Prague, Czech Republic – Part 2

Prague:

  • Capital city of Czech Republic;
  • Historical capital of Bohemia;
  • Peaceful dissolution into Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993
  • Rolling Stones alleged to have assisted with laying for lights around Castle Complex including the cathedral. (The iconic rock group played one of Prague’s first international concerts after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and developed a close friendship with Czech President Václav Havel. Legend has it that, over drinks with the president, the band admired the prominent monument, but said it was a shame you couldn’t see it at night. Havel had bigger problems to worry about (like running a newly democratic country). So, the band paid the $32,000 (about 775,000 CZK) price tag and had their lighting designer install the system that tourists continue to enjoy today. Thanks, guys.)
  • 7 keys to get to crown jewels (all held by different people)

Excerpt from Wikipedia:-

From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet bloc with a command economy. Its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949, and its defence status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution; state price controls were removed after a period of preparation. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Prague Castle

  • Construction started 870;
  • Construction completed in 1929! (This relates to St Vitas Cathedral which was only partially completed and had a “temporary wall” in place for 400 years. Architects picked up the original plans and completed it in a span of 65 years up to 1929. The giveaways include: clear difference in brick style between front and back of cathedral; difference in colour – older brick naturally much darker over time; below the large window at the front are two men in suits – these are the architects who completed the cathedral.
  • Largest ancient castle complex in the world;

Excerpt from Wikipedia:- “On March 15, 1939, shortly after the Nazi Germany forced Czech President Emil Hacha (who suffered a heart attack during the negotiations) to hand his nation over to the Germans, Adolf Hitler spent a night in the Prague Castle, “proudly surveying his new possession.”[3] During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II, Prague Castle became the headquarters of Reinhard Heydrich, the Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. He was said to have placed the Bohemian crown on his head; old legends say an usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year.[4] Less than a year after assuming power, on May 27, 1942, Heydrich was attacked during Operation Anthropoid, by British-trained Slovak and Czech soldiers while on his way to the Castle, and died of his wounds (which became infected) a week later.[5]

After the liberation of Czechoslovakia and the coup in 1948, the Castle housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government. After Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the castle became the seat of the Head of State of the new Czech Republic. Similar to what Masaryk did with Plečnik, president Václav Havel commissioned Bořek Šípek to be the architect of post-communism Prague Castle’s necessary improvements, in particular of the facelift of the castle’s gallery of paintings.

  • Ferdinand I built the Belvedere (in the complex) as a Summer palace for his wife Anna. She did not live to see it completed as she passed away whilst giving birth to her 15th child;
  • Most fortified castle;
  •  President lives on site but not in the castle. He is proudly driven around in a Skoda – a Czech car;
  • Moat around castle called “Old Deer Moat”.

Deer Moat

Entrance to the Deer MoatDeer Moat (Jelenni prikop) used to be a part of Prague Castle northern fortification and helped to defence the Castle. It was created by Brusnice stream which was drained to the underground pipes in 1899. Archaeologists found out in the 19th century that the moat hid traces of prehistoric settlement.

When the Royal garden were created, the Deer Moat was arched by a wooden bridge on 5 stone pillars called Powder bridge (Prasny most). Later the bridge was replaced by a dike that divides the moat into upper and lower parts.

During the reign of Rudolf II the moat was fenced and used for hunting a large number of deer. That’s when the Deer Moat got its name. Unfortunately, all the deer were shot by French soldiers during the Prague occupation in 1741-42.

Deer Moat was also used as a rubbish dump. During the reign of Joseph II the Deer Moat contained even some items from renowned Rudolf’s collections that were not sold at auction. Even bears could have been seen in Deer Moat about 100 years ago.

These days you can visit both upper and lower part of Deer Moat. Upper part offers small meadows with a net of paths and benches. The lower part keeps the natural character of the past. The Deer Moat is open during the summer season.

How to get there:
The lower part is accessible from the slope Opyse above Chotkova street. The upper part is accessible near the Powder Bridge.”

Source: http://www.prague.net/deer-moat

  • 30 years war;
  • 1618 To 1648 Swedish occupied the castle;
  • -20 in winter- Swedish ate all deer in the moat;
  • Catholic councilors thrown out of window but survived. Said it was higher being that saved them. Protestants argued it was because they fell on pile of horse manure;
  • Flag flying means President  is in country (usually enjoying a drink somewhere);

Charles IV

  • Increased Prague’s dize to 3 times what he inherited
  • Reigned as King of Bohemia 1316 to 1378;

Charles IV was a highly educated man (he spoke five languages), an excellent diplomat and a very good king. He established Prague as the cultural capital of central Europe and made it one of the most prosperous European cities at the time. The Czech language was promoted to the official language in the country along with Latin and German, and the position of Bohemia became very strong.

Charles IV loved Prague and the city flourished during his rule. The Prague bishopric was upgraded to an archbishopric and when the king was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, Prague’s status increased to the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Many building projects were started during Charles’ reign, including the St. Vitus Cathedral. In 1348, Prague’s New Town (Nové město) was founded, the Charles University was established to become the first university in Central Europe, and the Karlštejn castle was founded to protect the imperial jewels and other treasures. The construction of Charles Bridge began in 1357 at the place where Judith Bridge once stood (it collapsed in a flood in 1342).

Charles IV is remembered as the most beloved Czech king and the “father of the Czech nation”. Charles IV’s son and successor Wenceslas IV took the throne after his father and his reign extended into the time of the Hussite wars of the 15th century.”

Source: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/czech-history/king-charles-IV.html

Religion

  • Atheist nation;
  • Only 16% of Czech’s believe in a religion;
  • Only 10% regularly attend church.

President

  • Milos Zeman
  • Alleged to have been elected because the alternative choice was a person who came from wealth?
  • Zeman known as a bit of a drunk… exhibit A https://youtu.be/MUENAJQjw9U

Random facts

  • 178 breweries in Czech Republic;
  • Pilsner made 70km from Prague;

Changing of the guard at Prague Castle: https://youtu.be/RKcMa_jqcUI

Deer Moat

This is the Archbishops house… wow!

Prague. This door is especially significant as it is within the grounds of Prague Castle. This is where the President meets with important people and can be seen shaking hands with them in media conferences.

Historic photos at Prague Castle.

This photo is taken at the top of the stairs where I said the president shakes the hands of important people. Eerie.

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