Cities get built out of poet’s dream
Yes,indeed. Some cities have such an artistry that we are compelled to believe that this thing can only happen in a poet’s dream.
Today we are going to talk about a city which gives a feel of being in Disneyland, with its charming castles and churches with architectural excellence.
This dreamland is Prague. It is the most graceful and picturesque city in Czech Republic.
There are other cities in Czech Republic which are also beautiful, but they are not as impressive in grandeur nor historical significance.Prague with its winding streets and thoroughfares flanked by shops gives you the solitude you want in a busy city.And this city is full of historical monuments each with an interesting story to them.
The superb lines by British poet Rudyard Kipling come to mind when thinking of how to describe Prague. They read:
“I keep six honest serving men,
(they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When,
And How and Where and Who”
So we will enlist the help of these “six honest serving men” in our journey through Prague.
Who are the Czech people????
The Czechs belong to Western Slavic Ethnic Group. The region was also known as Bohemia (home of the Boii people). Different areas will help us learn a bit more about them.
The first place that comes to my mind is the main Railway Station of Prague:Praha hlavní nádraží.
It was known as Wilson Station before 1948. American President Woodrow Wilson, gave his support to the plan of making a Czechoslovakian state proposed by Professor Masaryk, the first president of the Republic. So to honor him, this railway station was given his name. Even today, many streets, squares, institutions throughout the country bear the name of Wilson.
Presently, there stands a statue of President Wilson in front of this railway station.
St Wenceslaus Square
Václavské náměstí (Wencesalaus Square),Prague
Another place of great interest is Václavské náměstí. A main square in Prague named after the Good King Wenceslaus who ruled over Bohemia during 10th century. In Czech language, equivalent of Wenceslaus is Václav.
As we move forward we come across the Old Town Square which is surrounded by monuments with historical and architectural significance, including the Old Town Hall with its magnificent Astronomical Clock.
Astronomical Clock, Prague
There lies a legend behind this clock.
When this clock was completed in 1490, its builder, Hanus of Hardec Kralove, was blinded by order of the city fathers in order to make him incapable of building another clock like it in the future.
The years passed and when he was about to die, the blind Hanus made a simple request that he be permitted to visit the clock for the last time and caress it. He was permitted to visit the clock. Arriving at the clock and feeling for its most important part, Hanus took out a hammer hidden in his clothing and smashed the delicate mechanism. No one had thought that he wanted to take revenge.
For many years it remained unrepaired. No clockmaker could be found to repair it.
Finally in 1550 another clockmaker repaired the clock.
Church of Our Lady before Týn is an attractive Gothic monument to see near this place.
Church of Our Lady Before Tyn
In the center there rises the Statue of John Huss. John Huss was a priest who initiated Reformation in Christian religion long before Luther.
Nearby, there is a memorial to Old Town Square Execution. A plaque is there bearing the name of 27 Czech nobles who were executed here for taking part in the Battle of White Mountain.
A few miles away from Prague,near a little hill known as “White Mountain” (Bila Hora), this battle was fought. On one side stood Roman Catholic forces led by Maximilian of Bavaria , and on the other, forces of Bohemia and Moravia led by Frederick V of Palatine.
You can read more about this battle here.
So….we have seen in this blog-post some of the few places of this magnificent city.
I hope you might have found this description interesting.
There are so many places which are still remained to be discussed.
We will talk about them in my upcoming blog.
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*special thanks to Mr Jim Landwehr for his invaluable help in editing this blog-post. We are very gratefult to him as he is always there to help us with his creative suggestions.