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Monday, February 15, 2010

Praha

The city of 100 spires, a city on the river Vltava and nine hills!


   praha, prague old town square

Prague turned out to be a big contrast to Turkey.

Arriving from ever busy Istanbul to Prague late at night to find ourselves surrounded by dark Bohemian and Gothic buildings while dragging big rucksacks on our back in freezing cold and wet drizzle was sort of scary.

There were not many people around at that time of night. Bus dropped us off somewhere close to the old town square. Now all we had was one “many times folded” map of central Prague and the address of hostel we had booked online long time ago. We were just hoping it existed in real world.

It did. “Hotel Hastal”. And it wasn’t too bad. They offered free breakfast but most of the items were finished even before we got to our table next morning, so what time you want to wake up for the breakfast will depend on the number of guests staying in the hostel!

Gargoyle on Charles Bridge

old town square prague praha gothic

Prague, nicknamed the Golden City, is the capital of the Czech republic and ancient Bohemia. Czechoslovakia, or Czech Republic since 1993, used to be a cheap eastern European destination but not anymore. Since becoming a part of EU recently it has become almost as expensive for food, accommodation and particularly the famous Czech crystal and glassworks.

Prague is known for it's cheap beer. Czech food uses lots of pork, and both these items are not really on our priority list! It was not easy to find some edible food until we came across the 'four chillies' cafe in the back alleys of the old town. We loved it.

prague praha

prague praha

Prague is petty, but 2-3 days usually would be enough unless you are here for party time.

Old town square is the starting point to explore the hundreds of old gothic, bohemian and baroque buildings and a complicated network of narrow streets. The astronomical clock in the old town square is one of the icons of Prague. One day a prisoner, looking at this famous astronomical clock, noticed that a sparrow was caught in the mouth of Death. The unlucky man believed that sight to be a bad omen and thought that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. But, as the next hour stroke, the clock started moving again, the jaw of Death opened and, to the prisoner's great relief, the sparrow set itself free and flew away. A few days later the convict was released from prison and was free again.

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River Vltava and Charles bridge are the other main attractions which constitute most of the photos of Prague and postcards you will see in the city. However you will be extremely lucky if you can find a time when he bridge is not heavily crowded with tourists taking each others' photos in all types of simple, funny, style attempting and semi erotic poses.  Next to old town is the Jews quarter, but not surprisingly you will be charge for pretty much every building you want to visit, so how much of the Jewish quarter you want to see depends on your pocket.

Vltava river

Jews have always been an important part of Prague.

In the 11th and 12th century, the Jews of Prague suffered from persecution first at the hands of the Crusaders, and second during the siege of the Prague Castle. Many survivors of the crusades were forced to convert to Christianity. In 1179, the church announced that Christians should avoid touching Jews.

In 13th century the Council mandated that Jews must wear distinctive clothes, were prohibited from holding public office and were limited in the amount they could charge for interest on loans.

In 14th century the Prague clergy encouraged mobs to pillage, ransack and burn the Jewish quarter. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague perished. Many of the remaining women and children were baptized.

The 17th century is considered the Golden Age of Jewish Prague. In 1745 Maria Theresa of Austria ordered expulsion of Jews from Prague based on their alleged collaboration with the Prussian army!

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 prague praha


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow its wonderful

Jonny York said...

I was stuck next to a really fat guy on a very long flight not long ago. He was way over the boundary between the two seats, and was ticked at me for not contorting my body way the hell over the opposing arm rest.

Ipsmus said...

That's a shame.
Carrier should penalize overweight passengers, by charging them for two seats if they can't fit comfortably into one and there are no other seats available.
But... can the airlines keep up with the growing size of American fliers???

Ipsmus said...

That's a shame.

Carrier should penalize overweight passengers, by charging them for two seats if they can't fit comfortably into one and there are no other seats available.

But... can the airlines keep up with the growing size of American fliers???

Anonymous said...

save the world from americans...

Anonymous said...

no doubt americans are getting fatter and fatter...

plenty of innocent blood in the world to drink!

they are the number one fat nation in the world currently

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