Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prague Visit - Nov. 23th-25th

Last weekend two of our friends from Nestle, Terri and Kathy and Paula and I flew to Prague, just a little over an hour from Geneva.  As we soon found out, Prague is a very vibrant city.  The people we met on the street were quite friendly.  Even more surprising was how friendly the people were at the hotel and at the restaurants we visited.  Quite a change from what we have been experiencing during our other travels in Europe.

Prague (the Czech’s pronounce it as Praha) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.  It is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union. It is also the historical capital of Bohemia.  Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million. 
Prague has been a political, cultural and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors (Rudolf II and Charles IV) and thus. also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.  It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Czechoslovakia has existed since October 1918 when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  On January 1, 1993, it was peacefully divided into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The city’s rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.1 million visitors annually. In 2011, Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe.

The first series of pictures of Prague is of their magnificent buildings.  One of the reasons that Prague has so many magnificent old buildings is that it was only bombed once during WW II.
The Bombing of Prague:
The only time that Prague was bombed was on February 14, 1945, in error. According to American pilots, the error was the result of a navigation mistake: at the same time, a massive bombing of Dresden was under way 70 miles north of Prague.
Radar navigational equipment on the aircraft was not functioning correctly, and high winds en route produced a dead reckoning navigational error of some 70 miles, causing the formation to arrive over the supposed "target" which was believed to be Dresden.  When the bombing commenced, Prague was mostly obscured by broken clouds, with occasional glimpses of the Vltava River. Prague and Dresden looked similar from the air, with rivers running through both cities.
The pilot of the lead bomber was Harold Van Opdorp, a Czech citizen "born and bred in the city" of Prague. Two members of his family were among those killed as a result of a direct attack.

The Prague Castle

The first known building on the site of Prague Castle was erected in 870 AD. In the 12th century it was replaced by a Romanesque palace. In the 14th century it was rebuilt in the Gothic style, under the reign of Charles IV. A further reconstruction of the Royal Palace then took place at the end of the 15th century.

Following a fire in 1541, Prague Castle underwent further works. The Spanish Hall was added during the reign of Rudolf II. The final alterations were made by Empress Maria Theresa.
Today, it is the largest castle complex in the world, at about 1,870 ft in length and an average of about 425 ft wide. With Its three courtyards and a number of magnificent buildings including St. Vitus Cathedral, The Royal Palace and St. George’s Basilica and Convent, it covers over 18 acres. It is the number one tourist attraction in Prague.

The castle was the ancient seat of Czech kings for centuries and is now the seat of the President of the Czech Republic.

The Archbishop of Prague lives in this yellow Rococo palace, which is located in the First Courtyard, just outside the Royal Palace gates.

The Gates to the Royal Palace.

The entrance gate is decorated with large sculptures of fighting giants.

Changing of the Royal Palace Guards - Prague Castle, First Courtyard.

The changing of the guard occurs every hour on the hour from 5am to 11pm. 

Entering the gate to the The Second Courtyard.  

Kohl´s Fountain - Prague Castle, Second Courtyard.

This large and richly decorated Baroque fountain, was made in 1686.  It is located approximately in the center of the Second Castle Courtyard. It is sometimes called the Lion´s Fountain (based on the lion statues on the pillar) or 
Leopold´s (after the emperor Leopold I under whose reign it was built). It was important as it was the biggest reservoir of water for the Prague Castle complex. 

Chapel of the Holy Cross - Prague Castle, Second Courtyard

The chapel was built in 1763.  In the 20 th century, it became temporarily a treasury for the St. Vitus Cathedral. The Prague Castle Administration now occupies the chapel.

Granite Obelisk - Prague Castle, Third Courtyard

Next to St. Vitus Cathedral (also known as the Prague Cathedral) stands this obelisk. It was designed by architect Josip Plecnik on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, in 1928. The monolith is 50 ft high and weighs112 tons.

