Sunday, June 12, 2011

Czech Republic

My grandfather immigrated to America from the Czech Republic when Bohemia was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When the Iron Curtain fell, my dad wrote, looking for relatives who were still there. They still remembered our branch of the family. My husband and I had the chance to visit them the first year we were married. We were living in Germany and it was a day's train trip over to Bohemia. The Czech Republic is beautiful--green, forested, and dotted with ponds and castles. Our camera was not very good and these photos do not do it justice. If you ever have a chance, you should definitely visit!

Zamek (Castle) Blatná:

Zamek Březnice. These are not actual bricks. The building is painted to look this way. In Prague we also saw many of these "optical illusion" buildings.

Parish church and street corner (with Maypole) in Hvožd’any (Přibram district):

I think just about every single building in Prague is photo-worthy. So many different, interesting styles! And there is always a reason to gather. We were there on the weekend the Czech Republic played Germany in the World Cup, hence the Czech flags and people filling the square. (They were watching on outdoor screens.) We also visited Wenceslas Square, where the people gathered to protest the communist government. The Czech Republic's transition was peaceful, unlike Romania's, and it's known as the Velvet Revolution.

Staré Město is Prague's Old Town. The famous Orloj (clock) is there. The creator of the clock supposedly got his eyes poked out so he couldn't create anything to rival it. There's a statue of Czech reformer Jan Hus, the sharp peaks of the Týn Church, and some art nouveau buildings.

Prague is home to many churches like this:

The capital/castle complex is called Hradčany. It towers above Prague on a hill above the Vltava River. You may know this river better by it's German name, die Moldau, because of Smetana's tone poem of the same name.

The Karlův most, or Charles Bridge, is one of many bridges over the Vltava. It is made of stone and decorated with stone figures all across it.

At the castle complex is the St. Vitus Cathedral. Smallish for a cathedral, but beautiful.

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