Monday, May 21, 2018

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

Monday, May 21, 2018 (continued)
Out in the third courtyard of Prague Castle.
Statue of St George and the 1928 obelisk (originally taller but broke
when delivered!) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia
and commemorating soldiers who fought for independence (KSS)
New Royal Palace with offices of the president of the Czech Republic,
approached by many autos with tinted glass windows
Bull Staircase/Býcí schodište (1929-1931, by Jože
Plečnik; influenced by ancient Minoan architecture)
 leading to the Garden of the Ramparts/Zahrada
Na Valech, site of the 1618 Defenestration landing
Close-up of Bull Staircase
We walked all the way back to Lobkowicz Palace to their cafe for lunch in an open courtyard.
Here you could see the original sgraffito
of Lobkowicz Palace
Old Royal Palace/Starý Královský Palác, built in layers with
the Romanesque (after 1135) premises on the bottom, then the
Gothic palace of Charles IV, topped by the palace
(1486-1502) built for Vladislav Jagiello
So is this the Eagle Fountain/Orlí fontána (1661)?
Yes, little remains of the original Baroque
fountain, only the name!
We were funneled right in to Vlatislav Hall (1490s, by Benedikt Ried).
Oops! No photos in the Old Royal Palace!
Vladislav Hall is so large, it could be and was used for jousting tournaments. It was where the nobles met to elect the king, and now where parliament meets to elect the president.
The Bohemian Chancellery office with a 17C Dutch-style stove in room, was site of the 1618 Defenestration. Over 100 Protestant nobles, led by Count Thurn, marched to the palace to protest succession to throne of the intolerant Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand. Ferdinand's appointed governors, Jaroslav Martinic and Vilém Slavat, were confronted, then thrown out the window with secretary Philipp Fabricius, falling 15 m/50' into a dung heap. They survived, but the event set off the Thirty Years' War. An old law actually allowed for defenestration (being thrown out the window) as a way of dealing with bad politicians!
The Riders' Staircase is shallow and wide enough to allow mounted knights to ride up to jousts in Vladislav Hall. The staircase is also where Czech presidents are inaugurated.
From the terrace we can see the actual window of
defenestration (second down on the far left);,
below the window and also to the left you can
see small obelisks marking the spots of landing
View southwest from the Old Royal Palace terrace with gardens immediately below and Lesser Town
View southeast from the Old Royal Palace terrace
Kohl Fountain and the Church of the Holy Cross (in 19C rebuilt for
Emperor Ferdinand I in Classicist style) that became
the home of the treasury of St Vitus Cathedral
No photos allowed, but an impressive treasury. We also visited the Picture Gallery of Prague Castle, located in the former castle stables, in a 1965 gallery created for art collected since the reign of Rudolph II, as art collected before then was looted by the Swedes in 1648.
From the second courtyard, we exited to the north into the Royal Garden/Krávloská zahrada, dating back to 1535.
From across the Stag Moat/Jelení příkop (actually a natural ravine
with the Brusnice stream, where deer were bred in the 17C), we see the
Powder Tower and the Prague Castle dominated by St Vitus Cathedral
The Ball Game Pavilion/Míčovna (1567-1569, by Bonifác Wohlmut)
covered with Renaissance sgraffito; originally the arches were open
and, yes, they played ball games there
The Allegory of Night (1734, by Matyáš Bernard Braun);
Day was destroyed in a 1757 Prussian siege
In the distance is the Žižkov TV Tower/Žižkovský vysílač
(1985-1992, by Václav Aulický), said to be the second ugliest
building in the world; which begs the question: what is the first?
(The Morris A Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, MD, according to VirtualTourist.com.)
The Belvedere or Queen Anne's Summerhouse/Letohrádek Královny Anny
(1538-1564, by Paolo della Stella), said to be one of the finest
Italian Renaissance buildings north of the Alps
Kent, Beth and Peter with the Singing Fountain/
Zpívající fontána (1568, cast by Tomáš Jaroš
who lived in Powder Tower)
It took a bit of imagination to hear the musical sound when the water hit the bronze bowl, since the water was mostly hitting the water in the bowl.
Evidence of thousands of tulips,
which were first acclimatized to Europe here in Prague
Peter & Beth left us to find a tram to take them back to their hotel.
Next: Prague 2f.

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