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12 March 2015

Prague: Part 3

Whew.. going to try and cram a lot into this last post to wrap up Prague.

Wednesday morning I explored the Jewish quarter of Prague. The whole area is beautiful and very very well preserved. This is because when Hitler invaded he chose Prague as the space where his future museum of an eradicated race would be. Totally awful, obviously, but in the a nice way his choice of location made it possible for so many relics, artifacts and buildings to be left untouched and unharmed.

Prague in general was not very affected by WWII and the Nazis- meaning overall the city is in incredible condition with a majority of it's original buildings and structures. Not as much bombing meant not as much rebuilding. This is a reason why people love Prague. It still has the old world European vibe that many other European cities lost during the war.

Anyways Jewish quarter. I toured three synagogues, the old Jewish cemetery, and a ceremonial hall. The first synagogue, Pinkas, is now a Holocaust memorial- filled with handwritten names of the 77,000 Bohemian-Jews who lost their loves. After touring that synagogue you enter the Jewish cemetery. It might sound a bit odd but the cemetery is very cool. For many many years the Jewish quarter was a Jewish Ghetto and enclosed with a wall, the Jewish population only had this one space to bury their people and by Jewish law you cannot remove a body from its burial space once it has been buried. This led to piling up dirt on top of old graves to create new graves. They estimate their are about 100,000 people buried in this area over the course of about 300 years. The graves are up to 12 stories deep and you can still see about 10,000 headstones that are all haphazardly placed.

Everything in the quarter is interesting to look at and learn about. I enjoyed touring the Spanish Synagogue which is beautifully decorated and the Old-New Synagogue just for it's history. I did buy the audio tour here and was happy to have the extra information at each stop.

I ate lunch afterwards at this amazing vegetarian place a friend recommended. It was the best meal I had the entire time I was in Prague.

I walked down the river after to visit Frank Gehry's Dancing House nicknamed Fred and Ginger!

And then traveled just a few blocks away to a church crypt where Jan Kubis, Jozef Gabcik and other members of their team hid after completing the assassination of the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. They were eventually found here as well, and after a long battle many of them committed suicide instead of submitting to the German soldiers. A little depressing, sorry!

I finished off Wednesday with another awful underground tour but also enjoying some of the Chinese New Year Festivities in the Old Town Square. 

Thursday I woke up bright and early to hit one last place before my flight left. And I am so happy I did because it was one of my favorite spots of my whole adventure. The Lobkowicz Palace, located within the castle walls. The Lobkowicz family is one of the oldest Bohemian Noble families and dates back to the 14th Century. After having most of the possessions taking from them twice in the past 100 years, the Nazis and the Communists, they were giving almost all of them back in 1990. The current head of the house is William Lobkowizc who is an American born, Boston raised, Nobleman who helped put the family art and collections back together. 

They recently reopened this palace, with a well-spoken and easy to listen to audio guide from William himself. The best pieces to see are the original compositions and scores from Beethoven and Mozart. An ancestor of the family was a patron of Beethoven and is in a way whom we need to thank for some of his pieces. As Beethoven's patron he gave Beethoven complete freedom in what music he wanted to compose and write, things like his Third Symphony. 

This palace was beautiful, well laid-out, easy to understand and included a very informative audio guide. I can only hope to go back and see some of the families other homes in the area. 

Overall Prague was a great trip. I'm happy I went, am thrilled to have learned some new facts, and glad I could add in some many amazing places to visit. 

My trip home was a long one- about 10.5 hours on a place, but I did watch Gone Girl, Boyhood, The Skeleton Twins and This Is Where I Leave You, helping round out some of my Oscar nominees for the year. 

Hoping to do another trip soon! 
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  1. The architecture looks so neat! That Frank Gehry building is trippy, but really cool and I bet even more cool in person.

  2. Yes! The buildings all over Prague are gorgeous, a lot of art nouveau. was happy to get see some of his work!