,” became the stronghold of Prague. This lasted 40 years, before his successors returned to Prague Castle, and the city developed around that area instead. The Vysehrad complex covers a large area, with several interesting parts to explore. The two dominant spires seen from all around belong to the Ss. Peter & Paul Church. The impressive interior of the church has been restored and is open to visitors. Many of Prague’s great artists, scribes, musicians and politicians lie buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church, including Dvorak, Smetana, and Mucha.
Fun fact about Prague for the day: Wenceslas Square in Prague is the nightlife and entertainment centre of Prague, and Prague’s main shopping district begins here. Wenceslas Square is really a boulevard, measuring 750m long by 60m wide. It was originally laid out as the Prague horse market 650 years ago. It can hold up to 400,000 people! At the top of Wenceslas Square a statue of St. Wenceslas on his horse cuts a striking figure. This is good King Wenceslas himself, murdered a thousand years ago by his brother, and a Czech national hero. In front of St. Wenceslas are two plaques in memory of those killed during the communist era.
Fun fact about Prague for the day: The National Museum in Prague is made up of two buildings: The Main Building is the original, the interior of which is closed for renovation until June 2015, and the other is the New Building, which became part of the National Museum in 2009. Prior to its closure, the Main Building of the National Museum was the oldest and largest museum in the Czech Republic. This monumental neo-Renaissance structure was designed by Josef Schultz as an architectural symbol of the Czech National Revival. It is built on the site of the former Horse Gate, so named because Wenceslas Square once served as the main Prague horse market. Before joining the National Museum, the New Building served as the parliament of Czechoslovakia during the communist era.
I’ll be taking a week off for Final Exams, but check back next week for more fun facts about Prague!
Fun fact about Prague for the day: The National Theatre in Prague is a stunning neo-Renaissance building constructed in 1868! It sits proudly alongside the banks of the Vlatava River, its golden roof gleaming in the sunshine. For Czech people, the National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in Prague. Since its inception, the theatre has played an important role in the development of the Czech language, Czech music, and the dramatic arts. As you can see below, both the interior and exterior are amazing! Have a great weekend!
Fun fact about Prague for the day: The Astronomical Clock, built into one side of the Old Town Hall Tower, dates from 1410. This makes it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working! To fully appreciate the clock’s intricate construction, one must be there on the hour to view the “Procession of the Apostles.” Every hour, a small door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell. I can’t wait to get to see this!