Old TownNext to Municipal House is the Powder Tower, built in the 1400s to house gunpowder.
|The Powder Tower|
|Old Town Square with the Tyn Church and a different tour group|
|Another view of Old Town Square...with bubbles!|
Oh yeah, I took a video of the clock, too, at 10:00am. Look for the Apostles moving past the two windows under the arch.
The writer Franz Kafka was born practically in the shadow of the clock, and lived in Prague most of his life. His birthplace is now a cafe bearing his name, but the building is not original.
|Cafe Kafka gets ready for business|
|U. Rott House|
Charles BridgeThe Charles Bridge traverses the Vltava River and brings us to the other side of Prague. It was the city's only bridge for 400 years. Built in the 14th century, the bridge originally had no statues. The imperial Hapsburg family had many religious statues built in an attempt to re-convert Czechs to Catholicism in the 17th and 18th centuries.
|Bridge statue with St Vitus Cathedral|
|This is a sample of the activity on the Charles Bridge|
|The Vltava River from the Charles Bridge|
|Charles IV, for whom the bridge is named|
Prague CastleEventually, our group wound its way over hilly cobblestone streets to Prague Castle. This is actually a megalopolis of smaller palaces, houses, and the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral, built over the centuries around Castle Square.
From a distance, and you saw it from a distance in some of the Charles Bridge shots above, it looks like one giant castle, spooky at night. Franz Kafka's novel, The Castle, is thought to have been inspired by the spooky nighttime castle. Our group cruised through Castle Square, inside the main gate where we saw the guards change, and briefly stopped in St. Vitus Cathedral. We were headed to Lobkowicz Palace for a tour which I blogged about on my Music Monday with Margaret blog here: http://musicmondaymargaret.blogspot.com/2015/06/musical-treasures-of-lobkowicz-palace.html (Check it out!) Back to Prague Castle, visitors may buy a ticket to tour some of the buildings, and see more of St. Vitus than just the free zone just before the nave as we did. This cathedral is very important to Czech Catholics as many of their local saints and kings are entombed here. The stained glass windows are impressive, but the one most visitors crane their necks to see was created by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. Without a ticket, though, we can only see about half of it:
|Alphonse Mucha window|
|St. Vitus Cathedral Rose Window|
ABCOne of our tour guides told us a funny story about a couple returning home from a Viking River Cruise of the Danube. The man went into his study and began to write, "ABC...ABC..." The woman asked him what he was doing, and he explained that he was writing about what he saw on their trip. This made no sense to the woman until he explained: "Another Bloody Church, Another Bloody Castle..."
But maybe you are interested in shopping opportunities in Prague. What does one typically buy there?
|Garnets are popular, and reportedly inexpensive. (I was tempted, but I didn't.)|
|Czech crystal. (I didn't.)|
|Marionettes! (I didn't.)|
|Pencils? (I didn't.)|
|These pastry cylinders with chocolate syrup inside. (I did!)|
|Here they are cooking.|