Wednesday 1 January 2014

Prague, Czech Republic II: Where fairy tales are born

I think the Prague Old Town Square is the most beautiful city centre I've seen on this trip. If you delete away the tourists in the first picture, doesn't it look like a fairytale setting? Although the structure is not the same, legend has it that Tyn Church gave Walt Disney the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle (via Aha! Great minds think alike. But wait.. isn't the Sleeping Beauty castle based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Munich? Hmmm..

Anywayyy, the old town square was so full of sound, smell, sight and life! There were performers entertaining the crowd, food stalls selling Old Prague Ham, potato & sour cabbage, TrdelnĂ­k (a sweet bread roll which tasted exactly the bread roll I tried in Taichung) and many other delicious food to tantalize your taste buds and trigger your salivary glands. You can see Tyn Church (in the first photo) and St. Nicholas Church (the white building with the green roof) as two prominent sights in the old town square.The first is a Gothic church while the second is a Baroque one. I've learned a lot more about architecture on this trip than all my years in school. Ok what am I talking about, I don't learn anything about architecture in school. Oh and the two spires on the Tyn Church are not symmetrical - one represents the masculine side of the world, the other the feminine side.

The Astronomical Clock is another famous feature in the old town square and it's absolutely gorgeous. I really want to have a smaller version of this at home, I just need to travel back in time and find the clock maker who built this, who was blinded by the government because they were afraid that he would build a better one somewhere else (the clock attracted many tourists to Prague which meant money) and who jumped into the clock and died as revenge because the clock stopped and nobody but him knew how to fix it. Or I could have bought a table top mini clock at the many souvenir shops but I didn't want to carry it around for the rest of my trip so err time travelling it is!

The wooden figures of apostles with their attributes appear in the windows every hour, while at the same time some of the sculptures begin to move: the Death holds its hourglass and beckons to the Turkish man sculpture, which shakes its head in response. There is Vanity portrayed as a man with a mirror and Miserliness as a man with a moneybag, shaking a stick. The other statues, that don´t move, are an Astronomer, a Chronicler, a Philosopher and an Angel. When the apostles finish their journey, the golden cockerel at the top crows and quivers its wings, the bell rings and the clock chimes the hour. (via

REALLY?? Why didn't I see this!

Powder Tower is one of the original 13 city gates in Old Town. It is so named because the gate was used to store gunpowder.

There are 30 statues (plus one at the side) on Charles Bridge and many street artists if you want to get your portraits done. Our guide told us the story behind a statue of St. John of Nepomuk - he was thrown off the bridge because he refused to tell the King what the Queen confided to him. Five stars allegedly appeared above the river symbolizing the five letters of Latin word “tacet” which means “silent”. Somehow the statue became a symbol of luck and you can make a wish if you place your hand on the cross. Crossing the bridge with the sun slowly setting was such a beautiful experience. And not to mention extremely romantic, heck, the whole Prague Old Town is! The two towers guarding the bridge are Old Town Bridge Tower (the one with one spire) and Lesser Town Bridge Tower (the one with two spires).

Ending the post with a night view of Prague castle. Isn't it just dreamy? Too bad my camera wasn't able to capture the stars.

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