Sunday, February 13, 2011

Letna Gardens and Prague Castle

  So, I visited Prague back in the summer, and had a wonderful time there, which is why I decided that Keewi and I ought to go there.  I wanted to see some spots I hadn't seen in the summer, though, so we started off walking to the north side of the city, to Letna Gardens.  We were rewarded with nice views over the river and a pretty little pavilion:

  The pavilion, called Hanavsky Pavilion, was built in 1891 for the Czech Jubilee Exposition.  The informational plaque says that in it, "iron is utilised to its fullest technical potential.  So there you go; if you've ever wondered what the pinnacle of ironwork looks like, now you know.

  Onward to Prague Castle.  I visited this over the summer, so you can look back at those photos if you want, but this time I paid admission to go into the buildings, so I got to see lots of stuff I hadn't seen before.  I was particularly impressed by some of the stained glass windows:

  I particularly like that last one.  "Osvobozo" apparently means "liberation," not sure what the remaining letters mean.  We climbed up many steps to the top of a tall tower in the castle, for some city views:

  That last one is actually from the lower end of the palace complex, not from the tower.  Then we looked at some other buildings in the palace:

  The first two are of some random building in the palace, I don't remember what.  The rest are from the Basilica of St. George, including the rather bizarrely mismatched exterior of the basilica.  It was founded at the beginning of the 10th century; Prague has History with a capital H!

  Next stop in the castle, Vladislav Hall:

  This historic hall held coronation celebrations beginning in 1509 and ending in 1836 (the actual coronations taking place in the nearby cathedral).  The second photo shows the window where the Second Prague Defenestration took place, defenestration being the act of throwing something (in this case people) out of a window.  The First Prague Defenestration took place in 1419 and triggered the Hussite War; the second, in 1618, set off the Thirty Years War.  The term "defenestration" was actually coined because of the Second Prague Defenestration.  And I have stood at the spot where it happened.  You may touch the hem of my garment.
  Also in those photos, some golden holy relic thing that they were all worked up about, a side chapel, what seemed to be a throne room but I'm not sure, the crown jewels (or replicas thereof; the gems looked suspiciously plastic-y), and the amazing ceilings.

  Finally, some silly tourist shots (Keewi's camera; all the rest were mine):

  These were in an old abbey/convent/something, also within the castle grounds.

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