Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Prague

Having a week off work I took the opportunity to spend a few days in Prague.

This is the hotel, down the river from the main centre, and far enough away that I could have a restlful night.

The bed

This is the Dancing Building, located close to the hotel. It had it's "waist" pulled in so that local residents didn't have their view of the river on the right obscured. It's designed by Gehry who has done quite a few similar buildings around the world.

A close up of some ornate tower located alongside the river.

The towered gate at one end of the main bridge in the city; Charle's Bridge.

A shot of the main castle complex overlooking the river.

Nice statue close to the old square.

A view of the old square with Tyn cathedral in the background.

People gathering to watch the hourly chime of the famous Astrological clock.

A market near the old square.

A theatre building.

Looking down Wenceslas Square. It's very touristy.

The National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. It's currently undergoing a major overhaul and was closed.

Loving the buildings.

A cool looking piece of graffiti by Blu. I found this totally by chance.

The castle at night.

The castle and Charles Bridge.

The far end of the Charle's bridge with the other tower gate.

Another theatre, this time along the river.

Tyn Cathedral

More cool buildings with the Dancing Building at the extreme left.

Charles Bridge during the day. It gets very popular even more so that its undergoing some renovation and part of it is closed.

The lines on the left of the door show how high the water level got when the river burst its banks. The highest line is the most recent flood back in 2002.
This piece of art is at the entrance of the Kafka Museum. Called "Piss" its by renowned Czech artist David Cerny. The two statues piss into a pool shaped like the Czech Republic. You can send a text message to a number and the statue will then spell out the message with the piss.


A small enclosed park hidden in the city offers some respite from the traffic.

The largest hidden park is the Wallenstein Gardens.


The detail inside the main stage building is quite stunning.

To the West of the park is this large stalactite structure.

A sign within one of the main goverment buildings next to the gardens. I guess carrying a gun at any other time is alright.

Heading up the hill towards the castle.

Most of the embassies are now found within some of the posher structures around the castle complex.

Halfway up the hill looking back towards Prague. In the distance is the telcommunication tower.

The Archbishops home atop the hill and within the castle complex. 

A random queue of traditionally dressed Czechs parade through the outer square in the castle.

The Schwarzenberg Palace displays a fake 3D effect given the name Sgrafitti. So now you know where it comes from.

St Vitus Cathedral is the main building within the castle complex.

St George killing a tiny dragon.

The red building is St George's Basilica. The best example of Romanesque architecture in the city.

Inside the Basilica.

The back end of St Vitus cathedral.

Inside the old castle building.

Overlooking the city.

It was a Sunday and the Cathedral was being used for Mass so the tourists had to wait. I chose not to queue up and make the most of the 2-day ticket by coming back the next day.

Angels at one end of the bridge North of the city.

This giant Metronome overlooks the city from the north.

The home of AC Sparta football club out to the north in a quite run down part of town.

The Vystaviste complex was built for a world's fair some while back. Loving the main exhibition hall.

A small amusement park can be found here. It's the only one in the city.

The fair is huge and popular in February, not so in September. I was the only person visiting.

The main coaster was a bit rough.

Although it looks like a fairground ride its actually a small coaster.

Tesla Hall is home of one of the city's ice hockey teams.

The main hall again, with a rather ominous storm approaching. Fortunately it didni't rain.

Anyone for cubism?

A painted cow in the business sector of the city. Subliminal messages?

Fancy paint work heading up the hill towards the telecommunication tower.

The tower

Another installation by David Cerny with about a dozen babies crawling all over the structure.

Nice stencil

The Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord is a modern church. The main clock window is fully see through, which is pretty cool.

A nice simple piece.

The museum at the top of Wenceslas Square.

A post-communist piece dominates the museum building.

The memorial to Jan Hus, a protestor who set himself alight at this spot.

Looking down Wenceslas Square.

Radost FX is a nightclub at night but a cool relaxing bar during the day.

A rather amusing name for a local band.

There is a second castle complex south of the city; Vysehrad. At the top is Church of Peter and Paul.

The largest supermarket chain in the city is Tesco and this is a 5-storey monster store. Rather unfortunate.

Another Cerny piece, this time in the Lucerne Passage, an Art Deco row of shops.

A cubist lampost. The only one in the world apparently.


Inside the Lucerne Passage.

One of the many religious statues on the Charles Bridge.

The Western gate.

Another Cerny piece this time hidden in the grounds of the German Embassy. It celebrates the time a lot of Eastern Germans were allowed back into the West and them leaving behind their Trabant cars.

St Vitus Cathedral taken from a nearby monastery.

The monastery entrance.

The observation tower West of the city.

The city's observatory is atop the same hill as the observation tower.

Heading south down hill back towards the city.

Another palace now museum building.

Funny names for their energy drinks. I had both and felt fine all day!

A statue commermorating the movement out of communism.

A vernicular railway takes people up to the top of the hill. I chose to walk it and paid the price :D

Steampunk statues in Prague.

The John Lennon wall is an open wall for people to write a load of positive messages.

not to be confused with the "Lenin" wall.

A giant dog at the Kampa Art Museum.

The city offers a river tour but I don't think you'd get to see too much from down there.

Back at the castle and the queue today was much shorter.

Inside the cathedral.

The Wenceslas chapel.

Charles Bridge.

A unique way of seeing the city.

The city does have a few beggars, this one had a dog and two rats he'd trained to kiss his tongue. A little bit weird.

The Rudolfinium is home to the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

Another view of the castle.

Tyn Cathedral

A rather peculiar Nazgul statue.

This was a famous building where the former leader who had been in exile came out to celebrate with his people following the anti-communist protests. Now its a Marks and Spencers. How sad!

Kavarna Slavia is a massive dining hall where in years past revolutionaries would meet for drinks and planning sessions.

Penguin lights at the Kampa Museum.

The Mala Strana at night.

Charles Bridge.



More shots of the castle at night.


A lone fisherman gets an early start on the river.


Finally I made good use of the pano mode on my camera and put together the following from around the city.