Architecture in Prague, Art

Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague

One of the Prague neo-renaissance jewels, Prague Museum of Decorative Arts dedicated to applied art and design is a place you should not miss when in Prague. Designed by architect Josef Schulz (who also designed Rudolfinum, a concert hall across the street from museum), it houses extensive collections of ceramics, porcelain, textile & period fashion, toys, jewelry, and more, it is a dream of every art lover. The museum has been extensively reconstructed and re-opened in November 2017.

Originally, a building dates back to 1897 inspired by similar institution in London, the South Kensington Museum (today, Victoria and Albert Museum). The Museum soon became an important cultural and educational center in the Bohemian Kingdom, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and important figures of the art/business/political life were appointed to the Museum Board  including a progressive feminist Continue reading “Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague”

Art, Prague Literary Tour

A Prague lover’s reading list

These are just few books that a Prague lover may want to grab before heading to Prague or after getting back from your Prague literarary tour. We will be adding books but will be happy if you let us know of any treasures that you feel other Prague lovers should know of. Thank you! 

Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924)

It is impossible to talk about 20th century literature in Prague without mentioning Franz Kafka. For those who would like to penetrate the mysterious world of this Prague born Jewish German-language writer, their reading list should include:

  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Trial
  • The Castle
  • America

 

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime but the publisher, Max Brod, ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed, and published most of his works.

E.E. Kisch (1885 – 1948)

Czech writer and journalist, who wrote in German. Nicknamed the “Raging Reporter from Prague”, Kisch is considered one of the founders of the Czech investigative and reportage journalism. He wrote books about his numerous trips, such as:

  • Zaren, Popen, Bolschewiken (On the Soviet Union) (1926)
  • Paradies Amerika (On the United States) (1929)
  • Secret China (1933)

Franz Werfel (1890 – 1945)

Czech-Jewish novelist and playwright born in Prague, later moved to Vienna where he met and fell in love with Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler, the former lover of the painter Oskar Kokoschka, and the wife of the architect Walter Gropius. By the end of the nineteen-twenties, Werfel had become one of the most important and established writers in German and Austrian literature. Werfel and Alma left Austria after the German occupation in 1938 and finally settled in the United States where Werfel died in 1945. Continue reading “A Prague lover’s reading list”

Discover Czech Republic

Prague birds-eye view

 

You probably heard of the Petrin lookout tower. It reminds the Eiffel tower in Paris because the Czech tourist club members liked the Eiffel tower so much that they decided to have one – a smaller one in Prague. That was in 1891 when they returned from the World Exhibition in Paris.

The Prague tower was built just in four months, it is 63.5 meters high with 299 stairs. There is an elevator for those who may wish to skip the exercise. The Petrin lookout tower is open daily from 10am to 6 pm (November to February) and to 10pm (from April to September).

Once you will be at Petřín hill (where you can get by funicular) from Ujezd station of tram No. 22) you will be in a beautiful park, with a mirror maze. There is also a little booth with beer and famous Czech bramborak (potato and garlic pancakes). And the best, you will be able to cut through the Petřín park to the Prague Castle where you end up at the amazing view of Prague just underneath the Strahov Monastery.

Art

Vysehrad Cemetery in Prague

It may be compared to Paris cemetery Père Lachaise. The Vysehrad or Slavin cemetery in Prague where most notable figures of Czech nation are buried. Writers, actors, artists, poets and many others. Place of a magic and poetic atmosphere, just peace and art.

Vysehrad national burial ground was established in the second half of 19th century in place of an old Vysehrad cemetery dating back to 1660. It is one of the most significant Prague cemeteries. One of the notable Czech architects, Antonin Wiehl designed the neo-rennaisance arcades, which have been built according to the Italian style around the border of the cemetery. The cross vault of arcades decorated with paintings is carried by Tuscan pillars of sandstone. Walking through the Vysehrad cemetery is like walking in an open-air art gallery. Most of the tombs hold a piece of art work.

Vysehrad hill is linked to the origin of Prague when the Slavic Princess Libuse had a vision. She apparently stood on a cliff overlooking the Vltava, pointed to a hill across the river, and proclaimed: “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” A castle was built at a place where a man was building the threshold (which translates práh in Czech) of a house. “And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold, you shall give it the name Praha”. About two hundred years later, the city of Prague became the seat of the Premyslid dynasty. You will find statue of Princess Libuse and her husband, Prince Premysl as well as of Prince Wenceslas, later St. Wenceslas, a patron of the Czech nation who founded the first basilique (at the place of St. Vitus Cathedral) at the Prague Castle. Vysehrad is not exactly in Prague center but it should not be missed by art lovers.

