Monday, June 9, 2008

Prague, Czech Republic...Beauty, Rich History and Tourists

Photographs taken from the weekend of May 10th, 2008:
I had relatively low expectations for my trip to Prague but I was excited to see one of the few places in Europe with original (not recreated) architecture after the bombings of World War II. The extent of my knowledge was that it was a beautiful place and I had to go. This was based on colleague feedback alone. There were some warnings of it being a tourist trap (and it kind of was), but all in all it was a great weekend there. Here are some photos:
Týn Church (Overlooking Old Town square...Many people just hang out in this area)

Statue I liked in the Old Town Square:
Old Town Hall tower:

Prague Marathon:
As I made my way through old town square, on the way to the Charles Bridge, I ran with massive heard of people who were heading in the same direction. I quickly became impatient with waiting in a long line of people that jammed the sidewalks, so I decided to make my way via the street. Before I knew it, I noticed the streets were gated off and I could no longer get to the sidewalk. I then started thinking to this road gated off for the actual marathon that was about to take place? A few seconds later, several people jogged by, then a few more (numbers across their chests and everything)...I quickly realized that it was not for the marathon but for some sort of race sponsored by Volkswagon. I mushed on. Up ahead was a huge finish (similar to the one below) where people were crossing and then given nifty medallions for their efforts. Dare I? I thought to myself. I make a quick dash to the finish line and confidently approached the guardian of the prizes. Well done! She said, as she placed the medal over my head and around my neck. Oh yes, victory was mine.
Astronomical clock (Very impressive for a clock that dates back to 1410. It was all the rage back then)
St Nicholas Cathedral:
Very beautiful cathedral...One interesting tidbit I learned there was that Mozart's requiem was carried out in this very cathedral back in 1791.

Prague Castle (Apparently the biggest ancient castle in the world, according to Guiness)

St Vitus Cathedral:

The Great South Tower:
I consider myself to be in reasonably good shape, but I must say that the steep and narrow climb to the top of the south tower of the cathedral was not for the feint of heart. But...Once you get there, the views are simply spectacular.
Charles Bridge:
I thought this view of the Charles Bridge did it the most justice. The bridge was shoulder to shoulder on my multiple trips over it so showing a snapshot of that mess made no sense. A little history: Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau), the Charles Bridge used to be the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas until 1841
Wenceslas Square and the National Museum:
This area is a very popular strip with restaurants and shops that lead up to the National Museum.

The Prague Opera House:
To finish off my weekend I attended my first opera which I found to be quite enjoyable.

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