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Mala Strana
Lesser Town
#About Prague's Prestigious District

Although it is part of Prague's Old Town, Lesser Town (Malá Strana, or Malastrana) is one of the least decorated areas in Prague. The name means "small side" and derives from its limited location on the west bank of the Vltava River, at the foot of the hill where Prague Castle stands. Of course the quarter is small compared to the vast areas of the city, those on the other side of the Charles Bridge, on the east bank of the river.

If at the start the quarter was home to ordinary people, later noblemen and important people lived there. Apparently the artists and especially the writers living in the quarter are the source of many of the fairy tales and mystical stories of Prague, which were born there.

Today Lesser Town is one of the most prestigious and luxurious districts of Prague. Here sits the Czech Senate and here lies the government of the state. There are many palaces here and most of the city's wealthy prefer to live in the desirable quarter.

If you are one of those who came to see the wonderful architecture of Prague, in Lesser Town you will find what you are looking for. Many of the most beautiful and unique houses in the city are here. Even if you are less concerned with architecture, it will be hard to ignore the beauty that surrounds you here. Enjoy!



#The History of Lesser Town

The Quarter was built in the 13th century, when in 1257 King Přemysl Ottokar established a merchants' market in the area that later became Lesser Town Square. Around this square, settlements in the area will grow and the Mala Starna quarter will be born.

Later, during the Renaissance, many nobles began to move into the quarter and it became more popular during the Baroque period. Over the years, they have established magnificent palaces, among them the Wallenstein Palace and its magnificent gardens, the ‪Sternberg Palace‬, the Lichtenstein Palace and others.

Over the years, many of the greatest Czech artists have moved to the quarter, among them figures such as the famous composer Bedrich Smetana, the realist poet and writer Jan Neruda, the writer Karel Čapek, who by the way is considered by many to be the pioneer of science fiction and who coined in his book in 1920 the term "robot."



A View from Above of Lesser Town:

https://youtu.be/WFYapfjkPqE



Here are Photos from Lesser Town:

https://youtu.be/7PQqBwDn3NU
Jewish Quarter in Prague
Josefov
#About the Ancient Jewish Quarter in Prague

Today the quarter is nicknamed Josefov, but some will always call it the Jewish Quarter of Prague. The Old Jewish Quarter of the city is one of the most toured areas in the city, the most ancient part of Prague. There are old and ancient buildings filled with history, including the Jewish Museum, the old Jewish Cemetery and a number of synagogues.

Though Jews were settling in the city from the 10th century, the Jewish Quarter in Prague exists from the 12th century. In the past Jews were allowed to only live within the Quarter limits, which received the name "The Jewish Ghetto."

More than any other city in Europe, the Jews of Prague received a high status in the financial and cultural life of the city, and made strong ties with the rulers. Here too in the Czech Republic, there were difficult stories of blood libels, accusations of arson, fires, poisoning of wells, and persecution of Jews for any reason.

The location of the Jewish Quarter is between the Old City Square to the Vlatava River Banks. The name of the Jewish Quarter, Josefov, was given after the ruler of the Joseph II, who set a reform that greatly elevated the living status of the Jews in Prague.



#Jewish Quarter Constructions

The ghetto is a merger of two Jewish centers in the city - the first is the center of the "Ashkenazi" Jews, which centered around the Old New Synagogue (Altneuschul), the famous Maharal Synagogue, and the Sephardim, which were located around the Spanish Synagogue.

In the past, the Jewish Ghetto was one of the poorer parts of the city. It was repeatedly hit by floods from the river, a story that was resolved only in the early 20th century, when the batteries were lifted to prevent flooding from the river. Until then, the ghetto was one of the less well-tended neighborhoods in Prague.

Try not to look here only at graves on the ground. Look up and see the special buildings of the Quarter. Here is the world's largest concentration of buildings decorated with Art-Nouveau decorations. There are also representatives of Art-Deco and cubist architecture, two other interesting styles, which were also in fashion in the first half of the last century.



