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Hidden Prague

There are many details that slip from the attention of guidebook publishers and you can discover them just wondering and getting lost in a city.
Most of the times these details help a place to be unique and special.
Let’s go around the city discovering these less known places, but first I have a question for you…

Where can we find the smallest book in Prague?

a) we don’t know. it was lost
b) in the library of Strahov. It measures 6x6 mm and it is a prayer in 7 languages.
c) In selected bookshops.

I will tell you the right answer in a while…

Statue of Stalin

Today on the hill Letna there is a metronome, placed in 1991 to celebrate the 100 years of the Jubilee exhibition held back in 1891. It symbolizes the politic changes in Prague.
From 1955 to 1962 here stood one of the largest statues in Europe representing Stalin and behind him the Czech and the Russian people. The base is still there and it is 15 meters high. Above the base the statue measured 15 more meters and was 22 meters long. The weight was 15,000 tons and was made of 226 blocks of granite.
It was destroyed by dynamite in 1962. People of Prague nicknamed it” the Line for Bread”.
Michael Jackson put his statue in the same place few years ago for when he chose Prague as starting city of his European tour and newspapers wrote many critics. Good luck it was not there as long as the statue of Stalin!
I know you are curious to know how the statue of Stalin looked like so here are for you some links with pictures:
Foto1 Foto2

Monument to Culture Marianské Náměstí 1 Prague 1 Municipal Library

The municipal library was reconstructed few years ago and enriched with a nice detail.
Maybe they had found old books that nobody wanted to read anymore and instead of throwing them away they used them in a very original way creating the Monument to Culture, well that’s how I call it. This sculpture is in the entrance of the library and is made of books glued together. Inside two mirrors create a never-ending tunnel of books.

Military Kiss Park in front of the Main Station

This statue shows two soldiers kissing each other. It was erected to remember the “liberation” of the country by the Russian Army in 1945. Of course the tallest soldier is the Russian and the smallest and submissive is the Czech.
This is one of the few statues from the Old Times still existing.

Velvet Revolution Memorial Národní třída 16 Palace Kanka passageway Prague 2

The period from the Prague Spring of 1968 to 1989 is called with a bad word: Normalization. It really meant taking back the country to the Good Way…
In 1989 the political geography of Europe changes: The Berlin Wall is turned down, The Perestroika by Gorbacov starts a new era and hope opens again for Czechoslovakia.
On November 17th students start a protest that soon will lead to the Velvet Revolution. The name is due to the fact that nobody was killed but the population was able to cause the resignation of the communist party after little more than a month of strike.
This memorial reminds that just here in front students were blocking the street sitting in the middle.
On November 17th every year crowds of people gather here to place the candles of peace and hope.

Černín Palace Loretánské Náměstí 5 Prague 1

The Cernin palace was built in the half of 1600 for the Count Cernin who was Ambassador of the king in Venice. When he came back to Prague he wanted to build his palace as big as the Prague Castle .Of course he didn’t manage to do that and he got the family in debts for generations to come. This building was used as a recovery for The Poor and also for the foreign armies. Later it became barracks for the army. From 1918 it hosts the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs. On March 10th 1948 there was here the Third Defenestrating of Prague. The victim was Jan Masarik, Ambassador of Czechoslovakia in England. When he came back to his country he was the only non-communist member after the Coup d’Etat so he was a very uneasy person. He was found dead in the backyard.
They had suicided him…
If you walk along Černínská you will see on the left the only window anti-defenestrating in Prague…

The Reversed Horse Václavské Náměstí Lucerna Passageway Prague 1

This very singular and light sculpture-it is made of polystyrene-represents the Prince Wenceslas on his horse but as seen from the point of view of the horse tired to death for the weight of the knight and his Armour.
At first it was placed in Mustek, at the opposite side of the one it is making fun of and later it was moved to this passageway.
The author, David Černy caused a great scandal when he made the Pink Tank. He painted with pink color the first Russian tank that entered and freed the city from the nazi yoke in 1945. Nothing bad so far but he placed in front a sign saying “Trojan Horse”…
He also created the Monument to Trabant, the mythical car from the former East Germany. When the two Germanys were joined together Germans who wanted to go back to their country crowded the German Embassy in Prague and most of them had this car.
If you want to know more about this artist here is the link to his page:
www.davidcerny.cz

Ballgame Hall Royal Gardens Prague Castle

This is a renaissance building built in 1567-1569 by Bonifaz Wohlmout.
This was the favorite hobby for nobles and it helped them to relax and stay in shape. This pavilion was then used as riding school and under the reign of Joseph II as arsenal. It was damaged and restored many times and also few years ago.
During the restoring in 1952,during the communist era, the architect added a detail that sure didn’t existed in 1500.Among the renaissance graffiti, between the allegories of Faith and Justice we can now see the communist hammer and sickle!

Did you know that…

In the Museum of the city of Prague, Metro C Florenc Švermody sady 52, there is a miniature of Prague made of cartoon, wood and paper showing the city in 1800. It was made between 1826 and 1834 by Antonin Langweil, archivist of the Prague University and covers a surface of twenty square meters.

Ah yes I almost forgot…the smallest book is in the Strahov Monastery.


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