Prague, part 4

p1120612If one has more than two days to spend in Prague, (s)he will most probably come back to the castle again, at least to have another look at the city, even if it’s a cold, windy day. This time around, we’ll look at the outer walls of the palaces overlooking the river, then look down.p1120520p1120607p1120609On a sunny day, it looks a lot more cheerful, of course. So does the city below.p1120525p1120515But wait, what’s that dark wall over there? Closer …p1120511Still uncertain … Let’s get down there.

It’s actually within the Waldstein Palace complex, which I approached from the direction of the garden.p1120615_waldstein-palSome interesting sculptures can also be seen in the garden as we approach that wall.p1120618p1120618p1120622p1120623Some of those sculptures are quite old, this Laokoon below, for example, by a Dutch sculptor, is from the early 17th century.p1120626To the left of this path is that wall, which turns out to be called ‘dripstone’, which, outside of geology, is a a stone moulding used as a drip, also called ‘hood mould’. I’ve been to countless cities around Europe and China, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a wall. A rare sight indeed …p1120628_dripstonep1120629and there is even a big aviary for eagle owls made of these walls there.p1120632After having a good look, we can retract our steps and then, on the left side, we can go through a door to the Senate of the Czech Parliament – we have actually seen this entrance down the path among the sculptures, above. Here we get into a nice inner yard. p1120635_walstein-palaceThis is the Senate building, where, in the basement, we can see a nice collection of presents presented to members of the Parliament and other government official on their visits to a lot of countries around the world, from Zimbabwe through Turkey to Malaysia and further – a rare collection of people’s self-reflection.p1120638p1120640Only then did I find the front of the palace. Looking around a bit here, I finish my accounts of Prague. Hope you’ve enjoyed all of it and that you can also visit this gem of Middle-Europe, or similar Czech cities if you haven’t already been there.p1120642p1120643p1120645p1120648p1120650

By P.S.

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Prague, part 3

p1120534A bit long after the previous post, but not forgetting this wonderful city, I’m starting out at a quite inglorous place – at first sight, those odious shafts above the river catch the sight of the visitor. However, the house in the middle is the Smetana Museum. We mustn’t forget that Prague was the birthplace or working home of numerous excellent Czech composers, some of whom are famous, like Smetana, some less famous but non-the-less excellent, like Vítězslav Novák (https://youtu.be/8TITh5lXxiE?list=LL06KyV5SXeGc9T-4-ioIqsw), Zdenek Fibich or (Isaac) Ignaz Moscheles (https://youtu.be/WmILM1ruuFE?list=LL06KyV5SXeGc9T-4-ioIqsw) among others. However, beside Dvorak, Smetana is definitely the most well-known Czech composer, so let us see his statue a bit taken out of these inglorious surroundings: p1120538This time, we are going to concentrate exclusively on the other side of the river, so we’re crossing over the Charles Bridge again and approaching the castle differently. Actually, the following routes are the more usual ways to approach than those in my previous posts. On the way, though, there’s an interesting, partly underground shopping area, which reminds us of the fact that the Czech were once also famous about their crystal-ware. How much of it is real now is anybody’s guess. p1120540 But take heart, there are at least scores, if not hundreds of other shops in the area selling something similar stuff.p1120546 On the other end of the bridge, we find ourselves in small but beautiful streets again. p1120549p1120550p1120554_st-michaelp1120552Under those arcades, lots of small pubs, restaurants and vendors can be found – but behind them, we can also get a glimpse of real life: p1120555p1120558p1120560Having reached the upper level of the castle, it is worth crossing a bridge over an old ditch under the walls on the other side. A rare, but beautiful aspect of the cathedral, real old castle walls and a nice garden is our prize. p1120567p1120569p1120571My real aim today is, however, inside the castle: the Lobkowicz Palace. The building is huge, though not particularly interesting, but inside there is a good museum from the collection of this once mighty family over the centuries. Be generous with your purse, though: the entrance fee is rather steep, about €14. Most of the paintings are, uninterestingly for me, are portraits of old family members and related people one tends to forget, but the artefacts are mostly very fine.p1120583p1120584p1120585p1120587p1120588p1120590p1120591p1120592p1120593p1120594p1120595p1120596Some members of the family used to be very refined musicians, so a room full of their instruments is in order – if I remember well, Beethoven is said to occasionally be among the guests who played on some of them along the earl.p1120597There are a few very interesting paintings in the last room: originals by Canaletto and a couple of others. From the historical view, at least, they are very-very interesting.p1120598p1120603Leaving the museum-palace, we pass some other beautiful views, like this gate to the plaything museum, but I’m leaving you here before you get too tired. The last part of my Prague posts is still to come.p1120508

by P.S.