St. George Slaying the Dragon - Prague Castle, Third Courtyard.
This granite statue of St. George slaying the Dragon, was made by Joze Plecnik in 1928 and dedicated to the victims of WWI. It is a copy of 14th century bronze statue of St. George slaying the Dragon that previously at been at this location. The original bronze statue is now located in the Convent of St. George (see below), which is located in the Prague Castle complex.

St. George's Basilica and Convent, to the right.
The basilica was founded in 920, by Vratislaus II (first King of Bohemia from 1085-1092) and is the oldest church building within the complex. It is also the best-preserved Romanesque church in Prague. 

It is dedicated to Saint George, who is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon. He is counted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the Roman Catholic Church. The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. This group originated in the 14th century, largely as a result of the epidemic, probably bubonic plague, that became known as the Black Death. 
His feast day is April 23rd and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.
In 1142 the basilica had to be rebuilt following a fire. The Baroque facade that we see today was added in 1671-1691.
Its ceiling is made of a deep, dark wood, its height accentuated by the fairly narrow width of the church. Decorative windows in the stone walls provide atmospheric lighting. The overall effect is very old world.

Within the church lie several tombs of major historic importance. In the Gothic Chapel of St. Ludmila lies the tomb of St. Ludmila, the saint and widow of the 9th century ruler Prince Borivoj (the first historically-documented Duke of Bohemia 870-889). Also buried in the basilica are Vratislav I (Duke of Bohemia from 915-921) and Boleslav II (Duke of Bohemia from 972-999).

Main altar in St. George's Basilica.

One of the side altars in St. George's Basilica.

St. Vitus Cathedral (aka Prague Cathedral).
Saint Vitus was a Christian saint from Sicily.  He died as a martyr during the persecution of Christians by the Romans in 303.  He is counted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the Roman Catholic Church. 
The cathedral is located In the center of the castle complex and is the most important cathedral in all of the Czech republic. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague.
The oldest parts of the cathedral are from the 14th century, but the cathedral was not completed in the Medieval period. The highest tower was completed in Renaissance and Baroque styles much later.
The Western portal, with its Rose Window, and both Western towers are even younger, completed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, the original Medieval plans were used for them and their relatively young age is not obvious.
The cathedral was the place of royal coronations and also the location of the remains of several famous Czech Kings (notably Charles IV, of Charles Bridge fame, more on him and the bridge later).  It also contains the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk, made of pure silver.  Located within the cathedral is the stunning St. Wenceslas Chapel, with the relics of the saint and walls decorated with gold and more than 1300 gems.
The Bell Tower holds the biggest bell in the Czech Republic

A view of the backside of the Cathedral (East side).

As the biggest cathedral or church in Prague, it is 406 ft long, with a maximum width of 196 ft in the transept. The width in the Western front (cathedral entrance) is 123 ft, the vault is 108 ft high. The main tower is 316 high, the height of the Western front towers is 269 ft, the width of the rose window within the Western front is 34 ft.

The Rose Window.

One of the many stained glass windows in the Cathedral.

The main altar in St Vitus Cathedral.

The Tomb of Saint John of Nepomuk, made entirely of Silver. 
More on him later in the blog.

St. Wenceslas Chapel in St Vitus Cathedral.
Perhaps the most outstanding place in the cathedral is this Chapel of St. Wenceslas, where the relics of the saint are kept. The room was built between 1344 and 1364. The lower part of the walls are wonderfully decorated with over 1,300 semi-precious stones and paintings about the Passion of Christ, dating from the original decoration of the chapel in 1372-1373. The upper part of the walls have paintings created between 1506 and 1509 about the life of St Wenceslas.
In the middle of St Wenceslas Chapel is the beautifully decorated tomb of St Wenceslas connected with an altar. The holy relics of the saint can be found in a case on the tombstone.

A small door with seven locks, in the south-western corner of the chapel, leads to the Crown Chamber containing the Czech Crown Jewels, which are displayed to the public only once every eight years.

The Golden Lane in the Prague Castle Complex.

This lane is situated at the eastern end of the Prague Castle, near the outer wall. The small houses were originally constructed in the 16th century for the castle guards of King Rudolph II. At the time the street was known as archery lane. It was later renamed 'golden lane' for the goldsmiths who moved into the houses in the 17th century.

