Czech Republic – Bohemian Kingdom-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
OUR hosts in AUSTRIA drove German, Liza Ilagan, Rey and me to PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC for a day’s tour.
The CZECK REPUBLIC lies at the heart of central Europe. About 900 A.D. the Czechs founded a powerful kingdom called BOHEMIA. Its capital, PRAGUE, became a center of art and learning. This area was populated as far back as 4,000 years BC. Architecture was Romanesque in 10th- 12th century, Renaissance and early Gothic- in 13th century. The golden years of the city were under the rule of Charles IV in 1346-1378. This sovereign made PRAGUE one of the greatest and most significant towns in Europe. He added a New Town, CHARLES UNIVERSITY, CHARLES BRIDGE, and founded ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL.
We posed in front of the POWDER TOWER and the MUNICIPAL HOUSE, built in 1903 as a showcase of Czech art at the turn of the 20th c. The main halls of the building are the MAYOR’S CHAMBER and the largest concert hall in PRAGUE – SMETANA’S HALL. Walking to the far end of WENCESLAS SQUARE is a statue of ST. WENCESLAS on his horse and the Neo-Renaissance NATIONAL MUSEUM.
On top of a hill is PRAGUE CASTLE which was once the heart of the Holy Roman Empire and the residence for Bohemian sovereigns and presidents for the past thousand years. Both the medieval ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL and the PRAGUE CASTLE complex are the dominant features of most sights and views in PRAGUE.
The OLD TOWN HALL complex begun in 1338 and was added to until the middle of the 19th century. On the facade of the TOWN HALL is the ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. The wondrous timepiece, equipped with moving allegorical figures and procession of Apostles, represents time in keeping with various devised methods as well as position of celestial bodies. The Czech painter Josef Manes painted the calendar featuring allegories of months and zodiac signs in 1865. In the middle of the OLD TOWN SQUARE is the JAN HUS MONUMENT.
PRAGUE’s most celebrated landmark is the Gothic stone CHARLES BRIDGE, constructed by Charles IV in 1357. During the 17th-19th centuries, the 520-metre long bridge was embellished with 30 statues and sculptures by well-known Czech sculptors.
Our last stop was to the famous wax statuette of the miraculous 16th c. INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, donated to the Carmelites at the CHURCH OF OUR LADY VICTORIOUS by Polyxene of Lobkowicz in 1628. Interesting to note is the fact that the wardrobe contains 70 dresses donated by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and catholic countries from all over the world including Philippines!
We saw less than 1/10th of the city. I shall return!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 19, 2013.