Monday, August 26, 2019

Prague Castle




Prague Castle is an extensive complex of churches and palaces and is the largest medieval castle in the world. It is indeed massive and would take days to explore. We were there for an afternoon and evening saw just a fraction of it. 

The towers above belong to St. Vitus Cathedral, begun in 1344, in the French Gothic style as the master builder was a Frenchman. 

It remains the largest and most prominent church in the Czech Republic and is the resting place of many Bohemian Kings and Holy Roman Emperors, including Saint Wenceslas, also known as "Good King Wenceslas" in the Christmas song.
 


Construction of the church was characterized by many stoppages throughout the centuries as money ran out, wars occurred, and priorities changed. In the 1920s Alfons Mucha, a painter in of the Art Nouveau movement, completed several windows in the church. The church was finally completed in 1929, 600 years after its start. 


Our tour guide took us to this room in the castle where the Second Defenestration of Prague took place. Defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window as a means to execution. In 1618 the Czechs, mostly Protestants, got fed up with the Habsburg representatives from Vienna who were trying to force the population to become Catholic, and tossed two of them out of the window. The men were saved by the pile of straw and manure below the window and escaped with minor injuries. 

However, the whole affair blew up and was a major factor in the start of the Thirty Years' War that devastated Central Europe, killing between 5 to 11 million people. 


The view from the Castle is impressive. There are long flights of steps to walk up to the Castle (we took a bus, but walked down). The tall modern looking structure in the distance is the Zizkov Tower, built between 1985 and 1992. Its purpose was to block television transmissions from the West during the Soviet era, however, it wasn't completed until after the fall of Communism. It's now used for communications and tourism, and was once voted the ugliest building in the world. 


There are so many beautiful buildings in Prague. This one, with its buttery yellow paint and ornate decoration, caught my eye while our guide was talking. Did you notice that only part of the building is painted yellow? Behind the tree, the walls look dingy and not so well-cared for. I wonder why? 








27 comments:

  1. I do love that vibrant stained glass window designed by Mucha - it is so typically Art Nouveau, which is a period that I am particularly fond of.
    I imagine that the other half of the building has different owners who haven't bothered to maintain and keep their half of the property up to scratch.

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  2. Beautiful city, though I might be tempted to agree that the tower structure is not doing the city justice...too out of synch with the rest of what’s going on. I thought the Art Noveau window was done tastefully; although, it, too, might be out of synch with the other art. Who knows? I am just a simple woman with a simple set of guidelines for what does or doesn’t work and no one asked me.

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  3. I wonder if defenestration might help some of our Bri*sh politicians??
    What a very huge and sombre building the Cathedral is. But what beautiful stained glass, it really sings.

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  4. Looks like a wonderful place although the inhabitants from the past sound like they need a lesson manners. I had no idea of the huge loss of life during the 30 years war. Sobering. B x

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  5. Doesn't surprise me that it caused a war. European leaders were always fighting one another, even when many of their kings were related! Talk about family feuds! Always sad to hear how many lost their lives because of it.

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  6. So much history...thanks for sharing.

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  7. Great photos. The church is a fresh reminder better late than never.

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  8. Prague is on my list. The little I have seen of it looks beautiful.

    We had a wonderful time in Paris and Steve realizes that flying isn't so awful. We are actually going to Montreal and Quebec City at the end of September

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  9. Love the stained glass!

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  10. Now I am wondering if part of the building is owned by someone else, thus not painted yellow. I love Art Nouveau and love seeing that window. Beautiful! What a lovely tour!

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  11. What a lovely place! I was so excited to see your post come up. I was wondering, where will we go next! :) Kit

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  12. Lovely photos.

    When my friend and I visited the castles in Prague, Germany and Austria, it was eye-opening to learn the grim reality: many of these castles have dark histories and were not always the pretty fairy tale castles!

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  13. Wow, that's something to be voted the ugliest building in the world. What a beautiful castle. I do like the buttery yellow part of that building!

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  14. The Zizkov Tower is really tall.

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  15. Prague Castle is an amazing building, and it's also amazing that it took 600 years to be built! What a lot of fascinating history surrounding it.

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  16. Beautiful photos and city! I've always loved the word "defenestration". Imagine having a word for throwing someone out the window!

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  17. The view of the city is stunning! It was interesting to read about the castle. Never visited Prague, yet!

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  18. Prague is on our list of cities to visit one day. So much history and beautiful architecture. Thanks for the 'sneak peek'!

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  19. Prague looks so intricate and complex So many people rave about their visits there!

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  20. Most interesting about the last photo and how one part is well taken care and the other is not. Perhaps there is more than one owner?

    Your trip must have been such an enlarging experience, both historically and culturally, never mind architecturally. Such lovely photos of Prague Castle. I never really clued in that "Good King Wenceslas" was a saint. Will it make singing that carol more special now that you've see his resting place?

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
    Brenda xox

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  21. I so want to visit Prague, as I know I'd love it. Your pictures just make me want to go even more!

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  22. The last photo--maybe being very pragmatic. If it doesn't show, don't bother?

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  23. So much History, I loved your photographs especially the stained glass :)

    All the best Jan

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  24. Six hundred years to complete it! Completely changes the meaning of an "old" building, doesn't it?

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  25. I loved Prague too - and we also took the bus up and then the steps down from the castle!
    So much to see - and looks like you made the most of your time there Lorrie.

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  26. I think my comment done earlier didn't post Lorrie!
    I did love Prague when I visited one Fall, so colors were different.
    The Mucha windows are magnificent.
    Like you, we took the bus up the hillside and walked down the steps!!!

    Mary x

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  27. Oh the Clam Castle is just stunning!

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