Sunday, May 20, 2018

Elegant Elbe: Prague 1a (5/20/2018)

Sunday, May 20, 2018 (continued)
After lunch, we did not have to go far to start touring.
Monument to Alois Jirásek/Pomník Aloise Jiráska
(1959-1960, by Karel Pokorný and Jaroslav Fragner),
a Czech writer and playwright, several times nominated
for the Nobel Prize in Literature
Dancing House/Tančící dům aka "Fred & Ginger" (1992-1996,
designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation
with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry) located on the spot
where a building was destroyed by US bombing in 1945
The River Vltava (Moldava/Moldau) with a boat hotel and restaurant,
and the Šitka Water Tower/Šitka vodárna with an 18C Baroque cap,
originally built in 1495 to pump water to Prague New Town
Lesser Quarter Water Tower/Malostranská vodárna (1560)
that supplies water to 57 fountains
We caught Tram #17 that followed the river north and got off at the InterContinental Hotel.
Teachers’ Cooperative apartment buildings (1880–1959,
by Otakar Novotný in Cubist style)
Cubism began in Paris, but it was in Prague where Cubo-Expressionism developed from 1912-1924, and was applied to architecture. Prague Cubism had a spiritualist element and used hard geometric shapes. Cubism was all about fracturing surfaces as Cubo-Expressionists believed that objects carried an “inner energy” which had to be released by splitting both the horizontal and vertical surfaces. This dynamism created the distinctive pyramid and prism window forms, which will be better seen in other Cubist buildings.
At Pařížská #131/28, suggests the 19C "Parisian" style;
note the few paintings or mosaics
At Elišky Krásnohorské #7, supposedly the sculptures
acting as atlants (supports) show Cubist influence
Church of St. Simon and Jude/Kostel svatého Šimona a Judy
(1615-1620, built by Bohemian Bretheren)
The Bohemian Brethren, founded in the mid-15C, agreed with the Utraquists to receive both bread and wine at Communion, but continued to practice celibacy and confession. After the Battle of White Mountain, they  were expelled, and the church was given to the Brothers of Mercy to become part of a monastery and hospital. It is said that the wooden steps of the monastery were built from the scaffold on which 27 Czech Protestants were executed in 1621. There is still a hospital here, and the church is now a concert venue.
At U Milosrdných #6, with interesting details in the
façade such as Watt's flyball governor for steam engines
(thanks, Peter!); now the Chabad Maharal Center
Zinc cladding with integrated tree design;
note vertical garden walls
Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia/
Klášter sv. Anežky České (1230-1234, additions
in 1245 and 1260, with a modern roof to replace a
collapsed vault), now the National Gallery home
of medieval painting and sculpture from
Bohemia and Central Europe from 13-16C
Agnes, the sister of Wenceslas I, founded the convent for the Order of St Clare, and was its first abbess. Agnes of Bohemia was canonized in 1989.
Since Peter & Beth had dated their Prague Cards starting tomorrow, we skipped this gallery, thinking we had time to get back to it (ha, ha!).
Smallest house in Prague at Anežská #1043/4
Why two house numbers? The blue is the typical street address, and the red is the building number within each district. The name of the district is written below the red number.
A niche in the alley of Ve Stínadlech;
no Virgin Mary here!
Prague sewer cover with the city coat of arms
The house of Christian Doppler at
U Obecního dvora #799/79; the mathematician and
physicist lived here from 1843-1847 when he was
a professor at Prague Polytechnic
Municipal Yard/Obecní dvůr entrance
Municipal Yard with interesting water feature
It was open house today to learn about architectural development
in Prague, seeing the old next to the new
The continuation of the vertical garden around the zinc-clad house (KSS)
Czech painter Josef Mánes was born
in 1820 at U Obecního dvora #5
Baked goods in open window display
Impressive painted façade at Kozí #7 (KSS)
Ford truck renovated as a Coca-Cola delivery truck,
 outside the James Dean 50s-style diner at V Kolkovně #1 (KSS)
Arcade approaching the Old Town Square/
Staroměstské náměstí, a market since 11C,
now cafés and street performers (KSS)
Old Town Square façades on the north side;
the building on the L is from 1696, and in the center from 1898
The 1898 building (Prague City Savings Bank) was designed by
Osvald Polívka, with figural groups Fire Alarm and
Extinction of the Flames by Bohuslav Schnirch
On the E side, Kinský Palace/Palác Kinských (1755-1765, designed by
Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in Rococo style) with a stuccowork façade
and sculptures of the four Elements by (1760-1765) by Ignaz Franz Platzer
Prague Meridian/Pražský poledník
To determine high noon, the city used a shadow cast by a Marian column that fell each day directly upon the meridian of 14°25’17″ East, which was set into the stones in 1652. The practice continued until the Marian column was torn down in 1918 by a mob during a demonstration against the Habsburgs. The brass plaques were laid in the 1990s, and state in Czech and Latin: "Meridian, by which Prague time was determined."
Peter and Beth left us to return to their hotel to check on their stray luggage.
Next: Prague 1b.

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