A Closer Look at Prague's Jewish Quarter:

https://youtu.be/nnAO5XiVg7U
Vyehradsk Hbitov
Vyšehrad Cemetery
#About the Cemetery of the Great Czechs

Near the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the eastern bank of Prague, lies the Vyšehrad Cemetery (Vyšehradský Hbititov), which for many years has been the cemetery of the nation's greats, where many of the Czechs are buried.

Among the people buried here are famous Czech artists, musicians, writers and leaders. In particular, the graves of writer Karl Shafek, the composers Dvořák and Smetana, and the pioneer of the Art Nouveau style, the Czech artist Mucha, are buried here.


A Closer Look at the Vyšehrad Cemetery:

https://youtu.be/BVmjsaL_Hgs


A Long Walk Along the Grounds:

https://youtu.be/zMBeoBh6-9o
Bazilika Svatho Petra a Pavla
Saint Peter and Paul Basilica
#About the Vyšehrad Gothic Basilica

The Saint Peter and Paul Basilica (Bazilika Svatého Petra a Pavla) is an impressive basilica, in the style of the Gothic Revival, located inside the Vyšehrad Fortress in Prague. Its two towers are central to the horizon of the high citadel and are well visible from the city center on the other side of the river.

The church is named after the saints Peter and Paul. It was built during the 19th century, but was severely damaged by a fire. At the beginning of the 20th century it was rebuilt.

The two matching towers of this basilica are its prominent symbols from the outside. As you enter it and you can see the impressive mosaic above the main entrance.

Do not miss the church's unique and beautiful stained glass windows.

If you go out behind the holy church of Saint Peter and Paul, you can see the Vyšehrad Cemetery, where many of the greatest Czechs have been buried in recent generations.



A 360-Degree View of the Church at the Vyšehrad Fortress:

https://youtu.be/MvWH946vin8

Free in Prague

Jan Palach Square
Jan Palach Square
#About the Square Dedicated to the Student who Set Himself on Fire in a Protest

In the Jan Palach Square, the student is memorialized for setting himself on fire and dying in 1969. The suicide was in demonstration of the Soviet invasion into Czechoslovakia that occurred before in 1968. An invasion that symbolically happened exactly 30 years after the German Wehrmacht invasion into the Czech.

The Soviet invasion into Czechoslovakia happen a year earlier, in the violent Communist suppression of the "Prague Spring" in Czechoslovakia, the relaxation towards the Czechoslovakian people by the leader of those days, Alexander Dubček. Soviet tanks then invaded the city, under direct orders from Moscow, and abolished the relative freedom allowed by the Czech regime and later ousted the leader.

Palach's funeral in Prague was for a leader demonstrator in the mass public protest of the Soviet invasion, opposing the strict Communist rule, that was controlled from Moscow. A month after Palach's stunt, another student set himself on fire as well, named Jan Zajíc. Later, another patriotic youth also set himself on fire in the city, Evžen Plocek.

The shock that this suicide brought, mostly to the free and democratic Western world, was not felt by the Soviet occupier, that was not affected by the arson operation and did not weaken its stand in the slightest.




The Memorial in Memory of Jan Palach and His Heroism:

https://youtu.be/kHo20eri3l0
Narrowest Street of Prague
The Narrowest Street of Prague
#About the Alley With the Street Light

In the Lesser Quarter is the Vinarna Certovka, the alley that claims to be the narrowest in the world, and in the Czech Republic, but might only be the narrowest in Prague.

It is hard to be entirely accurate, but the street is less than 20 inches in width (about 50 centimeters), and really is a narrow alley. The alley is so narrow in fact, that no more than one adult can walk through it at once. This is why the city of Prague has put in pedestrian stop lights, and has turned this street into a tourist destination - the stop light is meant to alleviate the traffic when people come to the alley from both directions - you can only walk through when you have a green light.


