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Mucha's Window

PRAGUE CASTLE . . Overlooking the city, from just about anywhere you go in Prague, is the Castle. Founded in the 9th century, Czech leaders have ruled from this fortress for a thousand years. By some measures, and I never heard what those measures were, it is the largest castle on the planet. For certain, getting to the grounds was an easier uphill hike than I expected. It was a gradual sloping way with lots of shops and tourists for company. If the hike was too much for you, there was always tram 22. It's called the Tourist Tram because there are so many on it who take it to the castle. Well, they aren't the only ones. It's reported that this is the most likely place in the city to get your pocket picked.

Upon arrival, you see the grounds are filled with a very impressive Cathedral, royal palace, chapels, halls and towers from every period of its history. The Gothic cathedral of St. Vitus was my top attraction. It had all the majesty and space that you come to expect in a European cathedral.. But, it also had something that no other cathedral has. One of the stained glass windows was designed by Alphonse Mucha. He supposedly filled the window with all kinds of Czech nationalistic pride. Since I don't know the history, I was there to enjoy the art. And, as far as I am concerned, anything he touched was a treasure.

The castle was founded in the 9th century by Prince Borivoj who had a wooden castle build. The Renaissance castle seen today was rebuilt in the 16th century. The complex expands across Hradcany, the hill dominating the city. At one point, it served as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Later the Hapsburgs moved their imperial seat to Vienna, and Prague Castle seemed to be left alone and preserved in time. And speaking of lost in time, the Golden Lane is tucked in the back corner of the Castle complex. Build in the 16th century for members of the imperial entourage, it gets its name from the goldsmiths who lived there in the 17th century. It has now been completely renovated, painted, and turned into a tourist trap that cost 350 crowns to stroll.


St. Vitus Castle
Copyright 2007 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.