Posts from the ‘Prague’ Category
Visitors to the Czech Republic will often travel from the capital city of Prague on a daytrip to Kutnä Hora. About 73 kilometres to the southeast from Prague, Kutnä Hora is best known for the two churches which have given the city UNESCO World Heritage Site status, as well as the famous kostnice or “Bone Church” (Ossuary).
In this post, I’ll illustrate some details of our return-trip by train from Prague to Kutnä Hora.
Four friends and I set out to Kutnä Hora on a Saturday morning and returned Saturday afternoon. A very quick visit the trip might have been, but various reasons dictated an early return.
Between train and bus, we chose the train to arrive in the “Sedlec” area of Kutnä Hora closest to the Bone Church. A day or two before departure, we searched the Czech Railways (České dráhy) website. Available in either Czech or English, the language choice is indicated at the top-right corner of their homepage.
After searching for suitable trains, we decided to take the 959am fast regional R679 train service (one hour journey) to Kutná Hora, and the R678 train at 3pm for the one-hour service back to Prague. We also chose services which didn’t involve a stop or a change of trains.
For our desired train routes, the following graphics represent portions of the search results from the Czech Railways webpage; “příjezd” and “odjezd” are “arrival” and “departure”, respectively.
We arrived at Prague’s main train station Saturday morning about 45 minutes before departure, and walked up to the “Jízdenky” counters to purchase our fares. The adult full-fare for a one-way ticket was 104 CZK, but we received the “Group Discount” for our group of five.
The following graphics show a brief description in English of the group discount ticket available to passengers on Czech Rail. From the English version of the Czech Rail homepage, I selected “Domestic Travel” from the top menu, followed by “Ticket” and “Fares and Discounts” along the left sidebar. A drop-down menu appeared, and I selected “Group Ticket”.
(“Vlakem pro ČR”, “Jizdenka”, “Jizdné a slavy”, “Skupinová jízdenka”)
The fare structure for our group of five adults was
* 1st passenger at full-fare: 104 CZK (Czech crowns).
* 2nd passenger at 30% discount: 73 CZK.
* 3rd, 4th, and 5th passenger, at 50% discount: 52 CZK each.
The entire one-way fare was 333 CZK, or 666 CZK for a full-return. For this short domestic trip, we didn’t spend extra for reserved seating.
It’s worth noting we purchased a single group-ticket for five people, and not five individual tickets. Because we purchased the entire return fare as a group at the same time, we received an additional 5% discount for a total return-fare of 633 CZK, or about $32 USD.
That’s $32 USD total for 5 people on a return-trip lasting a total of 2 hours and a total distance of 146 kilometres (91 miles). We traveled on 3 August 2013; our search, fares, and choice of trains remained valid after my back-checking in late-August.
Praha hlavní nádraží
Prague Main Train Station (Praha hlavní nádraží, abbreviated as “Praha hl. n.”) is located at Wilsonova 300/8 in Nové Město (New Town), and can be reached with:
* the red subway line or line C, at the dedicated metro stop “Hlavní nádraží”;
* the Airport Express (AE) bus, whose terminus points are the airport and the main train station;
* trams 5, 9, and 26, which stop just outside of the main train station.
Kutná Hora hlavní nádraží
Fast regional trains from Prague stop at the Kutná Hora main train station in the Sedlec neighbourhood, located outside of the town centre. However, Sedlec is also where the Ossuary and the Assumption church are located, within walking distance from the main train station. The map below shows the locations of the main train station (T), Ossuary (O), Assumption church (A), and St. Barbara’s cathedral (B).
Great timing! Amanda Williams describes her visit to the Ossuary here.
I obtained screen captures after searching Czech Railway webpages; I also made on 3 August 2013 the two Instagram images shown above. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).
One of the greatest and most important works of Czech art from the early 20th-century is on display in Prague’s Veletržní Palac (Trade Fair Palace) for a limited time until 31 December 2013.
All 20 paintings of “The Slav Epic” (Slovanská epopej) by Alfons Mucha can be viewed in the Czech capital city for the first time in over 80 years. For admirers of Mucha, Art Nouveau and history, the work is easier to reach than ever before and should not be missed.
Mucha’s The Slav Epic is a series of paintings on large canvas, which he completed in 1926. The paintings tell the story and mythology of the Slav peoples, with Mucha imagining the entire work as a commemorative piece to the Czech nation. Each painting spans several metres in both height and width, and stands tall even in a spacious exhibition hall. In every painting, grand scenes and landscapes are shown in a mixture of restrained colours, important figures, and careful details.