A Closer Look at the Narrowest Street in Prague:

https://youtu.be/zbm07QFn64M
Karlv Most
Charles Bridge
#About the Ancient Bridge

Charles Bridge (Karlův Most) is the oldest bridge in Prague and connects Lesser Town to the Old City. It is best known for its 30 Baroque sculptures on its sides, and is a major tourist attraction in Prague. Throughout the day there are improvised music performances, a variety of street artists performances for tourists and vendors selling souvenirs and products to tourists.

The crowded bridge, built under the protection of King Karl, was designed by Prague's important Gothic architect, Peter Parler. The cornerstone of the ancient bridge was laid in 1357.

At both ends of the bridge are ancient towers. In the past, they were part of the fortifications of the city and can now be seen below.

The view from the bridge is breathtaking, as the sight of the minarets of the churches in the city, with St. Vitus Cathedral at the top, always overlooks the bridge. In the evening, the sight is even more enchanting, with the sparkling lights, the romance in the air and the Prague Castle, illuminated by a multitude of lights and floodlights, making the entire region a spectacle of spectacular lights.



#The Statues on the Charles Bridge

On the Charles Bridge itself stands an impressive line of sculptures. The statues were placed on the bridge, gradually, when the rulers of the Czech Republic and Prague added more and more statues to the bridge, until their number reached 30.

The sculptures here, by the way, are copies of the original sculptures that were once here . The replacement took place in recent decades, after the original sculptures were damaged by the weather and were finally removed from the bridge.

If you look at the eighth statue on the left, as you walk from the Old City towards Mala Strana, you will see a small white figure. The reason she is white are the thousands of tourists who touch the statue and "beautify" it in their hands. The reason is the widespread belief that touching the image of holiness will bring about fulfillment of the wishes of the person concerned.

Indeed, this is the first statue erected on the Charles Bridge around 1683. It is a monument to the memory of Saint John of Nepomuk (Saint Jana Nepomuckého), a Christian saint who was thrown in 1391 from the bridge to the river because he refused to reveal the queen's confessions. A look at the base of the statue will show you the bronze relief that symbolizes his martyrdom.




A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/-fX6VGG7wOM?t=20s



The Bridge at Night:

https://youtu.be/FSornR_R8cE
Tyn Cathedral
Church of Our Lady before Týn
#About the Church with the Organ that Mozart Played

The Church of Our Lady before Týn (Tyn Cathedral, Kostel Matky Boží Před Týnem) is an impressive Gothic Cathedral from the Middle Ages.

The Church is one of the bases of reformist activity in Christianity. From the death of Jan Hus until 1620, it was the stronghold of the Hussites in Prague.



#The Church's Architecture

The Týn Cathedral was built between 1511-1536, at the height of the Middle Ages.

The church's two black turrets take over the Old City skyline and stand at the height of 80 meters.

Inside the cathedral you can see the Gothic cross of the alter, and next to it the church organ, from the Rococo period.



#About the Women-Chasing Astronomer Buried in the Church

To the left of the entrance you will see the tomb of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. He was the astronomer of Emperor Rudolph II, apart from astronomy he was also interested in something else...

Tycho Brahe was a drinker and an ardent female pursuer. What does ardent mean exactly? - Once he even lost part of his nose in a duel with a jealous husband. Since then he used to put a metal piece on his face. Brahe died in 1601 during an excessive drinking night and it is told that this silver nose was buried with him here.



A View from Above at Týn Cathedral and the Area:

https://youtu.be/SA0SukowWtQ


Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square
#About the Luxurious Protestor's Square in the Heart of the New City

Wenceslas Square (Václavské Námestí) is a long square in the center of Prague, also known as the "Republic Square." This is a long walkway, about 750 meters long, that has a wide open space starting in the old city, leading towards the South-East. It begins at the National Museum, in the old Parliament Building, and arrives at the shopping street Ma Prikope.

The square, the main square in the new city of Prague, is a center for protest and celebrations for the Czech Republic, the beating heart of the country, what is known as the "square of demonstrations," where several major events took place in the history of the Czech Republic. In 1918 the Czech Republic announced its independence. Here the Czech protested against the Nazis before they occupied Czech. Years later, this is where the end of World War II was announced. Here the Czech also demonstrated against the Communist rule, and the two students Jan Palach and his friend are commemorated here, who lit themselves on fire in protest of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the violent Communist suppression of the "Spring of Nations" in the country.

In 1989, right here in the square, the famous protest was here, the Velvet Revolution, which eventually overthrew the Communist rule in the country and brought democracy to the Czech Republic. Look up at the balcony of house number 36, called the Melantrich Building. Now allow yourselves to imagine Václav Havel and Alexander Dubček standing next to Nablus and announcing the end of the Communist regime in the country at the end of the Velvet Revolution.

The square is packed on a daily basis, filled with tourists. However the square is also a center for night life. The majority of the city's fancy restaurants are here, with stores, and the big clubs in Prague.

In the square you can be impressed by two of its well-known symbols. The first is the bronze statue of Václav Havel, and the second is that National Museum of the Czech Republic. Both are located at the edge of the square.


#What Can be Seen in the Square?

In the square that is a sort of rectangular boulevard, are a few national statues that are important to the Czech Republic. Among them can be seen the bronze statue and Václav Havel, and the church named after it. Václav, the king of the Czech in the 10th century, is considered the one who connected tribes in the area and create the nation. In the eyes of the Czechs, the king is on the same level as a saint, and a protector of the region of Bohemia, in general and the city of Prague in particular

Next to the statue of Václav Havel you can see more statues of other saints that are related to the city of Prague. For instance, the statue of Agnes, a 12-year-old girl, who became a saint after she refused to marry the son of the Roman ruler. Legend says that as punishment for refusing the marriage, she was thrown into the streets naked. According to faith she stayed a virgin, after an angel answered her prayers and covered her up with her hair. Agnes was later put to death, and became a saint.

Another statue is of Ludmila, the mother of Wenceslas himself, who is considered the Holy Mother of the Bohemians, who by the way, are not the warlords but the people of Bohemia, including the inhabitants of Prague.

In the square are also the statues of Adelbert, a past Bishop of Prague, and of Prokop, a Christian saint born in Jerusalem who succeeded in converting 6,000 barbarians to Christianity by presenting them with the cross.



#Tips

We recommend getting to the square around the evening, when the square is full with people and locals, and the statue and museum are lit up beautifully.



A Closer Look at Wenceslas Square:

https://youtu.be/3W7OGUEuv7Q



The Square During Christmas:

https://youtu.be/idSuMs976CY



The Monument in the Memory of Jan Palach in Winter:

https://youtu.be/yZQKpxHaj-w
Old Town Square
#The Beautiful Central Square of Prague

Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí) which many see as the most beautiful square in the world, is the Square of the Old Town. The square is considered one of Prague's main tourist attractions, and indeed it is the most beautiful square in Europe, perhaps the most popular in Prague itself.

The square is surrounded by magnificent buildings, including architectural pearls such as the Church of Our Lady before Týn, St. Nicholas Church and the Old Town Hall. The impressive buildings in the square are decorated in Gothic and Baroque style.

The history of Old Town Square begins in the 10th century. The square served as a bustling market area, and vibrant center of life in Old Prague.

In the center of the square stands a statue of Jan Hus, a reformer and an important figure in Czech history.

On the Old Town Hall is the Astronomical Clock, which rings every hour and magnetizes masses of tourists. When this happens, the square fills up with a crowd waiting to see the clock.


#Tips

Want to enjoy the show, without having to stand tight, with the whole audience? - Enjoy a round hour in one of the cafes opposite the clock and the old tower.