 

Art

Titian in Prague

Tiziano,_flora,_dettaglioPrague added another attraction for the visitors, an exhibition of Italian Renaissance painter Tiziano Vecelli (Titian, 1485-1576). The exhibition includes Tiziano’s paintings from the Prague Castle Gallery as well as his Flora from the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence.

The exhibition called Tiziano – Vanitas, the Poet of the Image and Shade of Beauty takes place in the Imperial Stable at the Prague Castle.
The exhibition also includes a number of paintings loaned from international galleries and private collections. These are primarily women’s portraits and Titian’s portraits from his later works.

The exhibition is open until March 20, 2016, everyday from 10am – 6pm.
The entrance fee is 180 CZK/6 EUR/$7
Don’t miss the unique opportunity.

Discover Czech Republic, Prague hidden gems

3 things to avoid in Prague

IMG_3363Prague is a beautiful city with millions of tourists heading to Prague Castle, Charles bridge and other sightseeing highlights every year. However, not everything in Prague is a must see. There is couple of things that you may easily skip without regretting it such as Golden Lane at the Prague Castle, Klementinum Library – visit the Strahov Monastery Baroque library instead and the overpriced and poor serviced Lokal restaurant at Dlouha street.
And here is why. Continue reading “3 things to avoid in Prague”

Discover Czech Republic, Prague Literary Tour

A Traveller’s Companion to Prague

A traveller companion

In case you plan to visit Prague, I am sure you are getting all kinds of guide books, maps and tips what to do and what to skip. I suggest you get A Traveller’s  Companion to Prague, a book written by a Prague born Jan Kaplan, a Czech filmmaker and writer living in London since 1968. You will read about the turbulent  history of the golden city in the heart of Europe from the very beginning when the Princess Libuse predicted the future of the Czech nation through the dark dates of  Nazis in Czech and Moravian Protectorate up to the date when a former dissident Vaclav Havel became the first President of Czechoslovakia (today Czech Republic).

Cafes and Restaurants in Prague, Prague hidden gems

Hidden Tea Room at Prague Wenceslas Square

I was walking through Wenceslas Square in Prague today, (I will admit it is not my favorite place) and noticed this quiet little courtyard. I couldn’t believe it. Is it really a tea room?! Really at Wenceslas Square? At this busy place, full of tourists, noise, shops and some bizarre offers made by even more bizarre people?

So I walked in the courtyard and I found myself in a bamboo garden (OK, so only a little bamboo garden) with people sitting outside at little tables, sipping tea.
If you like to take a rest while avoiding tourist traps of Prague, check this Dobra Cajovna (A Good Tea Room) at Wenceslas Square No. 14, Prague 1 just few steps from Bata shoe store.

Enjoy!

 

 

Architecture, Prague hidden gems

Moises Sculpture in Prague

Look for the small park in front of Old-New Synagogue, you will find a beautiful sculpture of Moises, work of a Czech symbolist and Art Nouveau sculptor, Frantisek Bilek. The bronze sculpture shows Moises on his knees, writing the name of “Adam”.  The sculpture was placed in the park near the Synagogue in 1937 (although Bilek completed it in 1905). The German Nazzis removed the sculpture and melted it 1940. Fortunately, the widow of Frantisek Bilek kept the plaster model so the bronz cast of Moses was re-done and it was placed in the park again after World War II in 1946.

Cafes and Restaurants in Prague

Prosecco Heaven in Prague Vinohrady

Prosecco 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proseccco in Prague is not a typical Czech thing, I know. But if you are a Prosecco fan, you should try Prosekarna at Prague Vinohrady. Great choice, cozy place, nice people, affordable prices. It is a combination of a deli, wine bar and bistro. There is a shop upstairs and a tiny bistro downstairs, you can sit at the long table and meet other Prosecco fans or you may enjoy the sofa at the fireplace (the fireplace actually really works, so we ended up sitting there just in our T-shirts, I mean not only T-shirts). I loved their bruschettas.

Open Mo – Fri 10 am to 9 pm
Sat 12 to 9 pm
Sun 4 pm to 9 pm
Slezská 48, Prague 2 – Vinohrady