Alfons Mucha and his Legacy
Mucha was born in 1860 in the Moravian town of Ivancice, about 20 kilometres southwest of Brno. He worked as an artist in Vienna, Munich, and Paris. In Paris, he began to find success when he produced art posters commercially for advertising and for theatre productions. He is well-known for posters of French actress Sarah Bernhardt and of the “Four Seasons” series. For the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, Mucha designed and painted the interior wall of the Bosnia-Herzogovina Pavilion. He traveled throughout the Balkans to examine the region’s history and culture, planting the seeds for his grand work.
An Epic Accompanies “The Slav Epic”
What does it mean to people and their history when they haven’t been allowed to express themselves freely? For the Czech people under external rule for centuries until the creation of an independent nation in 1918, attempts to establish the concepts of “národ” (nation) and “vlast” (home/country) and to navigate the differences in between often appeared in literature, music, and art. Among many examples is “Má vlast”, a collection of six symphonic “poems” created by Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.
Mucha developed a stronger sense of “Czech nationalism” while he was teaching and producing art in the United States in the early years of the 20th-century. He founded the Slavic Council where he met millionaire Charles R. Crane who provided financial support when work began on The Slav Epic. Mucha spent two decades completing his epic; in the intervening time, individual pieces of the work were shown in Prague, New York, and Paris.
With all the pieces gathered in a single location, The Slav Epic premiered in its entirety to the public in Prague in 1928 on the tenth anniversary of an independent Czech nation.
Mucha donated The Slav Epic to Prague on the condition that the city build an exhibition space solely to display the collection. But the Second World War put on hold further thoughts of building this space. Mucha died in 1939, and as the land was under Nazi occupation shortly afterwards, the work was under threat of being stolen or destroyed. The paintings were hidden, and by 1963, they found their way to a castle in Moravský Krumlov, near Mucha’s birthplace.
The people of Moravský Krumlov believe that The Slav Epic should remain in their town as they have kept the work safe and on display for decades. Because Mucha donated his work to their city, the people of Prague have always urged that The Slav Epic be moved back to the capital. Some have argued that as long as Prague does not have a dedicated space as stipulated by Mucha, the art should remain in Moravský Krumlov. Others have countered that the castle in Moravský Krumlov is insufficient, requiring a great deal of expensive renovation work, and that the town is difficult to reach for visitors.
“The Slav Epic” Returns to Prague
The Slav Epic returned to Prague in 2012 to the same venue where the entire collection was debuted in 1928. The present exhibition in Veletržní Palace’s Grand Hall is based upon the layout intended by Mucha to present an overall view of the history and legends of the Slavic people.
Many of the figures in several of the paintings seem to stare directly (and ominously) at the viewer, suggesting Mucha is pleading with the viewer to take notice of not only the individual painting, but also of how the given story fits within the general narrative and timeline of the epic.
The Mucha masterpiece is presently on display until the end of 2013. As no permanent space has yet been assigned in Prague, what happens next in 2014 and beyond to The Slav Epic is unclear. But given its history, the future for The Slav Epic could amount to another “epic” in the making.
Basic Information: Where, When, How Much?
“The Slav Epic” exhibition is on view at Veletržní Palac (Trade Fair Palace) until 31 December 2013. The building is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm. The price of admission for the special exhibit is 180 CZK for adults. With public transport, the closest metro station is Vltavská (red line, line C), and trams 12, 17, 24 stop at “Veletržní palác” outside the building’s main entrance.
Other Places in Prague to See More Mucha
* Not far from Wenceslas Square, the Mucha Museum provides a quiet place to view a wide selection of Mucha’s artistic work.
* Mucha produced the stained-glass window called ‘Allegory of the Slav Nation” appearing in St. Vitus Cathedral on the grounds of the Prague Castle.
* Mucha painted the murals in the Lord Mayor’s Hall in the Municipal House (Obecní dům).
* Over 120 Mucha posters in Ivan Lendl’s collection is on display at The Municipal House until 10 September 2013.
* Mucha’s final resting place is in The Slavin in the Vyšehrad cemetery.
I made the photos above on 30, 31 July; and 6 August 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Prague is very attractive by day, but the Czech capital city is also beautiful at night.
By day, visitors are out and about, moving from one attraction to another. At night, sounds from pub crawls and pre-wedding parties seem to fill the air.
A closer look reveals a romantic side to the city with silent streets and half-empty plazas. A yellow glow settles like a warm and welcoming halo, softening the sharp lines of centuries-old architecture, and smoothing over cobbled stones embedded in old neighbourhood streets.
It’s easy to forget a significant part of central Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the following five locations to view the city at night provide great reminders of the important status. Don’t ignore the illuminated city after dark, which is still very safe, and don’t forget to bring your camera when journeying out at night.
1. Castle District (Hradčany)
A climb up the steps to the hill on which the castle sits gives way to a view of the Old Town and New Town along a stretch of the Vltava river. However, those who venture a little farther into the district are rewarded with scenes of cobblestone streets and the Castle and surrounding buildings bathed in warm yellow light.