A Closer Look at Old Town Square:

https://youtu.be/zSmgwIkuovc



Another Look:

https://youtu.be/4-yNWTw3ZTQ
Church of Our Lady Victorious
#About the Saint Mary Church of Victorious

You are located in the Saint Mary Church of Victorious (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné) where there is a famous wax statue of baby Jesus.

The church walls around the alter are covered by marble slates. These were placed as a thank you by believers who enjoyed the miracles of the sculpture baby Jesus. The statue of baby Jesus was brought from Spain in 1628 and is well taken care of in the church. Every few days the baby's clothes are changed, by pilgrims who come and donate the clothes from all over the world. The baby statue is located in a glass container, in a magnificent and impressive altar.

The entrance and looking over the church treasures is allowed during all opening hours, except during prayer.



A Closer Look at the Church:

https://youtu.be/_cZYknTvSLc



Video Presentation:

https://youtu.be/D7zFk5RVsVk



Another Look:

https://youtu.be/kDTJyom0kIU
Petrin Gardens
#About the Building the Reminds of the Eiffel Tower

Petrin Gardens (Petřínské Sady, or Petrin Hora) is a hill whose height is 327 meters, located in the center of Prague, on the western banks of the Vltava River.

The hill provides a loved vacation space for the residents of Prague. This garden goes between being calm during the day hours, and a family entertainment area that children love to play at.

Most of the visitors to the gardens come here from the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) district in Prague, with the funicular, a cable car, first operated in 1891 and connects the city to the top of the hill.

Legend says that once the princess Libushe stood here, and predicted that Prague will flourish, will be big and win international recognition. Recognition? - Maybe, but it can be said for certain that there are many children attractions here.

Petrin Tower - a viewpoint tower that looks a lot like the French Eiffel Tower.

Mirror Maze - a place where you will continuously run into mirrors, because it's hard to understand what is reality and what is a reflection. So fun!

Walking and biking trails - many come here to exercise.

The Observatory - a place to see stars in Prague.

Horse Stables - a place to rent horses and go for a ride around the hill.

The Hunger Wall - the historic wall, that was built under Karl IV, when hunger in Prague grew deep. The Emperor assisted the poor, by providing work in wall building, he gave workers food.




#Tips

You can climb to the top of the hill by either walking or taking the funicular - the cable car. A pass for the public transportation in the city includes rides on the cable car.

Notice that the line to the cable car can be long, especially on weekends and during the summer months.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/dOCPig8Oyg4


Another Look at the Petrin Gardens:

https://youtu.be/E-8_9Z0mHrg


The Funicular Ascending to the Top of the Petrin Gardens:

https://youtu.be/WinrvSbhIoA
Lennon Wall
#About the Graffiti in Memory of John Lennon

Lesser Town (Malá Strana), with the beautiful impressive churches, located on the western banks of the Vltava River, is a corner for the memory of John Lennon.

Let's really start - the Lennon Wall (Lennonova Zed) was never a memorial for the important singer, who was murdered by an insane fan. It was born as a way for young Czech people to express a peaceful protest against the communist regime. This wall is covered by graffiti, from Prague's darker days.

Many of Prague's students used to come here, draw, write, and run away from the police. The police were forced to again and again paint the wall, but people would come back and repaint the wall. Someone then added to the anti-communist addresses also written for peace and the portrait of Lennon. What came next was clear. Lennon and peace, let alone imagination, always went together...

And then the Velvet Revolution of 1989 arrived. This was the end of the communist rule over Czechoslovakia, the former name of the country that was united with Slovakia under Soviet rule. After the revolution, tourists began taking pieces off the wall and keeping them as souvenirs. After considerable parts of the wall were taken, it was decided to redraw the graffiti and slogans, what made the wall especially vibrant and colorful.

It is interesting that up to today, as a free and democratic country, slogans are still being added and written for peace, equality, and love.

Lennon's imagination lives on!