The street is now largely occupied by souvenir and bookshops. Several well-known writers have lived in the small houses. The most famous writer is Franz Kafka, who stayed in this blue house, between 1916 and 1917. 

A view of the City of Prague from the Prague Castle.

A View of The Petrin Lookout Tower from the Castle.
This is a 208-foot high steel framework tower, which strongly resembles the Eiffel Tower.  Although it is much shorter than the Eiffel Tower, it stands atop a sizable hill, Petrin, which is 1,043 feet high, so the top is actually at a higher altitude than that of the Eiffel Tower.
The tower is often described as a small version of the Eiffel Tower. This is, however, not correct, because in contrast to the Eiffel Tower, The Petrin Tower has an octagonal and not a square cross section over its whole height. Further, it does not stand, as does the Eiffel Tower, on four columns of lattice steel, and the whole area under its legs is covered with the entrance hall. The only similarity is the design of the lowest cross beams in the form of round bows.
It was built by the Czech Tourist Club, which had attended the Exposition Universelle in 1889 in Paris and decided to construct a similar tower in Prague. Construction began on March 16, 1891 and was completed on August 20, 1891.
Today it is a major tourist attraction as well as a transmission tower for radio and television.

As we were leaving the Castle, we came upon a vendor selling Hot Potatoes.  On each of the skewers is a single potato that was sliced into one continuous ring and then deep fried.  They were absolutely delicious. 

Notice the price, 2 Euro or 50 KC.  The Czech Republic does not use the euro, as their currency, they use the Czech Koruna.  However, most merchants will accept the euro.    50 KC's convert to 1.98 euros. 

After eating these potatoes, we decided it was time for lunch.  After lunch we headed for the Charles Bridge,

The Charles Bridge
This famous historic bridge crosses the Vltava River.  Its construction was started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV and finished in the beginning of the 15th century.
 As the only means of crossing the Vltava River until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between the Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge, but in 1870 it was renamed the Charles Bridge in honor of Charles IV.
The bridge is 2,037 ft long and nearly 33 ft wide. Cars are not allowed on the bridge. All along the bridge are vendors selling items, such as paintings, jewellery, clothes, etc. and people singing or playing an instrument.  
The bridge railing is decorated with 30 statues depicting various saints venerated at that time. Among the most notable are the statues of St. Luthgard, the Holy Crucifix and Calvary and St. John of Nepomuk. Also well known is the statue of the knight Bruncvík, although it was erected some 200 years later and was placed below the bridge.

Beginning in 1965, all of the statues have been systematically replaced by replicas and the originals are being exhibited in the Prague National Museum.

Another view of the Charles Bridge, with some of the statues and the throng of people.

Saint Lutgardis (Lutgarde of the Sacred Heart; (1182 – June 16, 1246).
She was a Flemish saint, born in Tongeren in Belgium, and entered into religious orders at the age of twelve.  During her life she is known to have shown gifts of healing and prophecy and was adept at teaching the Gospels. She was blind for the last eleven years of her life and died of natural causes.  According to tradition, she experienced a vision in which Christ informed her of her death. Her feast day is June 16th.

The Knight Bruncvik.

On one the bridge's piers is the sculpture of the knight and former Czech ruler, Bruncvík.  He had a magic sword that could behead any enemy all by itself (a fact that surely took some pressure off Bruncvik in tough situations).
According to legend, this sword is hidden inside the Charles Bridge. The legend continues that a huge army of Czech knights led by St. Wenceslas, sleeps inside Mount Blanik (47 miles south of Prague). The knights will awaken and help the Motherland when she is in great danger. According to the legend, there will be signs: trees in the Blanik woods will get dry, but old dead oak trees will be green again and a small spring by the mountain will become a river. Then during an epic battle between the Czechs and their overwhelming enemy, the Blanik knights will come to their aid led by St. Wenceslas on his white horse. The enemy will retreat to Prague, where the Charles Bridge will split open and reveal Bruncvik's sword.  Armed with this Excalibur-like weapon, Wenceslas will defeat the enemy. 

A View of the Vltava River from the Charles Bridge.

John of Nepomuk (c. 1345 – March 20, 1393). 

He is a national saint of the Czech Republic, who was drowned in the Vltava River at the behest of Wenceslas IV, King of the Romans and of Bohemia (not to be confused with Wenceslas I, the "Good King").  John was a 14th century priest to whom the queen confessed all of her sins.  According to legend, the king wanted to know his wife’s secret, but Father John dutifully refused to tell.  John was than tortured and eventually killed by being thrown off of the Charles Bridge.  When he hit the water, five stars appeared, see picture above.

Because he would not betray the confessions of the queen, St. John of Nepomuk, is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional.  He is the patron saint against defamatory statements and because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods.  His feast day is May 16th.

His tomb is in St Vitus Cathedral, in the Prague Castle complex.

The Crucifix and Calvary.
This sculpture is one of the most historically interesting sculptures on the bridge, which gradually gained its present appearance throughout many centuries. The original wooden crucifix was installed soon after 1361 and probably destroyed by the Hussites in 1419.

A new crucifix with a wooden corpus was erected in 1629 but was severely damaged by the Swedes towards the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The remnants of this crucifix can be found in the National Museum in Prague. This was replaced by another wooden Calvary, which in turn, was replaced with a metal version in 1657.
In 1666, two lead figures were added, but these were replaced in 1861 by the present sandstone statues portraying the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist. 

The Town Hall was built in 1364 in the Old Town Square of Prague.  Its tower is over 230 ft high.

The Old Town Square
This magnificent medieval square is one of two main squares in Prague (Wenceslas Square is the other, just a 5 minutes walk away).
With its ancient buildings and magnificent churches, this is one of the most beautiful historical sights in Europe.
Dating from the 12th century, the Old Town Square started life as the central marketplace for Prague. Over the centuries buildings of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles were erected around the market, each bringing with them stories of wealthy merchants and political intrigue.
The Old Town Square's most notable sights are the Old Town Hall & Astronomical Clock, the Tyn Church and St Nicholas Church.

Astronomical clock in the Old Town Square.
The Astronomical Clock, built into one side of the Old Town Hall Tower, dates from 1410.  The clock was made by Mikulas of Kadan with assistance from astronomer and Charles University professor Jan Sindel.
The clock has three main sections. At the very top of the clock are two small window's where the figures of the twelve apostles are paraded every hour, during the hours of sunlight. This display has become known as "The Walk of the Apostles."
Beneath this is the astronomical and clock dial, which is the oldest part of the time piece. If you struggle to read the time, it is because it displays 'Old Czech Time,' 'Central European Time' and 'Babylonian Time.' It also tells the positions of the planets and where the sun and the moon are in relation to the signs of the Zodiac. This incredible time piece is the only one of its type in the world.
Below the astronomical dial is the Calendar Dial, which is the newest part of the clock. Erected in 1866 by Josef Manes, this tells the date and the saint day and is decorated with medallions that represent each month and the signs of the zodiac.
The clock is the Old Town Square's main tourist attraction, and crowds gather to see the timepiece strike the hour. The show begins with the statue of death (on the top right column of the astronomical dial), pulling the rope in his right hand and then turning his head to look at the hourglass in his left. The twelve apostles then glide by the windows, while death and the three vices - greed, vanity and hedonism, represented by statues - shake and jiggle. The show ends with the crowing of the golden cockerel as he flaps his wings.

A night view of the Tyn Church from the Old Town Square.

After a long day of sight-seeing, we decided to ride back to our hotel in style.  In the back seat, from left to right is; Kathy, Paula and me.  In the front seat is Terri.

A view of the Tyn Church from the Old Town Square.

Jan Hus Memorial Statue
This massive bronze statue stands in the northeast corner of the Old Town Square. It was unveiled in July 1915 on the 500th anniversary of Hus' death. The monument shows two groups of people; a young mother symbolizing national rebirth and the figure of Jan Hus, symbolizing a man who gave up life rather than his beliefs. 

