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Following Kafka’s footsteps

Kafka is one of the most representative writers of 1900. He was born in Prague as citizen of the Habsburg Empire and died as citizen of the Czechoslovak state. In order to understand better Kafka you should visit Prague; well on the other hand to understand better Prague you should read Kafka… Kafka was born right during the period when the conflicts among Jews, Germans and Czechs become more intense and during his childhood the Ghetto was turned down and reconstructed erasing his cultural heritage. These two factors deeply influenced his way of writing. Most of the places concerning his life still exist nowadays.

House At the Tower, F. Kafka Square Prague 1

Kafka was born in this house on July 3rd 1883.
His family was of Jewish origin but his father obliged him since his childhood to speak German. Kafka was put aside by the German community because he spoke the language but was not German but he was also put aside by the Czech community because he was a Jew speaking the language of the invader. Only the main door is original. The whole house was turned down during the reconstruction of the Ghetto. Kafka’s family lived here until 1885. Today the square bears his name and a portrait is hung on the corner of the house. Small exhibition inside.

House Sixt Celetna 2 Prague 1

The whole family lived here from August 1888 to May 1889. The house has a Baroque façade but the origin is much older, Romanesque. In the past many famous people lived here. Among them Cola di Rienzo and Francesco Petrarca and also Johannes Faust. Later Filippo Fabrizio one of the “victims “ of the Defenestration of 1618 bought an apartment here and was nicknamed Filippo Fabrizio von Hohenfallu From High fall. His father moved very frequently due to his shop looking for a better and better place to live.

House At the Minute Malé Náměstí 2 Prague 1

Kafka lived here with the family from June 1889 to September 1896. His three sisters were born here: Elli (1889), Valli (1890), Ottla (1892). Later they all died in the nazi concentration camps. This house is from the 17th centuries and it is decorated with graffiti from 1615 showing biblical and mythological scenes. During Kafka’s life the façade was Baroque and the graffiti were hidden behind.

Palace Golz-Kinsky Staroměstské Náměstí 11 Prague 1

His father had his shop here for a while selling clothes fittings right where now you see Kafka ‘s Bookshop. His way of writing was also influenced a lot by the clashing relationship with the father very strict and autocratic. In the backyard there was a German high school that he attended with profit except in Mathematic. The building has a Baroque origin and a Rococo façade. The terrace on the first floor awakens bad memories because the first communist president, Klement Gottwald, made his first speech after the Coup d’Etat in 1948

House at the ship Prague Hotel Intercontinental Nám. Curieových 5 Prague 1

The house stood here where there is now the hotel and Kafka lived here from 1907. This was one of the house built after the clearing of the Jewish Ghetto and had all the possible comforts including the elevator. Kafka started here his mission in writing and composed his first novel The Judgment and started The Metamorphosis and Lost Without a trace. If you want to know which was the view from Kafka’s room go to the last floor of the hotel to the restaurant and look towards the river. The view faces The Castle…

Golden Lane Prague Castle Prague 1

Kafka was always searching for a quieter place to write and in 1916 his favorite sister Ottla found this tiny house He used to come here to write until the autumn of the same year. Well don’t think how it looks now full of souvenirs shops and tourists .At that time it was a peaceful place.

For you, American reader, might be interesting to know that Kafka lived also in the building that now belongs to your Embassy, The Schonborn Palace Tržišti 15 Malá Strana Prague 1

Kafka had two jobs during his short lifetime. He worked just to be able to accomplish his mission of writer .He wrote at night. His first job was at the Assicurazioni Generali Václavské Náměstí 19 Wenceslas Square. He worked also for the Worker’s Accident Insurance Company of the Kingdom of Bohemia Na Pořičí 7 Prague 2 now Hotel Mercure.

Kafka’s grave New Jewish Cemetery Metro A station Želivského Prague 10

Kafka suffered from tuberculosis and spent his last years wondering from a sanatorium to the other while the disease that lead him to death got worse and worse. He died in a sanatorium near Vienna on June 3rd 1924 .He was little over 40. He was buried in the New Jewish Cemetery. Many years later in 1968 his best friend Max Brod was buried in front of him.

Don't miss the Kafka Museum a very nice and interesting exibition about his life and masterpieces. Hergetova Cihelna Cihelna 2 Prague 1 Opened every day from 10.00 to 18.00.

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