Stare Mesto – the Old Town of Prague

The Stare Mesto is the medieval settlement of Prague, first settled in the 9th Century and was expanded in the 14th Century, something we in the US cannot even relate to. When we think of old, a 200 year old building fits the description. The city itself formed under Duke Wenceslas 1100 years ago and peaked under Charles IV (c. 1350) who built many of the city’s best known monuments.

There was a market here since the 11th century. The town hall was built in the 13th century. At that time it was the site of markets, parades, demonstrations and executions. Now it is mostly cafes and souvenir stands…

The square with the Tyn Church on the right with its twin spires. In medieval times it was Catholic, When the Hussites took over (1420-1620) it was their main church, after they were defeated by the Habsburgs, it became Catholic again.

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Memorial to Jan Hus, early Catholic reformer who protested against the Vatican. Although he was always a staunch Catholic, his supporters known as Hussites, eventually formed their own church.

Next we found a restaurant and had breakfast at Cafe NG Kinsky.

Cafe Vienna

Matcha Pancakes with homemade sour cream and yogurt with a croissant. This was quite different and delicious. The pancakes were made from a “flour” made from matcha green tea.

Mushroom omelet

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Church of St Nicholas

Beautiful baroque interior with an amazing chandelier.

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14th Century Old Town Hall with the scaffolding where they are cleaning and restoring – we will eventually go inside for a tour. It’s most famous feature is the Astronomical Clock, which performs every hour. Not really exciting but amazing to thing what a marvel this was so long ago.

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There are so many lovely buildings – I love the colors and unique look of each building.

Ungelt – one of the oldest places. During the Bohemian Golden age, a cosmopolitan center of international trade, now mostly upscale restaurants and shops.

Restaurant tables built right up against a church.

And every city needs an Irish Bar (as I’ve commented in every city). We’ve seen three already

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Prague is “Queen of Art Nouveau”

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Basilica of St Jacob also known as St James – maybe just a different translation of the name?

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I just liked this statue – kind of a sad Jesus

Gorgeous altar and Pieta.

And then there’s this!

.I regret a little that I did not go inside to see exactly what made these toilets “deluxe”!

The Powder Tower was the main gate in the town wall and housed gunpowder, which is the reason for its name.

Around the turn of the 20th Century, Prague was a center for avant-garde art, second only to Paris. Art Nouveau and Cubism were very popular. The House of the Black Madonna is an example of Cubism – rectangular windows and cornices. In the interior is a Cubist Museum and a cafe in Cubist style. The parabolic spiral staircase was very interesting as well..

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The Municipal House is from the Art Nouveau period, built in 1911. This was a movement against the sterility of the then modern-age construction and comes from the same period as the Eiffel Tower and Europe’s great train stations. Art Nouveau was born in Paris but Prague has been considered the place it really flourished and it is known as the “Queen of Art Nouveau”.

Below they were setting up the finish line for a 10K race.

Beautiful elevator

The Opera House, most famous for having been the place that Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered. They were setting up for a show and we were able to peek in the back door. Best picture I got – and although I missed it in this picture, the workmen waved when they saw us photographing them!

The statue commemorating the premiere of Don Giovanni. Standing by it was interesting, I kept hearing different languages being spoken but in the middle of each conversation were the words “don Giovanni”.

I love how this very old building was transformed with new windows and yet still looks good. It houses a modern art museum.

And last photo for the morning – this is getting too long. This was of a floating brewery – a hint of something that we didn’t know was coming up. The afternoon will be its own post. The word pivovar means brewery.

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