The City of Defenestration

Good Morning, Prague

We woke up on Saturday morning ready to conquer the city.  After a great breakfast in the executive suite (perks of being attached to a frequent traveler), we met our guide, Lucie, in the lobby of the hotel.  She had a great 4 hours planned for us, starting on the other side of town at the palace.  We rode the subway and then a tram to get there.

Daryl, Russ, and Lauren in Prague Subway

Russ and Lauren and our guide, Lucie

As we hopped off the tram and began walking, we encountered our first glimpse into Prague’s obsession with strange ways to die.  An homage to two scientists: Tycho Brahe and and Johannes Kepler.  Poor Tycho had the unfortunate circumstance of the unusual death.  A true gentleman, Tycho refused to leave the King’s banquet when the King himself was present, despite the fact that he really had to use the bathroom.  Instead of getting pissed, (sorry, I couldn’t resist), Tycho held his bladder until the King left the room, which proved to be very unfortunate for him; some historians attribute his death to a burst bladder, others say kidney failure.  Either way, our first insight into odd death involved the privilege to pee (Urinetown, the musical, anyone?).

Russ and Poor Old Tycho

 After viewing the statue, we climbed the hill and entered into the grounds of the Strahov Monastery, a beautiful complex, and in which they have one of the largest collections of original books in the world.

Pope Marks the Spot!

Strahov Monastery

Oddly, the monastery rested just inside the fortication wall for this side of the city.  The Palace relied on the protection of the monastery to defend them from incoming danger.  The only other buildings leading up to the Palace were old houses and palaces of aristocrats.  Stunning!

The View from Castle Town

Daryl and the View from Castle Town

 

Walking Through Castle Town

Prague Created and Borrowed Architecture. This Facade is Borrowed from Italy.

The Intricacy of the Etching

And Finally, The Palace!!

The Guards Aren't Just for Show; the current Czech President works out of the palace

"Giants" Guarding the Palace

 Prague’s history is long and pretty twisted, just like many other old European cities.  I’ll try to clean it up and only tell the important parts.  Before there was a Czech Republic, Prague was part of a region called Bohemia.  And from the 10th Century on, it pretty much went like this: King dies, war breaks out, religious strife, King is ousted, religious strife, war breaks out, repeat repeat repeat.  Except that Prague was one of the most important cities of the region throughout the mess of wars and abdications, and Prague was a center of Protestantism even before the emergence of Martin Luther. 

Cathedral in Palace Grounds

The cathedral in the above picture is literally inside of the Palace, or at least inside of the palace grounds.  To attend church, people had to enter through the palace gates.  Services are still held in this church and it is open to the public, despite Czech’s presidential seat lying nearby.

The Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

Crystal Mosaic on Cathedral

And now, the presence of the cathedral leads me to Prague’s favorite way to kill someone: DEFENESTRATION.  A reminder that defenestration literally means pushing someone out of the window and that this act was named for the city of Prague.  This is because Prague has two very famous cases of defenestration in its past. 

DEFENSTRATION #1: Hussites (basically early Protestants) were unhappy with the Catholic Church and felt that there was a lot of corruption.  In an attempt to persuade the city councilmen to release Hussite prisoners, a group of Hussites marched on the square.   Unfortunately while they were marching, a stone was thrown at the head of the organizer.  In a rage the mob stormed into the castle and proceeded to toss all 13 city council members out of the window to their death on the cobblestones below.

Defenestration Window One

Window of Pain-Defenestration Window #2

DEFENESTRATION #2: Though defenestration was definitely known by the time the 1600’s rolled around, I suppose it had not been perfected.  At this time, King Ferdinand (a Catholic) was expected to inherit the throne of Bohemia.  This caused a big problem for Protestants who feared oppression.  So what should one do? Throw the big-wig Regents out the 3rd story window!  Unfortunately for those unlucky Protestants, the men landed safely on a huge pile of dung.  And because of this incident (and others as well) the 30 yrs. war began.  Who would have guessed that so much of the #1 Bohemian city’s problems all existed because of #2.  Teehee.

Anywayyyy….from Castle Town we made our way down through Lesser Town which is full of more palaces and beautiful houses of the noblemen. 

Making Our Way Into Lesser Town

The doors were absolutely stunning!

The Seat of Congress

Russ and Lauren in the Congress Gardens

Daryl Outside the Artwall Which Can Only Be Described as "Ghoulish"

After 4 great hours of walking and learning, we had to let Lucie go.  Plus, we were pretty hungry and ready to have a seat!  We ended up at one of Lucie’s recommended restaurants, “Kolkovna.” 

Kolkovna Czech Cuisine

Russ and Daryl at Kolkovna

Beer!

After a great lunch we retired to our quarters for awhile.  We had a big night ahead of us–dancing and singing at a traditional Czech Folklore Show!

“Czech” back later for the folklore show and Prague Day 3!!

Advertisements

One response to this post.

  1. Lauren Kate LaBarca, blogger extraordinaire!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: