Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Czech it Out! Prague (2)

I was surprised by how busy Prague was, for the shoulder season. However, it is the 6th most visited city in Europe (4.4 million visitors per year) so I guess it's busy all year round.

This is the point on the Charles bridge where John of Nepomuk was thrown into the river for refusing to disclose the queen's confession to the king. The stars around his head represent the stars that appeared on the water when he drowned.

That King was Wenceslas IV, who was also heavily involved in the Hus affair. Bad King Wenceslas?

People being thrown out of, or into, things is something of a feature of Czech history. There were 2 famous defenestrations that led to wars. In the second, in 1618, 3 noblemen were thrown out of a window in Prague castle and fell 70 feet. All 3 survived. Wikipedia notes that: "Catholics maintain the men were saved by angels, who caught them; Protestants believe they fell into a heap of horse manure". Isn't history great?

Near the castle I visited another St Nicolas's church, or as the Czechs call it, Kostel sv. Mikuláše. This one was a bit flasher on the inside.

Then it was a quick jaunt down the road to another cathedral: St Vitus's. This is another impressive slab of building.

I did the various tours around the castle. I wanted a photo of the defenestration window, but some American girls were standing in the way and their high-pitched squawking drove me from the room. I could see the appeal of defenestration.

In the evening, I roamed the streets taking photos.

More love locks on the bridge.

I then finished the evening with a violin concert at Clam Gallas Palace, where both Mozart and Beethoven played. It was breathtakingly magical.

I then strolled back through the old town, past Our Lady church...

and watched the Astronomical Clock report the hour. The American man next to me asked loudly "Was that it?". Yes, you hillbilly, that was it and it's been doing that, with limited interruption, since 1410.

One street over from the clock, I found an icecream bar and ordered a sundae with bananas and peaches. When it arrived, it was huge. A couple of spectators gave me worried looks, but I smiled back knowingly. I've dealt with oversized European puddings before and this one disappeared pretty fast.

1 comment:

Gwyneth said...

Great photos James, as usual. I have never heard of defenestration before but it is now my favourite word. Thanks!