Famous people in Prague

Albert Einstein lived in Prague as well

Nov 30, 10:18 Filed under history

Albert Einstein Did you know that Albert Einstein himself was in Prague? The famous German-born American theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century and one of the greatest physicists of all time was walking the streets of Prague some 95 years ago! He did not only visit Prague, he actually worked here!

Later Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Albert Einstein, came to Prague in 1911 when he was 31 with his family – his wife Mileva and two sons, Hans Albert (7 years) and Eduard (1 year). Einstein was appointed a full professor at the German University in Prague. He held lectures about mechanics and kinetic heat theory.

A new flat was built for Einstein and his family in the Prague district Smichov. They lived in Lesnicka 7 at the left bank of the Vltava River. But Einstein spent most of his free time in the salon of Mrs. Bertha Fanta on the Old Town Square where a debating circle met regularly. Famous participants apart from Einstein here were writers Max Brod and Franz Kafka. Einstein liked coming here with his violin and between literary discussions he took part in musical events to entertain his friends.

Einstein’s years in Prague are an important milestone in the life of this important researcher and philosopher. In Prague Albert Einstein found – according to his own writings – the necessary composure to give the basic thought of the general theory of relativity (1908) a more definite shape. During his 17-month lasting stay in Prague, Einstein wrote 11 scientific works, 5 of them on radiation mathematics and on quantum theory of the solids.

You can visit the place where famous Albert Einstein played his violin. Look for a memorial plaque outside a house on the Old Town Square. It reads:

“Here in this salon of Mrs Berta Fanta, Albert Einstein, Professor at Prague University in 1911 to 1912, founder of the theory of relativity, Nobel Prize Winner, played the violin and met his friends, famous writers, Max Brod and Franz Kafka.”

About St. Wenceslas and September 28 in the Czech Republic

Sep 28, 07:25 Filed under history

You can’t visit Prague without bumping into St. Wenceslas, in Czech Svaty Vaclav. There is St. Wenceslas Square, which is probably the most important square in Prague because here take place all big demonstrations – last most significant was during the Velvet revolution in 1989 against communism.

statue of St. Wenceslas On Wenceslas Square there is a statue of St. Wenceslas on a horse, which is by the way a great meeting point and a must for every tourist. In Prague Castle you can find Chapel of St. Wenceslas in st. Vitus Cathedral. Czech crown, a great symbol of Czech Republic, is called after St. Wenceslas as well. There used to be a 20 CZK banknote with his portrait, now it is however replaced with 20 CZK coin. St. Wenceslas is simply everywhere.

What is so special about him?
He is a patron saint of Bohemia, and so every time when the Czech nation was in a stew, Czechs prayed to St Wenceslas to help them. An old legend says that a huge army of knights sleeping inside some mountain in the Czech Republic will awake under the command of St. Wenceslas to help Czechs in time of ultimate danger. And since the Czechs had to go through both First and Second World Wars, Hitler’s rule as well as Stalin’s control without the help of St. Wenceslas, one may only wonder what an ultimate danger is going to be like!

View over the Wenceslas Square But why Wenceslas? Who was this famous guy who ordered to build the future St. Vitus Cathedral on the Prague Castle? Was he real?

He is known in the English speaking world as the subject of the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” – yes, it is the same Wenceslas as the one on the Wenceslas Square – Duke of Bohemia, born in 907.

Wenceslas was raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmila. She was a kind and a wise woman, and Wenceslas loved her dearly. When he became the Duke, he listened to her advices carefully and fulfilled many of her wishes. This, however, made the mother of Wenceslas very jealous. She wanted to suppress the influence that Ludmila had on her son, and wished to rule herself. So she ordered to kill her mother-in-law! St. Ludmila was strangled when asleep!

Wenceslas Square and the National Museum This angered Wenceslas and had his mother exiled. And ruled happily till he was murdered by his younger brother who was power-mad! Wenceslas was hacked to pieces on his way to church in 929 or 935. His beloved brother became his successor. Oh, those medieval times!

After his death, Wenceslas was canonised as a saint due to his martyr’s death, as well as several purported miracles that occurred after his death. His feast day is September 28, and since the year 2000, this day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic – celebrated as Czech Statehood Day.

You can see St. Ludmila, the grandmother of St. Wenceslas, on the statue of St. Wenceslas. She is standing on his right. Around her neck is what she had been strangled with.

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