A Closer Look at the Lennon Wall:

https://youtu.be/uIqm5gWGmcY


A Song:

https://youtu.be/hUb47nRmXyY
Prague Astronomical Clock
#About Prague's Famous Astronomical Clock

The Prague Astronomical Clock (Pražský orloj) is the oldest working clock in the world. This is a mechanical miracle of late medieval engineering. It is an astronomical clock that has been operating since the Middle Ages, and at every hour attracts crowds of excited tourists waiting to watch the wonder.

The clock on the tall municipality building at Stormska Square in the city was installed in 1410. It indicates the time in central Europe and the exact date of the month and year. The zodiac signs beneath the clock reveal the location of the stars and symbol that is currently dominating the zodiac. The outer ring of the clock calculates the time, according to the sunset.

Every hour, from 8 am to 8 pm, Jesus and his twelve messengers appear from the clock. It has various figures visible from the window, once an hour. Among them you can see the skeleton symbolizing the Angel of Death with his hourglass, a Turkish symbol of the Church's enemy, the miser merchant with the bag of coins in his hands, an angel, an astronomer, a rooster reading aloud and more.

If you go up to the clock inside the tower, you will enjoy a close look at the show of the 12 apostles of Jesus, who come out of the clock every hour, moving in a circle and peering out of the watch. And by the way, in the town hall you can also go up to the panoramic view of all of Prague.



#History of the Prague Astronomical Clock

The Prague Astronomical Clock is considered to be the world's best-kept watch of ancient astronomical clocks. The amazing thing is that the original mechanical mechanism still operates there, from 1410 until today.

The original mechanism of the clock was installed in 1410, by a clockmaker Mikulash Makadan. He created it with Jan Schindel, professor of astronomy at the University of Karl. In 1490 they added the calendar and dolls, made by a master in the name of Hanos. Legend has it that city councilors were so enthusiastic about Hanos's work, they feared that he would build a similar clock in another European city, and this lead them to make him blind. So there would be no other clock like this anywhere in the world.

The clock has worked continuously since then, except when in 1886 it underwent a major renovation. It was then that a Cronometer was added, built by Romuald Buzek. In the middle of the 19th century, Joseph Manes, a Czech national revivalist, added the calendar to the clock, with the natural paintings depicting the four seasons.

Another renovation took place after World War II. This is because the city hall was burned down and the clock was badly damaged.



#A Tour of the Town Hall in Prague

A tour inside the town hall takes place several times a day. On the tour, you can go first to the top of the tower above the town hall and view the historical center of Prague.

Later on you can stroll through the beautiful city halls and see the chapel of the town tower. You can look at the statues of the astronomical clock's apostles closely and then descend into the subterranean rooms beneath the building. Here you can visit the ruins of the Gothic and Romanesque periods, where there is a maze of streets, shops and old houses.



#How Many Municipalities Does One City Need?

You may have already noticed that there is a town hall across the Marianske Square, and another one next to the Powder Tower, and they are not the only ones. So what the hell is going on here?

The story is that until the 18th century Prague was a collection of four cities, each with its own town hall. Once they were united into one big city, the separate townhouses remained in each quarter. In Prague, as in other ancient cities, there was also a new town hall, so this city contains, in any case, a rather impressive collection of town halls.




A Closer Look at the Prague Astronomical Clock:

https://youtu.be/BeXLoHoVZmk



This is How it Looks Behind the Scenes:

https://youtu.be/Ef_WCsJGThM



A Further Look Back:

https://youtu.be/QAq_0y4uhi4


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

אלפי נושאים, תמונות וסרטונים, מפתיעים, מסקרנים וממוקדים.

ניתן לנווט בין הפריטים במגע, בעכבר, בגלגלת, או במקשי המקלדת

בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

שלום,
נראה שכבר הכרתם את אאוריקה. בטח כבר גיליתם כאן דברים מדהימים, אולי כבר שאלתם שאלות וקיבלתם תשובות טובות.
נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.