Prague Off The Beaten Path Tips by rexvaughan
Prague Off The Beaten Path: 744 reviews and 1,042 photos
Zelivsky and the Defenestration Window
I have liked the phrase the "Defenestration of Prague" for years but never had any idea what it meant. Well, 'fenestra' is the latin word for window, thus the word 'defenestration' means to throw something (or someone) out the window. Well the biggest defenestration I know of occurred in Prague in the early 15th C. Jan Hus and his followers were seeking a pre-Luther kind of reformation in the church - things like allowing parishioners to partake of the chalice and limiting the secular influence of the church. This of course caused heated disagreements and eventually a group of radical Hussites, led by Jan Zelivsky, tossed the town councillors out the window of the town hall. A real downfall for them but it allowed the Hussites to control Prague for a time. In the photo you can see the window in question with a relief of Zelivsky on the plaque commemorating this historic defenestration.
The dome from the second level
Prague is filled with wonderful Art Nouveau work and probably the biggest is the main train station, Hlavni Nadrazi. The lower arrivals level is nothing to shout about as it is a low-ceilinged hall filled with kiosks and a sometimes strange mixture of people and this unfortunate setting is a legacy of the communist regime. If you have even a few minutes in the station go upstairs to the grand old ticket hall which is an Art Nouveau treasure with a wonderful domed ceiling and ornate ticket windows. You can sit by the iron railing surrounding the opening below the dome and enjoy a snack or coffee. A side note that I learned while there is that this station was named in the early 20th C for Woodrow Wilson in recognition of promoting self-determination and contributing the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
You can see from the entrance what a grand building it was originally before the place was surrounded by the stuff of the communist era. There is currently some efforts to reconstruct or overhaul the building to restore it to its earlier grandeur.
The Museum of Communism is an interesting account of communist rule in Czechoslovakia in general and Prague in particular. It portrays not only the history of the times but seeks to portray the mood in its three sections entitled “Dream,” “Reality” and “Nightmare” which shows elements of daily life through a series of interesting and authentic artifacts from the times - propaganda posters, half-empty stores and an “interrogation room.” There is also a very good video of about 20 minutes duration
Here are directions from their website: We are located on Na Prikope 10 in Prague One. It is in the center of the main shopping district which divides the old and new towns. Take either the MUSTEK METRO exit or the NAM REPUBLIKY metro stop to find us. Everyone knows Na Prikope even though it is very difficult to pronounce. We are between those two metro stops and if you can find McDonalds then you can find us. We are above the McDonalds and next to the Casino in the Palace Savarin.
When you are facing McDonalds we are through the elegant RED carpeted passage and up the stairs on the way to the Casino.
Phone: 420 224 212 966
Today he is in green
The Infant Jesus of Prague has a colorful history as you might expect. Many of these such stories stretch one?s imagination but are always colorful and interesting and add to the patina of the object or person in question. This statue is housed in the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious (even the name sparkles) in Prague. Also it is owned by an order of nuns called the ?Discalced Carmelites.? I am not making fun and am not kidding. Evidently this order was founded by St. Teresa; slipped into shoddy, slovenly and unholy ways; was reformed (Discalced=reformed). At any rate the origin of the statue is not really known but may have been done in the 14th C. and it is speculated that it came from a monastery in Bohemia, was eventually given to this order with the promise that if they kept it they would prosper (whatever prospering means to an order of nuns). Evidently one hand of the statue had been broken during a period in which it lay buried in the ruins of the church after the Saxons and Swedes had invaded Prague and the Carmelites had to flee. The statue purportedly spoke to Fr. Cyril who had rescued and cleaned it. It told Fr. Cyril to place the statue at the entrance to the sacristy which he did and in a few days a man came and repaired it.
The church is not very large or impressive from the outside and is located a bit away from the usual sights but for my money well worth a small detour. Notice the statue?s robe as the nuns change it each day so he appears in many colorful costumes. Interestingly the Infant Jesus of Prague us the patron saint of good finances. This was of interest to me as I spent about 30 years as a budget manager and I also bought a small one for a friend who is the budget officer where I worked before retiring. He was delighted.
Karmelitská 9, just below Malostranske Nam
Metro: Line A to Malostranská
Museum of the Holy Child of Prague 40Kc ($1.40) adults, 20Kc (70¢) students, free for children under 6
Giants in the park
We probably would not have found this place had it not been for the son of one of our neighbors who had been an international university student in Prague and suggested we visit. He had evidently lived and studied at Vysehrad and the area. It is a wonderful complex and not on the beaten tourist path. There are also great views of the city and surrounding area from this high vantage point.
This high stronghold overlooking the Vltava River has been here since the late 11th C. It was the site of the original castle which is no longer there and a church which is. It is a pretty quiet and peaceful place and we saw no other tourists as we wandered the lovely landscaped gardens inhabited by some huge and wonderful statues depicting figures of Czech Mythology. Many of Prague's great artists, scribes, musicians and politicians lie buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church. Most notable are the graves of Dvorak, Smetana and Mucha.
If you go, take the metro to the Vysehrad stop. I decided it looked more accessible from the river side so we took a tram, got off and had trouble even finding an access point. When we finally did, it required our walking up hundreds of steps.
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