Monday, May 21, 2018

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

Monday, May 21, 2018 (continued)
View of the towers of Prague Castle from the north
My first view of the towers of Prague Castle (12/23/1981)
We kept missing the Changing of the Guard
at any of the three castle gates
Main Castle Gates, crowned by copies of the 1768 Fighting Giants
by Ignác František Platzer, and where one would most
efficiently begin the Prague Castle tour!
Main Castle Gates (12/23/1981)
View from Castle Square/Hradčanské náměstí
View from Castle Square/Hradčanské náměstí (12/23/1981)
Church of St Nicholas/Kostel svatého Mikuláše
in Lesser Town/Malá Strana
Church of St Nicholas/Kostel svatého Mikuláše
in Lesser Town/Malá Strana (12/23/1981)
Gas Lamp/Lampa plynová, one of
16 installed in Prague in the 1860s
Schwarzenberg Palace/Schwarzenberský Palác (1545-1576, by Agostino Galli
in Florentine Renaissance style for Lobkowicz family) with sgraffito
that makes it appear to have 3-D tetrahedonal projections on the façade 
Martinic Palace/Martinický Palác; when restored in the 1970s,
they uncovered the original 16C façade with ornate cream and
brown sgraffito depicting Old Testament themes
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
We turned down the charming street of New World/Nový Svět.
#1 At the Golden Griffin/U Zlatého Gryfa was the former home
of Rudolph II's court astronomer, Tycho de Brahe,
a Dane whose assistant was Johannes Kepler
At the Golden Pear/U Zlaté Hrušky
with a very stylized pear!
#5 At the Golden Grape/U Zlatého hroznu
with "a predatory fish"
Kent shows how small this door is
New World/Nový Svět
#19 At the Golden Lamb/Dům U Zlatého beránka
#22 "At the Antique Bicycle"
#25 was the 1857 birthplace of Czech violinist František Ondříček
Turned onto Černínská.
Capuchin Monastery/Kapucínský Klášter (founded 1600
as the first Capuchin monastery in Bohemia), with
Our Lady Queen of the Angels Church
that is typically plain for the ascetic Capuchins
The church was open with a few people chanting or praying. We took a seat to look for the miraculous statue of Madonna and Child, which Rudolph II liked so much the monks gave him the statue to put in his private chapel. But it found its way back to the church, and did so three more times! The monks gave up and Rudolph II gave the statue a gold crown and robe.
The Loreto/Loreta (1626, with a 1721 Baroque
façade added by Christoph and
Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer)
The Loreto was commissioned by Kateřina of Lobkowicz to promote the legend of Santa Casa of Loreto, with a copy of the house believed to be that of the Virgin Mary when she received the message from the Archangel Gabriel.
The Loreto (12/26/1981)
Statue (2005) of Edvard Beneš, the second president of Czechoslovakia,
who was in the unfortunate position of having to go into exile during
the Nazi occupation, and then capitulating to the Communists after WWII
Both our phone batteries were dying, as we continued through the square of Pohořelec to the Strahov Monastery, which was closed. However, their beer garden was open for Kent to try an IPA from the Strahov Monastic Brewery/Klášterní pivovar Strahov.
Monastic IPA
We were able to continue up the hill into Petřín Park/Petřínské Sady, staying inside the Hunger Wall/Hladová zeď, fortifications commissioned by Charles IV, with crenelated battlements. The name is due to the fact that the purpose of construction was to provide employment for the poor during a period of famine.
Observation Tower/Petřínská rozhledna, an imitation
of the Eiffel Tower built for Jubilee Exhibition of 1891
The Observation Tower is only 60 m/200' tall (1/5 height of original), but the tower's elevation creates the illusion that it is bigger than it actually is. It was constructed from used railway tracks. In the 1930s it was moved to Petřín Hill. We avoided the 299 spiral steps to the viewing platform by paying a surcharge for the elevator (the admission was free with the Prague Card).
Next the Prague Card got us in to the Mirror Maze/Zrcadlové bludiště, also built for Jubilee Exhibition of 1891. It was in a wooden pavilion the shape of Špička Gate (part of fortification of Vyšehrad). We followed a young couple taking selfies at every turn. Once through, you see a diorama of The Defense of Prague Against the Swedes which took place on Charles Bridge in 1648. There was a room of fun house mirrors, so it really was too bad our cameras did not work!
We went through an arch in the Hunger Wall to see Štefánik's Observatory/Štefánikova hvězdárna, open to public since 1930. People still come to use the telescopes.
Our Prague Card also got us on the funicular to take us to the bottom of Petřín Hill. A short walk to the right was the Memorial to the Victims of Communism/Pomník obětem komunismu (2002, by sculptor Olbram Zoubek), showing victims atrophying and disappearing into hillside steps.
We caught Tram #9 to the Vodičkova stop, to have dinner at the New Town Brewery/Novomětský Pivovar, which Beth had discovered on their walk to our hotel yesterday. We had the Chef's Surprise with roast pork, potato pancakes, Camembert cheese, sweet sauerkraut, and gnocchi with "cream and tomato," and chicken.
Walked back to the hotel by 20:00 or so. The high temperature today was 70 degrees F, but again it felt hotter.
Next: Prague 3a.

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