Praha, June 13-15, 2000:
Kathleen visited Prague after the fall of communism, and remembered it held many treasures. From the looks of things, those treasures have been discovered by many others in the ten years since.
A fair copy of the sky outside makes up the ceiling of Strahav Monastery's Library.
Their collection includes fine illustrated manuscripts like this star chart.
These charts date back to ancient Greece, and tell the name of each star in a constellation along with the time and date it will appear. When these books were 'rediscovered' after the dark ages. they formed the basis for reliable celestial navigation, opening the globe to Europe.
The big news in navigational aids today is the computer browser.
Prague is flush with sign holders directing you to the nearest portal.
Many of these are trendy cafes set up to provide fast internet, an iced coffee, and, surprise, a little anti-American snobbery as well.
Up on the castle hill, the guard changes to the beat of a brass band every hour to deter terrorists and attract tourists. Their new uniforms were commissioned by Playwright-President Vaclave Havel from the costume designer for the movie Amadeus.
Further along on the castle hill is the Toy Museum. Special show: Barbie's 40th Birthday. Why I remember when she was no bigger than my forearm...
The level of tourism here is much higher than anywhere else we've been in Eastern Europe.
We'd think we were in Rome or London.
Or even Venice.
As masks are to Venice, puppets are to Prague. Shops with exquisite specimens can be found anywhere, as are invitations to Mozart operas performed by marionettes.
Charles' Bridge is the place to buy photos of this attractive monument without tourists on it.
It's no longer possible to get capture such a photo with your own camera.
We wondered about one of the monuments on the bridge. It's a Jesus surrounded by Hebrew letters. Legend has it that a Jew was caught mocking Jesus, and for his safety, he gave the city the money to put gold lettering on this statue.
The weather was so hot when we were there, the city had trucks spraying water just to cool off the streets.
In the center of Old Town is where most people congregate. At the modern extreme, a large video board is set up for concerts.
At the Gothic extreme, an Astronomical Clock shows the locations of the sun and moon relative to the zodiac and the shifting seasons.
On the hour the figures of apostle march past the windows up top, and the figures of Death, Greed and Vanity shake in terror below them. The crowd claps politely when it's done; they seem respectful of the best automated entertainment available 700 years ago.
On our way out of town, we admired the billboards.
The advertisers here don't seem to worry much about subtlety.
Page || Meet
Kathleen & H. Woods || Purchase
Kathleen's Fine Art Photography || H. Woods' Reading Room
Our Favorite Links ||