Monday, May 21, 2018

Elegant Elbe: Prague 2b (5/21/2018)

Monday, May 21, 2018 (continued)
Prague Castle/Pražský hrad is the largest ancient castle in the world. Founded in the 9C by Prince Bořivoj, it was built as a walled fortress circa 970 CE. The castle has changed dramatically over the years and contains examples of most of the leading architectural styles of the last millennium. It was expanded and rebuilt notably during the reigns of Charles IV and Vladislav II.
We ended up walking back and forth across Castle Hill several times, first to purchase tickets and then back to start the tour at the east end, as the itinerary would end on the west side. My attempt for the most efficient walking tour was blown to smithereens.
Entry to Golden Lane/Zlatá Ulička of artisan's
cottages along inside of castle wall, built late 16C
 for 24 castle guards and gunners of Rudolph II,
named for goldsmiths who lived here in 17C 
Entry to Golden Lane/Zlatá Ulička (12/23/1981)
Looking east along Golden Lane; Franz Kafka stayed at #22
 (blue house) with his sister few months 1916-1917
Looking east along Golden Lane (12/23/1981)
Kent at #19, the smallest house on Golden Lane
#18 is perhaps the kitschiest house on Golden Lane
Looking west along Golden Lane; #20 (half-timbered) is the oldest
and least altered house, and once home to
1984 Nobel prize winner poet Jaroslav Seifert
Looking west along Golden Lane (12/23/1981)
Goldsmith's workshop and dwelling (circa 1560) with a birdcage
to house the "natural sensor of toxic fumes"
Residence of amateur historian Josef Kazda (1950s),
who is credited with saving copies of Czech films that
occupying powers wanted destroyed
Kazda's film canisters
Beth, Peter, and Kent enter Dalibor Tower/
Daliborka, a 15C tower named for its
first prisoner, Dalibor of Kozojedy
Dalibor of Kozojedy was a young knight sentenced to death for harboring outlawed serfs. The dungeon was underground and prisoners had to be lowered through a hole. Dalibor learned to play the violin and people came to listen, giving him food and drink that they lowered by rope through a window (usually prisoners were left to starve to death). Bedřich Smetana used this story in the opera Dalibor.
The tower was a museum of torture instruments,
like this iron maiden
Stairs down to the dungeon
Perhaps here we see the hole where prisoners
were lowered into the actual dungeon
At the west end of Golden Lane was the White Tower where it is said Irish alchemist Edward Kelley was imprisoned by Rudolf II, whom he had convinced he was ready to produce gold through alchemy.
The castle ramparts contain a museum of armor and weapons
Armor resembling a bird (KSS)
A revolving block of wood used as a sight-line
in the castle rampart embrasure or arrowslit
Next: Prague 2c, Lobkowicz Palace.

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