Born in 1370, Hus was one of the forefathers of the protestant reformation (a hundred years before the Protestant Reformation was started by Martin Luther) and his struggle for religious freedom has made him a Czech martyr and national hero in a country that has often had to fight for its independence.
He often preached against some of the practices of the Catholic Church, such as the selling of indulgences. He also preached against the funding of the Papal Wars. He was excommunicated in 1410 but persisted in preaching against the sins of the Catholic Church. Hus was invited to the Council in Constance and he was asked to renounce his ideas. He refused, and he was burnt at the stake as a heretic on July 6, 1415.
The inscriptions on the monument were added after the independent republic of Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. It comes from a famous quote from Hus (Truth Prevails). It is now an official motto, written on the banner of the President of the Czech Republic. The quote from Hus is even recognized as an official national symbol.

The entrance to The Church of Mother of God before Tyn (pronounced teen).
It is the dominant feature of the Old Town Square of Prague and has been the main church in this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's two towers are 262 ft. high and topped by four small spires.
The two spires of this powerful looking, Gothic church (with a Baroque interior) can be observed from all over Prague. Take a close look at the two spires on the church. They are not symmetrical. They represent the masculine and feminine sides of the world. This is characteristic of Gothic architecture of the period.

The church was founded in 1385, a tumultuous period when the Hussites (followers of Jan Hus) were being slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. Indeed, in time Catholic Jesuits took over the church, recasting the bell and replacing the Hussites symbolic chalice with a large figure of the Virgin Mary nailed between the towers. Her giant halo was made from melting down the Hussites chalice. 

The simple Gothic interior of the church was replaced in the 17th century in baroque style. Statues adorn the now highly decorative columns and the church is full of art. Of particular note is the tombstone of the astronomer Tycho de Brahe; the 1673 pipe organ, the largest in the country; a 15th century pewter baptismal font - the oldest in Prague, and the altar paintings, specifically the one of the Virgin Mary being assumed into heaven, that hangs above the main altar.

Although the structure is not the same, legend has it that Tyn Church gave Walt Disney the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle. The actual Sleeping Beauty Castle, in Disneyland, looks more like Neuschwanstein Castle located in Hohenschwangau, Germany. The Tyn Church is certainly an awe-inspiring sight both during the day and even more so at night, brightly lit against a dark sky.

The main altar in the Tyn Church.

The Church of St James

This church was first built by Minorites (a branch of the Franciscans) in the early 14th century, in Gothic style. It suffered great damages in the fire in Old Town Prague in 1689. Then it was rebuilt and that is when it got its Baroque look. 
The tomb of Count Vratislav of Mitrovice inside the church is one of the most beautiful Baroque tombs in Bohemia. After Count Vratislav was buried, people could hear dreadful sound from the tomb. Religious people thought that the spirit of the count couldn’t find its peace and that’s why they sprinkled the tomb with holy water. After few days the sound stopped. Several years later, when the tomb was open again, they found the coffin damaged and the remains of the count outside the coffin. He was buried alive and when he woke up from his deep unconsciousness, he tried to alert the people in the church. No one helped him and he found a terrible death there.
Not only is it the second oldest church in Prague, but it is also considered to be the most beautiful and valuable church in Prague. 
The main altar in The Church of St James.

What is that thing hanging here???
Why it is a 400 year old mummified forearm hanging on the inside wall, of the entrance to the church.  The story goes that it belonged to a thief who tried to steal something near the statue of the Virgin Mary, but she gripped his arm to prevent him from escaping. The thief had to wait there until the next morning. 
The next day, when the Minorites came to the church, they tried to separate the thief from the Madonna, but in vain. They had to cut off his arm, then she let go of his arm. The monks hung the arm to remember this event and as a warning to other thieves.

Old Jewish Cemetery.

