Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘My Prague’

My Praha: the night watch

With visits to the city numbering well into the double digits, Prague started me on a different path, and eventually, to a change in my life.

According to legend, the city’s name, Praha, is derived from the Czech word, “práh” for “threshold” or “steps”. With the city’s geographic location within the European continent, it’s hard to recount the chronicles of Central Europe without mentioning Praha. History and significance permeates the city in the cobbled stonework, centuries of architecture, and stories of struggle and change.

I believe the city is one step of many on my journey and transition from my past as research scientist to a future that remains under continuous construction. Prague has been and continues to be an important part of this process. I’ve fallen in love with Praha – she means a lot to me.

As day passes to night, many parts of the city become quiet and empty, with only the yellow glow of the street lamps for company. Many are taught not to go into areas unknown, poorly lit, or vacant.

But I know Praha enough to see her differently.

I’ve done the legwork by day, scouting out and noting various locations around the city, and imagining their appearance in the dark. With a newly crafted road map in my head, I stand in the hotel lobby. I close my eyes in a mental walkthrough of my map, breathing deeply, slowly. I open my eyes again and step out into the night, guided by the lights of Staré Město, and across the Vltava over to Mal´ Strana.

I’m on the “night watch” with Rembrandt’s painting high in mind. The city and its streets don’t care who we are or from where we come. They lie still, in wait around the next corner.

In this place I’m always on the verge of something new; it’s a set of new ideas, much of them extraordinary, romantic, and meaningful. The meanings signify truth on a personal level for those willing to listen and heed the signs.

Prague never lets go of you … this little mother has claws.
— Franz Kafka (1883-1924).

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David Cerny, Quo Vadis?, sculpture, German Embassy, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: historic balcony for GDR refugees

That’s one very famous balcony.

The balcony on the second floor facing the back gardens doesn’t look particularly special. But here in the Czech capital city of Prague there’s an important connection between that building’s balcony and events leading to the fall of the Wall. This building is also the German Embassy, and it’s where Hans-Dietrich Genscher looked over the crowds from the balcony and made a famous speech in 1989.

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My Praha: 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!

Thunovska and Zamecka, Mala Strana, Praha, Czech Republic

“Na hrad!” (To the castle!)

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

Karluv most, Charles Bridge, summer dawn, Prague, Praha, Prag, Czech Republic, UNESCO World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Praho, miluju tě | I love you, Prague

“Foreward”

With visits numbering well into double digits, my affection for the Czech capital city of Prague remains undiminished, even in the midst of surging summer or winter crowds. When I’ve been in danger of being swamped, I veer off to a side street or quiet park; I’ll also wait for the relative solitude of nightfall or dawn. The magic is knowing I haven’t strayed very far from the big sights.

How I ended up chasing dreams over cobblestone streets, past the thousand spires and ornate facades, and across centuries of European art and history, has exceeded the limits of my imagination.

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The Slav Epic, Alfons Mucha, Narodni galerie, National Gallery, Veletrzni Palac, Prague, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: “The Slav Epic”, Mucha’s Masterpiece

One of the greatest and most important works of Czech art from the early 20th-century was on display in the Trade Fair Palace (Veletržní Palac) in Prague for four years until the end of 2016.

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.

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