Prague – First glimpse

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My introduction to Prague was through Professor Cilek’s guided walk tour. We first stopped at a monastery with a spectacular view: to the left, not very far, was Prague Castle with its beautiful gothic spires, across the Vltava river, was the city in its splendour. As we walked towards Prague castle the cobbled streets enchanted me. I took a picture and wondered how how old the streets were. My foremost thought was the landscape. How has it changed or has it changed at all? What was its shape and form before the 20th century?

The next stop of the tour wasn’t Prague castle but its extensive garden/grounds. We didn’t see the inside of the castle nor walked along its perimeter but even from afar the confluence of romanesque, gothic and renaissance influences were apparent. The castle looked magnificent from where we were situated. In the park is a “singing fountain” with bronze sculptures of hermaphrodite demons. They made me laugh and sitting below its wide bowl, Professor Cilek demonstrated why it was called thus: when struck, the fountain sings. It reminded me of Asian singing bowls used during buddhist ceremonies to induce peace and meditation.

As we walked out of the castle grounds towards the city centre, we stopped on top of a hill overlooking the main bridges connecting lesser town Prague and old town Prague. Standing on top of that hill, looking down at the Vltava river, I was reminded of majesty. Prague carries its beauty like a queen. I bet each building tells a story, some sad and cruel, others whimsical and ordinary. Prague’s urban landscape rarely includes new architectural structures or features. It’s the first time I’ve encountered a city that hasn’t undergone a major architectural change. I don’t know if Czechs are hesitant to change the city since Prague’s charm relies heavily on its historical past.

The walk ended at Charles University. It didn’t hit me that I was really taking classes in Prague until I saw the view outside the classroom window: Prague castle on my horizon and the National theatre across from the university. What I’ve realized just being in Prague for a day is how the past is a persistent feature of the present. It is preserved for consumption and commodification. Thousands of tourist arrive each year to take part in its medieval pageantry. I’m part of that line of tourist. I don’t know what I will find out about Prague, so far, I’ve been charmed by its bridges and cobble stone streets, but a city isn’t without its secrets and I’d like to uncover some of them. Investigate if it has a truant side, know the path it took (both sordid and reputable) to become the metropolis that it is today.

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About carouselcalvo

poetry, prose, random musings
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4 Responses to Prague – First glimpse

  1. PragueByKaty says:

    Thanks a lot for your liking Prague and just to informa you, yes, some places we changed withmore or less respect to the place. For example New Scene – big glass building by the Natinal Theatre. It is from 1983 and I like it. Dancing house just a bit further is also nice. But ordinary office building at Charles Square or Myslbek center at Na příkopech are not that good I think. More new office buldings are in Pankrac, you can see them from Prague castle view on the horizon.
    BTW we call cobble stones on streets: “Cats heads” :-).

  2. PragueByKaty says:

    And I have a question, when you write about Charles university, there is so many buildings of it all around Prague and I don’t know which one you mean. Across from National theatre there is something like Social sciences and there used to be Film depratment (sorry I don’t know how it is now), but your map points to Lesser Town Square to the building of Mathematical Faculty of Charles University (I studied in this building :-)), but this one is definitelly not by the National Theatre. Where have you ended up?

    • The university is near the famous old town square. I had classes there for two months. I might be wrong about calling the theatre across from the university ‘National.’ If that is incorrect, I do apologize.

      😀

      • PragueByKaty says:

        No problem :-), I was just wondering. If it was green than it was Estates theatre, but in fact still there is so many options, where you were … 🙂

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