According to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the largest ancient castle in the world, sprawling across the hill above Charles Bridge.
Built and expanded over hundreds of years, it’s an architectural Frankenstein.
At the start was a memorial to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Very interesting.
It takes a few hours to tour walking top to bottom. For a quick first look. The highlight is the Cathedral of St Vitus.
The main nave is massive.
Our very enthusiastic guide insisted that the BEST museum in Prague was here in the castle – the Lobkowicz Palace.
Original manuscripts from Mozart and Beethoven as well as the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic.
As we stood outside the front door a distinguished gentleman entered. And returned. It was Prince William Lobkowicz himself, who grew up in Boston. He gave some gifts to our guide saying he had never overheard any other more accurately description of the collection. Our guide had tears in his eyes. It was an emotional moment for him.
The tour finishes with a walk downhill to the Charles Bridge.
I love their collection of historic globes, some from the late 1600s. This gallery itself dates back to 1772 and the books are still shelved as they were then.
Here is kept the most valuable book in Bohemia – an ancient illustrated Codex from about 1085. When I asked the guide conceded that the one we could see was a copy. The original is there in an environmentally controlled vault.
Ticket price is about $13. It includes the Baroque library hall, Meridian hall and city views from the Astronomical tower.
Every tourist visits the Prague astronomical clock, first installed 1410. This facility was one of the important research centres of astronomy.
First surprise, climbing rickety old stairs 68 meters.
Next — you only get a sneak peak at the library gallery. Those are all rare and original books from Jesuit history. No can touch.
The highlight was getting up for town vistas in clear weather.
I hadn’t realized how tourist-swarmed Prague has become. I visited in October, low season, yet everything was packed.
My hostel — Mosaic — was superb. Best breakfast I can recall.
To get oriented I took one of many available free walking tours: Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, …
Guides on free tours are paid by tip. They only survive if they are very good at the job.
My group had one awkward moment at the Jewish District when a tourist brought up the Palestinian cause … An important issue, but standing on ground where Nazis had murdered 90% of the Jews was wrong time, wrong place. We shut him down.
There are quirky, unusual attractions at every turn.
Wandering Prague at night with a flask of red wine was even better than daytime.
Yep. I hung out around the Charles Bridge every evening.
Germans documented everything and most of that documentation survived.
I visited the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Documentation Center, one of those storehouses. They have the name of every Jew, Gypsy, Homosexual, political opponent put on a train to a death camp, for example.
IF you’ve been somehow duped into believing the Holocaust didn’t happen, NEVER speak to me again. You are a moron.