First off, I hate starting posts with an apology…but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s been more than 2 months (!) since I last posted, which is a ridiculously long time, but I’ve had a lot of work and things going on since the last time I posted. At the same time, I also have a lot of new and exciting content, in addition to the billion and one pictures I still have to talk about from my Europe trip, so I will have to play catch up for a while. I’m going to stop making excuses now, so we can continue our trip through Europe.
The last thing I left you guys with was a night-time photo of the Prague Castle looking over Prague City. The first thing we did in the morning was to go up to Prague Castle and look at the castle, as well as the gorgeous St. Vitus Cathedral.
Despite it being pretty early in the day, the place was crowded with tourists. Prague Castle is currently used as the official residence as well as office of the President of the Czech Republic; sort of like the White House, if you will. It was a little odd that we were able to just waltz right through the gates with no security checks or scans or anything like that, although there were a couple of guards on duty, looking very dapper in their uniforms and “you can’t tell if I’m looking at you because these are tinted super dark” sunglasses.
I don’t know if it was because we weren’t allowed to, or if it was because we didn’t have enough time, but we didn’t actually go inside the castle. So after a brief walk around the inner courtyard (which was undergoing restoration), we went over to St. Vitus Cathedral, one of my favourite cathedrals in the world.
Built in the Gothic style, the main cathedral building that you can see today was built in the mid-14th Century. They are constantly going through restoration projects, and a good example can be seen in this picture. The bottom half of the cathedral looks whiter and cleaner, because it has undergone cleaning, and the upper half is darker because it is still under layers and layers of dirt and grime.
The inside of the church, like most buildings in the Gothic style, is beautifully adorned with dozens of gorgeous stained glass windows. Most of these are the original glass panels from the initial construction, which is amazing, considering that the cathedral has been around for almost 700 years.
From what I could tell, there were two main styles of stained glass. There were the ones that were made up of a million tiny little panels, like mosaic…
And then there were the ones made of larger panels, but the shading was more detailed, and the art style was similar to that of the Art Nouveau movement.
From there, we continued to the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge. While construction of the bridge began in 1357, it was damaged over and over again throughout history by floods as well as wars. However, it was still a very important bridge, as until 1841, it was the only way of crossing the Vltava River.
Crossing the bridge reminded me of walking next to the Seine River in Paris. There were many local artisans and painters, all of them busy at work. Unlike in Paris though, all of these vendors were required to have a certificate of authorization displayed, showing that they were actually allowed to be there.
There are also 30 statues on the bridge, most of them in the Baroque style, depicting various saints and other religious figures venerated at the time. They were built between 1683 and 1714, and being very very old, all of the originals were taken to the National Museum for safe-keeping, and the ones you can see on the bridge today are all replicas.
The view from the bridge of the Vltava River was also gorgeous…
You can see Prague Castle from here! 😀
The rest of our time in Prague was spent walking the streets of the “New Town Square”, where the relatively “new” buildings stand. We then had to take an electric tram to meet up with our tour bus, that would take us to our next destination.