Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘My Prague’

My Praha: looking for Kafka & Palach in Olšany

Above/featured: A quiet leafy avenue in Olšany Cemetery.

I can’t spend all this time in the Czech capital city, and leave without paying any respects to two 20th-century personalities of Prague. Franz Kafka was an early 20th-century German-Czech writer (e.g., 1912 Die Verwandlung/Metamorphosis), whose writings became known to the world posthumously, thanks to friend and fellow writer Max Brod. In the 1960s, Jan Palach was an important historical figure of opposition who died in protest against the Communist regime.

I’m in the underground metro, heading east from the city centre towards Vinohrady and beyond to Olšany. The sun’s out on a crisp mid-autumn day, and while deciduous trees are left wanting for leaves, the latter have piled like carpets of colour on the cemetery grounds. I’m looking for the graves of Palach and Kafka who are buried in Olšanské hřbitovy (Olšany Cemetery) and Nový židovský hřbitov (New Jewish Cemetery), respectively.


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Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Dům U Kamenného beránka, At the stone lamb, Staromestske namesti, Old Town Square, Prague, Prag, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: Brod, Einstein, & Kafka at Fanta Salon

Above/featured: it’s as if I just pointed out a famous meeting place to her right (left for the reader).

Prague’s Old Town Square is one of the most visited landmarks, dominated by the two tall spires of the Church of our Lady before Týn, Old Town Hall, and a prominent sculpture dedicated to Czech icon Jan Hus at the centre of the square.

At the southeast corner of the square is a building called (Dům) U Kamenného beránka or “At the Stone Lamb” at address Staroměstské námesti 551/17 #. To the right of the building’s main entrance is a memorial plaque with an inscription in both Czech and English. The memorial plaque was created by Czech sculptor Zdenĕk Kolářský and unveiled in 1998. Looking closer, you’ll recognize Albert Einstein’s face and his famous physics equation stating mass-energy equivalence and written in cursive script: E = mc2.

Over a 16-month period from 1911 to 1912, Albert Einstein lived in Prague with his family and was full professor of theoretical physics at the German Charles-Ferdinand University. Einstein enjoyed hanging out at a number of cafes for conversations, exchanges, and music, and he was a frequent visitor to this building where Czech liberal and intellectual Berta Fanta operated a literary-philosophical salon or lounge. The salon saw visits by many intellectuals, both domestic and international. “Domestic” writers Franz Kafka and Max Brod would have come here for the discourse as well, but it turns out little is actually known about whether all three arranged to meet or would have met here at the same time.

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My Praha: Jan Hus, Bohemian reformer and Czech icon

Above/featured: Jan Hus Monument, Old Town Square – 4 Jul 2008 (HL, 450D).

Most visitors to the Czech capital city of Prague will pass by and overlook the large sculpture near the middle of Old Town Square. The central figure in the monument is one of the most important historical figures for capital and country.

Although he may not be as well known outside of the European continent, Jan Hus is a massive historical figure within central Europe. Jan Hus was declared the greatest hero of the Czech nation in a 2015 survey by Czech Radio. In Konstanz on 6 July 1415, Jan Hus was sentenced to death on the charge of heresy. I’ve described locations in Konstanz during Hus’ final days.

In recognition of his attempts to reform the Catholic Church and to foster and encourage Bohemian identity, July 6 is commemorated annually as a national holiday in the Czech Republic: the holiday is known as “Den upálení Mistra Jana Husa,” which translates to “day of the burning of Jan Hus.”

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My Praha: David Černý, skillful s**t disturber

Considered “enfant terrible” in the European and Czech art scene, David Černý frequently has courted both controversy and amusement from the beginning in 1991 with the Pink (Soviet) Tank. Is he infuriating and crude or enlightened and hilarious? Is he misunderstood social commentator or attention-seeking hooligan? He continues to make art at home in Prague, and provoke strong reactions.

Černý’s creations can be found throughout the Czech capital city. You can decide for yourself if his artwork is inspiring or dull.


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U Kasaren, Hradcany, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: a favourite place to return (WPC)

Above/featured: U Kasáren from Loretánská, Hradčany – 30 July 2016 (HL).

On a personal level, the impact of this city can’t be gauged, measured, or quantified. What I know is I’ve roamed this place over countless little cobblestones. The sum of all strides led me to jumping continents and traversing nations with steps as large as my imagination could entertain and overcome.

And so, after the twelfth, fifteenth, or twentieth visit (I’ve lost count), I look at these images and ask why I surrender to the pull, why I return, and why the Czech capital city feels familiar. It’s about the old and the new, a colourful combination replacing what I’ve lost and amplifying what I’ve gained.

Prague is one of my favourite places to return.

summer sunrise, sunrise, summer, Karluv most, Charles Bridge, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Daybreak and a halo for St. John of Nepomuk, Charles Bridge (Karlův most) – 28 July 2013 (HL).

National Monument, Vítkov, Zizkov, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Over the city to the west from the National Monument on Vítkov (Národní památník na Vítkově), Žižkov – 2 August 2013 (HL).

Muzeum, stanice metra, metro station, DPP, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Metro line C commuters at Muzeum station, Vinohrady – 8 November 2016 (HL)

Ginger and Fred, Fred and Ginger, Dancing House, Tančící dům, Prag, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

Dancing House (Tančící dům) with streaking northbound streetcar, Nové Město – 6 November 2016 (HL)

I wrote a “love letter” to Prague, which as many have discovered also includes “the night watch.”

I made all of the above images in 2013 and 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bCs.

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