My Prague: Na hrad! To the castle!
I love Prague’s little streets, and I’ve always photographed her streets at night. On an evening walk through Prague’s Little Quarter, I came across this street lamp and a sign directing people to the Prague Castle (Pražský hrad).
I saw my “50-50” light-dark composition, and I brought my camera to bear on the scene. Another moment went by, and I thought of the call “na hrad!”
Towards the final days of Communism in November 1989, protestors from around the country gathered at Wenceslas Square in Prague, shouting “Havel, na hrad!” (Havel, to the castle). The events of the “Velvet Revolution” led to peaceful dissolution of one-party rule, and writer Vaclav Havel became leader of a “new world”, a post-communist and democratic Czechoslovakia nation.
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of The Velvet Revolution. 2018 will mark the 25th anniversary of The Velvet Divorce, a peaceful and amicable separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
I made the photo shown above, at the corner of Thunovská and Zámecká in Prague’s Malá Strana on 30 July 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-4XQ.
5 more Prague posts on Fotoeins Fotopress
• “Praha, miluju tě | I love you, Prague”
• 5 of the Best Spots to View Prague at Night
• “Love story number 1”
• The colours of fall in Praha
• Alfons Mucha’s “The Slav Epic” Returns to Prague
11 Responses to “My Prague: Na hrad! To the castle!”
Nice shot. I’ve only been to Prague once and didn’t visit the hrad. (It’s grad in Slovenian; the languages share many similarities.) I met Havel briefly in Slovenia, in Piran, when the city hosted a meeting of Central European presidents in 1997. I walked with him briefly when the presidents went out for a post-meeting walking tour of the city. He ducked into a bar for an afternoon brew; I wanted to follow him in but a body guard wider that the doorway kept me out. Apparently he preferred to drink alone. 🙂
Hey, Bob, and thanks! I’m fascinated by the Czech, Slovak, and now the Slovenian languages, if only because of my lack of context with the origins of the language. In other words, what little Czech I’ve learned, I’ve had to memorize outright, without a connection to my knowledge of German, French, and Spanish. And oh yes, the combination of consonants and (relative) paucity of vowels in Czech makes for fun times in my (humorous) attempt to pronounce a few things. I think it’s way cool you got to meet Vaclav Havel! You walked with him, but did you chat with him? If so, what’d did you both talk? I also think it would’ve been really cool to have had a beer with him; imagine the photo opp for you! 🙂 Thanks again for reading and for your comment!
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I moved there a few years after the Velvet Revolution and remember the feelings that were still so fresh in people’s minds.
Hi, Jenna. To which neighbourhood in Prague did you move and live? How long were you in Prague, in Czechoslovakia? As a kid of the 70s and 80s, I never thought the wall would ever come down. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and next year marks the 25th anniversary of German reunification. Amazing, and doubly so, that a quarter-century has already passed! (I’m gettin’ old …) Thanks for reading and for your comment!
Incredible that it’s already been 25 years. Prague is also a special place to my family. Our dear family friend / my first piano teacher was born in Prague’s outskirts in 1900. When I went over to her home for piano lessons, she sometimes took out her vintage black & white coffee table books of Prague in the early 20th Century, and she’d chat about what it was like studying at the conservatory there. It was fascinating hearing her tales – everything from meeting her husband-to-be at a grand ball at Prague’s Rudulfinum, to regularly attending the symphony in Prague and Vienna, to seeing Hitler marching into Prague. Sadly, much of her family perished during the war. She left around 1938, and never returned, but led a rich life up until age 99. I miss her.
Hi, Tricia. That is a great story! Did your family friend (1st piano teacher) ever get back “home” to Prague before she passed away? If so, that, too, would’ve been a great story. Thanks for reading and for your comment!
Henry, sadly Erna left Prague in the 1930s, and never returned, but she did make frequent trips back to England, even in her 90s! She was quite an inspiration. If you’d like a bit of a long read, and some vintage European imagery from her scrapbooks, I wrote a tribute post about her: http://triciaannemitchell.com/2011/08/07/lessons-from-erna-remembering-a-talented-musician-teacher-friend/
I just loved perusing her albums, and am thrilled that they were given to us after she passed away.
Tricia, what a beautiful dedication and tribute to your teacher! I enjoyed reading about the strange yet wonderful coincidences over time. I have more to add to your post there, but I wanted to add here that she lives on through her students.
[…] 5 of the Best Spots to View Prague at Night • Na hrad! To the (Prague) castle! • Love Story, no. […]
[…] Praha, I love you. • Na hrad! To the (Prague) castle! • Love Story, no. 1 • Anita Mac supplied additional impressions and photos […]
[…] Prague at Night • “Love story number 1″ – Karlův most • Na hrad! To the Prague castle! – Malá Strana, Pražský hrad • “The colours of fall in Prague” […]