Castles and Chateaux

In early December we saw the ad for this Prague Castle exhibition:  “This spectacular exhibition is the first time that the most valuable treasures from the Czech castles and country houses have been gathered in one place and at one time.”  We were sold, yet with one thing and another we did not make it there until this week.

Don’t you procrastinate!  This exhibit ends 15 March; it would be a shame to miss it. However the Prague Castle Riding School, a magnificent building in its own right, does have regular, high quality shows.  So if you are coming to Prague later check out both the Prague Castle site and the National Heritage Institute site (link down in June 2015).  Actually you need to be on constant watch for posters because there is no one place for all cultural events.

Since this exhibition was drawn from all regions of the Czech Republic it had more than the usual amount of variety.  Below is small sample of items that were of particular interest to me.  All photos by Karin–click to enlarge.

model of castle at Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

Well cover from Jindrichuv Hradec

Well cover from Jindrichuv Hradec

armoured knight and horse

Czech Crown Replica

Czech Crown Replica

Wenceslas Reliquary Bust

Wenceslas Reliquary Bust

Czech Renaissance Dining

Renaissance Dining

Inlaid cabinet

Inlaid cabinet

Inlaid Detail

Inlaid Detail

Westphalia Peace Pen

Westphalia Pen

Westphalia Peace

Street Theatre and Building Blocks

I am a terrible blogger.  I experience something fun and have the best intentions to write it up for this blog but then I get busy (mostly just busy work) and procrastinate until the enthusiasm has passed and writer’s block sets in.

So this post is going to be short so that I can get it up while its hot.  Though today is the last day for this particular festival the point is that the alert traveler can nearly always find interesting activity in larger towns and cities.

We had heard mention of the International Street Theatre Festival taking place at Wenceslas Square but didn’t get around to looking at the program until it was half over.  Thursday looked like a good day for us so we chose this description:  “A strange boat appears on the horizon, it seems to be some sort of sailboat. On board, five special characters are forming an eclectic crew! A romantic Russian Captain, a bearded Ballet Dancer, a naive Mariners Eye, a Swiss Machinist and a mystical Fakir. It is once on shore that the story begins.”  Presented by Zirk Mir, a Norway theatre troupe that designed the show for international audiences so that language would not be a barrier.

street theatre in Wenceslas Square, Prague

Free street performances are not always easy to see and certainly not always good entertainment.  This time our expectations were exceeded on both counts.  Parts of the performance are exceedingly silly and slapstick but that just serves to build the audience participation and set the mood for those parts that displayed true talent.  All in all it was fast-moving, funny and well worth the standing ovation at the end–after all 90% of the audience was standing for the whole show.audience participation in street theatre

After the show we strolled down the broad street of Na prikope’ and walked into a maze of painted bricks.  You never know what you will find when you are not looking, or more accurately not staying home.

painted bricks on Prague streetbrick maze on Prague streetpaint a brick for charity

All photos by Karin  —  click to enlarge


A National Museum closing: Memories

The original building of the Czech National Museum has closed for five years for extensive modernization.

I have fond memories of the National Museum building and some not so fond ones.  Starting with the latter I need to point out that the building is at the same location as the Muzeum metro station, a major crossroads for us.  To get to and from the station we would frequently need to walk around the huge building and through an underpass that was always dirty and smelly due to the food stalls there.  Prague and the metro stations are usually quite clean so this hike stood out like a sore thumb.

The building itself we always found interesting for its massive size looming over Wenceslas Square.  We loved the story about the bullet holes that are still visible in the facade because the Czech workman ordered to repair them by the new communist overlords in 1945 purposely made them standout by miss-matching the patch.  I wonder if they will remain after this current renovation.

Visualisation of the National Museum reconstructionThis is an artists rendering of the proposed works.

The National Museum like the National Gallery can be confusing because it consists of multiple buildings.  We did go to several other exhibitions in other buildings but these rooms of prehistoric history, minerals, zoology and the like never made it to the top of our To Do list.  So when we saw a notice for a Christmas concert to be held there we bought the tickets immediately.  The performance, a selection of arias, was held on the central staircase.  We enjoyed the location and the music, the experience, very much.  For more see Christmas Concerts in Historical Buildings

The scheduled June 2016 re-opening is a life time away, but don’t worry the National Museum will be hosting a great many exhibitions at other locations.  See their web site for schedules.

Our favourite is the Czech Museum of Music.  Below is Karin’s account of our visit there.

Czech Museum of Music tour
Czech Museum of Music