Friday, April 28, 2006

Holiday pics: Prague Old Town Square

Every town in Europe, be it big or small must have at least one town square. This is where people of all ages, gender and creed gather for trade, leisure and entertainment. Prague is no exception to this rule. While the city has many public squares all over town, the most popular and famous has got to be the Old Town Square or Staromestske Namesti.

Dating back to the late 12th century, the Old Town Square started it's life as the central marketplace for Prague. Over the next few centuries, many buildings of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles were erected around the market. At the centre of the Old Town Square is the Jan Hus statue, erected on the 6th July 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death. Jan Hus was a local war hero whose beliefs led his supporters to start the Hussite Wars in the 14th - 15th century.

Another highlight of the square is the Astronomical Clock. Perched on top of the Old Town Hall Tower, this big mechanical clock dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. The highlight of this beautiful construction is the hourly procession of the Twelve Apostles; every hour on the hour, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk. I bet there aren't that many Turkish tourists who'd like that. Hehehehe

Strolling in this huge square soon took its toll on our feet, so Chris and I decided to rest our legs in this nice al fresco restaurant. It wasn't too crowded because it's winter and nobody in their right mind would go out strolling in -10ÂșC weather. Nobody except us... and some Japanese tourists. Ahhh..... nothing like sipping chilled Czech beer in the freezing outdoors.....

Perhaps the most imposing building in all of the square is this building, the Church of our Lady before Tyn. Dominating one side of the Square, this powerful looking, Gothic church with a baroque interior can be seen from all over Prague. The church was founded in 1385 during the tumultuous period when the ‘heretic’ Hussites were slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. The Catholic Jesuits then made the church their own by recasting the bell and replacing the Hussites symbolic chalice with a ten-foot figure of Mary nailed between the towers. One interesting thing about the two spires is that they are not symmetrical. This is characteristic of the gothic architecture of the time, which tried to represent both masculine and feminine sides of the world.

As we weaved through the smalled side streets surrounding the square, we chanced upon a "Sex Machines Museum". Ooh La La. This museum showcased all the various types of machines and gadgets used to make sex more convenient and pleasurable. There was even a small room which showed the one of earliest porn movies ever made. Sorry, I can't put up the pic of it as I might get censored, but rest assured it was really hilarious and exciting at the same time. Try think of Charlie Chaplin making out with Queen Latifah in black and white, and you'll get what I mean.

1 comment:

Asther said...

Wow... I love d photo of the Astronomical Clock!