Mala Strana (started around 1257) is a district of Prague and the name means Lesser Town or Lesser Side. One can reach it by leaving Old Town and walking across Charles Bridge. Voila! You are there! Right below the Prague Castle! Mala Strana is home to Kampa Island, Petrin Hill, Maltese Square, Wallenstein Palace, and St. Nicholas Square. These are only a few of the many many things to see. But this post is only about a simple walk after church and before lunch. I will tell about the other sites in other posts.
So, on this particular December Sunday, we took the tram from Old Town. Having been there before we did not walk up to the Castle (this is a must for first time tourists!) This time I only wanted to wander the back narrow streets and alleyways to look at Baroque architecture. We also knew of a little restaurant we wanted to try, so we planned to sightsee until we were cold and then have a soup and sandwich break.
While walking on these narrow cobblestone streets, I found myself wondering if perhaps I was walking in the footsteps of Jan Neruda, a poet, writer and journalist, who was born in Mala Strana. Or perhaps Kafka, the writer, who lived a short while in Golden Lane adjacent to the Prague Castle. Here also is the Kafka Museum.
Passing the Church of Our Lady Victorius, where the Infant of Prague can be seen, I was reminded of its interesting history. Since it was December the church was all decked out with Angels and a lovely Nativity Scene. (The next Sunday I decided to attend church here. The Priest was from India and spoke English but in a very soft voice. However, the church remained open to tourists and the squeaky door hinges kept me from hearing him properly.) There is a wonderful free museum inside the church where one can see pictures, crosses, sculptures, and part of the valuable collection of clothing that makes up the wardrobe of the Infant Jesus.
But I regress. This is suppose to be about the architecture. So, moving on . . .
Mala Strana is home to many Embassies housed in beautiful buildings. One is the United States. Of course, I wanted a picture. Also, I wondered about the guard outside with a gun over his shoulder. (Later I read it is the ONLY Embassy to have such a guard, and if you linger too long, he will ask you to move along!) I must admit there was no smile to greet me, only a very dour, sour face. So I took a quick picture and off I went! And to think that is MY Embassy!
Below are buildings with Sgraffito – a technique of scratching the top layer of paint to the surface underneath. Pretty amazing!
A lovely sculpture over a restaurant entrance.
Very fancy gates open very slowly . . . for a very fancy car who had to show some sort of credentials to enter.
A nice place to walk if it is raining.
Mala Strana as seen on the walk up to the Castle. We did not go all the way this time. We found our restaurant, had a nice hot bowl of soup and a rest. While these pictures only show you a fraction of what there is to see, this at least gives you a small idea of how beautiful Mala Strana is.
The square where the trams come had a Christmas Market. Some sold Christmas decorations. Of course I bought a straw angel!