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Europe Day 5: Daytime – Prague Castle

Friday June 25, 2010

I forgot to post a picture of how our hotel rooms here in Prague look like.

Onto the bus and over to the castle. On the way, the Czech tour guides gave us some info about Prague: 1.2 million people (way bigger than the 142,000 at Salzburg!) It used to be 22 districts and then combined. Now Prague is in different sections. The old town section we spent much of the day in is Prague 1. There are more than 400 towers.

The castle was built at the end of the 9th century. I forget all the styles and orders they came in. The cathedral was post-gothic. Was it neo-classic? Baroque? Rococo?

As we walked closer, there were guards in front of the gate. I think the guide said this was a Spanish government building or something.

The guards stand there without moving for one hour. Wow. I would hate to have that job.

Then into the courtyard. To the left, the black iron-looking thing is a well. The castle has 22 wells.

The cathedral is quite imposing-looking.

Amazing detail though… all carved out of stone!

This is the detail above the door.

Inside it is kind of dark but the stained glass windows are gorgeous.

They depict different scenes from the Bible. This is the day of Penetecost. The colors are so brilliant.

This one looked different than the others. It was painted by an artist. (Can’t remember the name.) I really love the cool, beautiful colors.

Inside of the cathedral. I like this photo because it gives a sense of how huge this place is.

Here’s the window opposite the one above.

And a picture of the vaulted ceilings.

This window reminds me of Notre Dame.

Inside the castle is a room for St. Wenceles. I guess he was Czech, but I can’t remember what he did. I think she said he is buried to the bottom right. To the right of the room is a large door with 7 locks, behind which is the Coronation jewels. The 7 keys are given to 7 different people and they can only open it when the 7 people get together. I think she said something like the Prime Minister has one, the mayor has one, and other important people.

Another cool view. This place is immense.

The one side of the cathedral is black but the opposite side looks really clean.

The stone is sandstone, which absorbs all the particles from smog, making it black. It is very expensive to clean. You can see the difference from before and after!

Lots of flying buttresses and spires.

The tour guide was very knowledgeable. I am amazed how these people speak different languages so well!

After the tour, a quick break for Megan to hug a tree. Can you tell she’s from California?

There was a blacksmith there making some kind of decoration.

He made things like this:

We looked around and then started walking down towards the old town square. That castle was high up!

I noticed there are a lot of red roofs around.

Along the way, we stopped at a cool-looking drinking fountain.

And we walked past a wall of posters… and there was the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s!

We walked across the Charles Bridge. The view back was very cool!

We ended the 3-hour walking tour at the old town center. It was a very busy place! Good thing we wore our blue shirts – made it a lot easier to find each other!

Poor kids… some were tired!

Then we split up and found our own place for lunch. We went up to the second floor of a restaurant. There is a lot of American food around here. Well, actually American food is a mixture of different nationalities. This time I had salad Nicoise.

The waiter seated us right by the window in front of the astronomical clock.

We could see the square a little better from above.

Every hour on the hour, the astronomical clock has windows that open with figures that pass through, depicting Jesus and his 12 disciples.

Here’s another view of the clock.

After the figures pass through, a guy in a trumpet plays a song at the very top of the tower. You can see him in the center archway.

After that, we wandered around town shopping. The kids were very funny. Here Amy is wearing 3 pairs of sunglasses.

There were many shops of handcrafted goods. This one had amazing chess sets.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel. There are interesting signs around. I couldn’t figure out this one. What is that in the bottom right corner? It kind of looks like a chicken.

Afterwards, it was time to rest briefly before heading off to the concert hall for rehearsal!

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  • Reply Glen Nielsen

    St. WENCESLAUS (or WENCESLAS).

    Wow. The architecture and engineering in those cathedrals are unbelievable! Must have taken a lifetime to build those things. The scale is just crazy-big!!!

    On one hand, it inspires awe … on the other, seems like a gigantic waste of space. No matter how you slice it, a maintenance nightmare.

    Gorgeous shots and angles … it just keeps getting better!

    June 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm
  • Reply Albert

    Wow — Prague is beautiful!

    June 28, 2010 at 12:48 am
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