Public transport: Tram 22 to stop “Pražský hrad” or “Pohořelec”.
2. Strahov Monastery (Strahovský klášter)
Not far from Castle District Square is Strahov Monastery. The monastery itself is closed at night, but the open area just east of the main gate lies along the side of Petrin hill. Along a walkway below the Bellavista restaurant is a small clearing with a view of the Little Quarter, Old Town, and beyond.
Public transport: Tram 22 to stop “Pohořelec”.
3. Letná park (Letenské sady)
The giant metronome is at the same location where a giant statue of Stalin once loomed over the city. This green space can be easily reached from Old Town Square, and the almost 180-degree view stretches from Vitkov Hill through Old Town and across the bridges to Mala Strana and Petrin hill.
Public transport: Tram 17 to stop “Čechův most”.
4. Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)
It might surprise some to know that this square, while very busy by day, is almost empty at night. The Old Town Hall Tower and the double spires of the Church of Our Lady Upon Tyn dominate the view, but illumination of the surrounding architecture and the Jan Hus sculpture provide additional historical elements.
Public transport: Metro A (green line) to stop “Staroměstská”.
5. Smetana Embankment (Smetanovo nábřeží)
The east-flank of the Vltava river just south of the Charles Bridge provides many places to make your own postcard-style photograph of Prague Castle and of Charles Bridge. A visit to the Charles Bridge and the Legion Bridge will supply more opportunities for night-time scenes.
Public transport: Trams 6, 9, 17, 18, 22 to stop “Národni divadlo”.
All five spots are marked with their corresponding pins in the map below.
Anita Mac supplies additional impressions and photos from her own walking tour of Prague at night.
I made all of the photos between 2008 and 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Thanks to Christina Hegele’s kind nomination in her post, I’m participating in “7 Supershots”, organized by the folks at HostelBookers.
I’ve had a lot of fun with this exercise, as I’ve had to peruse and think, select and ruminate through a truckload of photos. I hope you enjoy my “super seven”!
1. “A photo that … takes my breath away”
This has always been one of my favourites, because the photo always evokes memories of the “open city that is the museum itself”. At night, the place calms down, and visitors and residents head back inside. In my view, the late hour is the best time to explore the beautifully illuminated parts of Prague.
2. “A photo that … makes me laugh or smile”
As the sun set over Hamburg harbour, I caught sight of this young family in silhouette on one of the bridges in the Sandtorhafen district. I like the juxtaposition of living people big and small with the mechanical cranes of the working port in the background.
3. “A photo that … makes me dream”
It’s summertime in Stockholm’s archipelago – long hours in the warm sun, beautiful blue skies, smooth calm waters, cozy cottages on little islands, with boats darting here and there. I dream of spending summers in Scandinavia – how about you?
4. “A photo that … makes me think”
When you hear the words “Sydney Opera House”, the curved shells which make up the roof come to mind. But you don’t often think about the details. The symmetry and geometry shown here come from the individual glazed ceramic tiles which make up the shell-roof surface.
5. “A photo that … makes my mouth water”
It seems all too simple: pork and shrimp dumplings, soft thin egg noodles, chopped green onions, all in a light savory broth. Once a favourite meal as a boy, I’ll now devour bowls of wun-tun noodle soup. That is, if I’m not distracted by the BBQ-pork rice-plate …
6. “A photo that … tells a story”
The “blind” skiier is at the top of the downhill run called “The Cut” (easy-level); their seeing-guide is in front and off to the left. Did blindness come early or later in life? Has this person always skiied? If not, how did they learn? What other senses are accentuated while skiing?
7. “A photo about which I am most proud (a.k.a. shot worthy of National Geographic)”
By experimenting with “focus-pull” on a zoom-lens and a steady tripod, I wanted to see how the lights in neighbouring Coquimbo would appear on photographs with minute-long exposure times. As you can see here, I was satisfied with the result.
What do you think? If you have any favourite(s), please take a moment and leave your impressions in the comments below.
Although they may already have existing requests, I’m still passing the torch to the following people:
- A Dangerous Business – Amanda Williams
- Cheryl Howard
- Monkeys, Mountains and Maultaschen – Laurel Robbins
- Nomadic Samuel – Samuel Jeffery
I made all of the photos shown above with the Canon EOS450D (XSi) camera. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).
In one of many visits to Prague, I visited the art museum on Kampa Island on the west flank of the Vltava river, tucked underneath the famous and well-trodded Charles Bridge. Museum Kampa contains a collection of contemporary art with temporary installations frequently on display and a focus on work by artists from central Europe and the Czech Republic. With the large reflective silvered-sphere sitting outdoors near the entrance, the photo became obvious as soon as I saw the fixture.
The setting, the relative calm of Kampa Island, what I like about contemporary art – these are some of the many reasons why Prague remains “love story number 1”.
I made the photo above on 20 October 2008. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.