The Jews have a large neighborhood in Prague, called the Jewish Quarter.  On of the most visited sights is the cemetery.  There are over 12,000 tombstones.  From 1439 until 1787 this was the only burial ground allowed for the Jews of Prague.

It is said that the tombs are layered seven or eight deep, and there are close to 100,000 tombs here.  The tombs were piled atop each other because of the limited space, the sheer number of graves, and the Jewish belief that the body should be moved once buried.  With its many layers, the cemetery became a small plateau, as the ground settled over time, the tombstones became crooked.    

Paula standing on Parizska Street.

This is called the "Rodeo Drive" of Prague, as it is the street with the most exclusive and expensive shops in all of Prague.

In the Old Town Square, this vendor was roasting whole hams over a spit.  They looked and smelled just awesome.  However, we resisted and went to a restaurant and had some great pizza.

27 Crosses Execution of Rebellion Leaders - Old Town Square.

One of the turning points of Czech history was the execution of 27 leaders of the rebellion against Emperor Matthias. The mass executions on June 21,1621 became a symbolic end to the series of events that begun with the start of the Thirty Years' War in 1618, and ended with the Protestant armies' defeat at the Battle on White Mountain near Prague, November 8, 1620. 

The executions were to become a shocking and frightening performance intended to prove to contemporary Europe that the Habsburgs were not impressed by the leading Protestant aristocracy's revolt and that no rebellion, staged by Protestants, was able to jeopardize their authority. It led to a stronger position of the Habsburg dynasty on the Czech throne and suppression of any form of resistance on the side of a potential opposition. 

A set of 27 white crosses were installed, in the Old Town Square, at the place where the scaffold (dismantled after the execution and given to the Prague's Monastery of Merciful Brothers) stood, which commemorates the execution site and the sad end to the Czech Protestants' uprising.
A legend says, that the ghosts of the executed noblemen return to the square every year on 21st of June, the day of the execution.

St Nicholas Church.
A Romanesque church was built at this site around the turn of the 13th century. The church served as the parish church of Prague's Old Town until the completion of the nearby Tyn Church.

The defeat of the Bohemian army at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 ended the religious freedom in the city and the St. Nicholas church was handed over to the Benedictine order.

In the 18th century the Benedictines commissioned architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer with the design of a new church. Dientzenhofer, an accomplished Baroque architect, started the construction in 1732 and the new St. Nicholas church was consecrated five years later, in 1737.

From 1870 to 1914, the St. Nicholas Church was used by the Russian orthodox congregation. Later it was in use as a warehouse and it even housed a garrison during World War II.
In1920 management was handed over to the Protestant Hussites. 

One notable piece inside, St Nicholas, is this 19th-century crystal chandelier with glass, brought from the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic, about 90 miles north of Prague. 

The main altar in St Nicholas Church.

A visit to one of the Prague Christmas Markets.

Another view of the Christmas Market.

The Prague National Museum.

The National Museum was built between 1885 and 1890 at this prominent location on Wenceslas Square.

The new structure was not only built to house the collection of the museum, founded in 1818, but it was also built as a symbol of national identity. Thanks to its notable location, the National Museum is one of the most photographed buildings in Prague.

Statue of Good King Wenceslas I.
Located in Wenceslas Square is this statue of St. Wenceslas I. His martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a reputation for heroic goodness, resulting in his being elevated to Sainthood and posthumously declared king and also seen as the patron saint of the Czech state.
The popular Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslas" tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast Day of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. 

A View of of Wenceslas Square.
Wenceslas Square is really a boulevard, measuring 2,500 feet long by 200 feet wide. It was originally laid out as the Prague horse market 650 years ago. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia (907–935).  His own brother, Boleslav the Cruel, killed him.
Ever since it has been a parade ground for all kinds of organizations and political parties. From anti-communist uprisings to celebrations of national sporting achievements, Wenceslas Square is where the Czech's come to let off steam. It can hold up to 400,000 people.

Our visit to Prague, came to an end all too soon, as we had to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Geneva.  We all agreed that Prague is a city where we could spend more time, two days is simply not enough time to see all the sights.

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