This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for January, 2014

Prague Municipal House and Powder Tower

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 7, 2014

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The Municipal House is a government building and concert hall, which was started in 1905 on the site of Royal Court palace (abandoned in the 15th century). It is an extremely ornate Art Nouveau building, which is worth photographing inside. Many of the rooms are closed to the public but there are guided tours almost every day. The mosaic in the dome over the entrance (above) is the Apotheosis of Prague, based on a painting by Karel Spillar. The inscription above the mosaic is a quotation by Svatopluk Cech: “Hail to you Prague! Brave the time and malice as you have resisted all the storms throughout the ages” (could use some editing).

View of the Municipal House with the Powder Tower (one of the 13 original city gates) on the left. The Powder Tower was started in 1475 and presented to Vladislav II as a coronation gift. Its design was inspired by Peter Parler’s design of the Charles Bridge.

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Bridge connecting the Powder Tower and the Municipal House.

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You can ascend the Powder Tower during the day. I’m told the view is worth the steps, but we climbed so many towers in Prague that we figured we could give this one a miss.

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Powder Tower from the other side, the side facing the Old Town.

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Don’t Blink….

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 6, 2014

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These stone angels outside Loreto Prague, a 16th century cloister, church, and pilgrimage site, look harmless. Until you blink….  At least in the first photo they’re all facing away.

Wasn’t the angel at the bottom of the stairs facing the same direction as the others?

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Tower of the Loreto

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Loreto tower photographed from Loretánská street.

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Quiet Streets of Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 6, 2014

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It’s hard to believe that the old part of Prague has some quiet areas. These photos were taken mainly on Černínská street, which is surprisingly quiet, despite its proximity to the palace. If you’re going to lie down on a cobblestone road to photograph the sun bouncing off the interesting texture of the stones, make sure the road is empty. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone like Ivan along to keep an eye open for cars.

These old houses on Nový Svět are still private homes.

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I have no idea how they manage the small doorways. Czechs tend to be rather tall; here’s a photo of Ivan for comparison. I could fit comfortably under the door, but I’m only 5′ tall.

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Lamp in front of orange wall on Loretánská.

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Second-storey balcony at the bottom of Černínská.

Stone water basin outside the Romantik Hotel U raka. It was September and the leaves were starting to turn.

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Strahov Brewery

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 1, 2014

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St. Norbert Antidepressant Autumn Dark Ale sounds like a great way to get through the dark cold winter! Strahov Monastery has had its own brewery as far back as the 13th century.

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The current brewery buildings date from the 19th century. The brewery was closed in 1901 and used for farm equipment. It was re-opened in 2000 and serves food and many different kinds of beer.

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The tall guy standing in front of the bar is Ivan Navratil, a Czech photo guide (he’s holding a tiny Sony mirror-less camera). If you’re an avid photographer, I highly recommend Prague Photo Tours. Ivan is a retired photographer who works with Randy Harris, who organizes photo tours in seven cities around the world. I was the only one on this tour, so we spent 5 hours roaming Prague, photographing a variety of sites, from the regular tourist sites to houses, gates, flowers, architectural details. Ivan is friendly, gregarious, and knowledgeable (see his Tripadvisor reviews). If you’re doing a night tour, you can arrange to borrow a tripod, instead of shlepping one in your luggage. There are advantages to booking a local photographer. If you want to get a particular shot (like the famous image of all the bridges aligned), he can tell you how to do it. You have someone keeping an eye on things while you’re busy with your camera equipment. It’s a good idea to think in advance about the kind of shots you want, because otherwise you run the risk of going through a shopping list of shots that everyone else has done.

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