Be there at full hour! (Part One)

Jun 2, 14:42 Filed under sightseeing

The Astronomical Clock While in Prague, you should pay attention to the time. Good timing is really crucial here. Every full hour something interesting is going on. There are special attractions that charm not only tourists but locals too. Among the best known are Astronomical Clock and Loretta. But there is more than that.

Every full hour, the Astronomical clock, which dates from the beginning of the 15th century, offers a little show. Parts of the Astronomical clock are set in motion – Twelve Apostles salute the viewers in a procession at the doorway above the clock, while other four figures, which are a bit harder to detect, move too.

The Loreto They are below the Apostles, two on each corner. They represent Death, Turk, Miser and Vanity. The Death is ringing the bell, the Turk is shaking his head, the Miser shaking his bag and Vanity looking at the mirror. At the end, a golden rooster situated almost at the top crows. The show ends with the sounds of chimes. It is really incredible if you consider how old the clock is!

Another great place where you should be at full hour is Loretta, located in Letenske namesti 7 not far from Prague Castle. Loretta is famous for its beautiful carillon melody that is played daily every full hour from 9 am to 6 pm. 27 bells are used. It is like from a fairytale! So when you are in the castle district, don’t forget to stop by. It is best reached from tram station Pohorelec (22, 23). But the bells are not the most valuable things there. It is the liturgical treasury, so-called Prague Sun, which is embellished with 6,222 diamonds!!! If you want to see it you must pay a fee. Open is daily, except for Mondays.

White Tower at Prague Castle

May 27, 18:58 Filed under sightseeing

White Tower at Prague Castle, sometimes called New White Tower to be distinguishable from the White Tower between the II and III courtyard, is situated at the west end of the Golden Lane. This tower was used as a prison for noblemen since 1584, the last prisoner left the tower in 1743. Most of the prisoners were debtors and rioters. Even though the tower is not open to the public, it has a very interesting but also frightening history… (read more)

The Ball Game Hall near Prague Castle

May 26, 15:22 Filed under sightseeing

Do you wonder what people did in the past to enjoy themselves? This question can be also partly answered by visiting the Ball Game Hall located near Prague Castle and founded in 1569 by Bonifaz Wohlmut. This hall has a vivid history.

All those who like sport, especially tennis, might be interested that Ball Game Hall used to serve as a place for many games. Noblemen and noblewomen used to throw here leather balls or used a feather ball and a racket in the game very similar to the present badminton… (read more)

National Memorial at Vitkov

May 22, 15:22 Filed under sightseeing

Behind the statue of Jan Zizka on Vitkov Hill you can see a massive building of National Monument that was built in the years 1927 – 32 in honour of Czech legionary and foundation of the former Czechoslovakia. Vitkov Hill in Prague was a good place for the monument. Not only was there the battle of Hussites against Crusaders, but also 15 000 people demonstrated here in 1868 to support Czech national revival. One of the founder stone for the National Theatre was broken off there at the same year.

Inside the National Monument you can find a memorial hall which contains the largest organs in the Czech Republic. Later the monument was used as a mausoleum for the remains of Klement Gottwald and other Communist leaders… (read more)

Emauzy monastery

May 13, 14:54 Filed under sightseeing

Emauzy The Monastery Na Slovanech is bound to the famous emperor Charles IV for its foundation (1347). The ruler invited hither Slavic Benedictine monks from Dalmatia and Croatia. The area was thus destined to become the only Slavonic monastery of the entire empire. The liturgical language to be preached in was an ancient predecessor of Czech.

In the case you are asking about the name “Emauzy”, it was derived from the gospel, according to which Jesus met with his disciples near the village Emmaus. This gospel was read during the solemn consecration of the monastery and the subject was immortalized in people’s name of the place.

Another and less well known version of the story says that “Emauzy” was derived from Emmahaus (the house of Ema) nearby, which should have belonged to the castle owned by Czech queen Ema… (read more)

St Vitus Cathedral in Prague

May 10, 11:12 Filed under sightseeing

St Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle For more than 600 years, the roofs of Prague Castle have been overlooked by the towers of St Vitus Cathedral. The cathedral, whose original name is St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert Cathedral, is the biggest and the most important church in the Czech Republic. It’s the seat of the Archbishop of Prague and the place where saints, kings, princes and pmperors of Bohemia are buried. The coronations of the kings of Bohemia were held there until 1836. It’s one of the best examples of Gothic architecture.

When you walk from the II courtyard to the III courtyard the first thing you notice is the impressive western part of St Vitus Cathedral. There is also the official main entrance to the cathedral. This part of the cathedral is the newest, it was built at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century… (read more)

Kampa Island

May 3, 13:03 Filed under sightseeing

The Devil's Stream in Kampa Had you lived in the medieval times, you would have found only gardens on the entire island. A park designed in the English style can be found at the southern end of Kampa still nowadays whereas the northern part has Renaissance houses and a Baroque palace.

The very first buildings to appear here were the homes of bricklayers, carpenters and stonemasons so that they could comfortably keep an eye on Charles Bridge and maintain it in a perfect state. The square surrounded by these houses is the place where pottery used to be sold regularly. Kampa was namely also a place, where traditional pottery markets took place for centuries… (read more)

St Wenceslas Chapel in St Vitus Cathedral

Apr 30, 18:27 Filed under sightseeing

St Vitus Cathedral St Wenceslas Chapel is the masterpiece of Czech Gothic and the pride of St Vitus Cathedral. This beautifully decorated chapel is dedicated to the patron of Czech lands, St Wenceslas, a Bohemian Prince from the Premyslid dynasty assassinated by his own brother. The chapel was built on the former place of Romanesque rotunda where Wenceslas was buried. St Wenceslas Chapel still keeps the holy relics of the saint.

Charles IV built the chapel as an honour to the saint. He invited his favourite architect Petr Parler to design the chapel and he himself helped to design the place. We can still see the original look of the chapel that has stayed unchanged during the centuries… (read more)

Brevnov Monastery

Apr 26, 19:07 Filed under sightseeing

Brevnov Monastery Benedictine Archabbey of St Vojtech (Adalbert) and St Margaret (alias Brevnov Monastery) was the first friary in Bohemia. Its name is derived from a Czech expression for rough-hewn timbers. They lay scattered around the place of future monastery and were used for foundations of a village nearby, which suggests that you are reading about one of the oldest inhabited parts of Prague… (read more)

New Royal Palace at Prague Castle

Apr 22, 12:01 Filed under sightseeing

New Royal Palace at the III courtyard Probably the most spectacular and beautifully decorated halls at Prague Castle complex can be found in New Royal Palace, that, together with St Vitus Cathedral, surrounds the III courtyard of Prague Castle. The palace served as the dwelling place for many rulers in the past. Now it is used by the office of the president of the Czech Republic and its administrative. The exclusive halls inside New Royal Palace are used for the receptions of diplomats and statesmen officially invited by the president. They are open to the public only during two Czech national holidays or special events… (read more)

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