Prague, Czechia: The Former Seat of Holy Roman Empire Part 1

Being a born Catholic myself, the Holy Roman Empire has always caught my interest. So, it is natural for me to be fascinated by Rome and perhaps other cities that had been the capital of Roman Catholicism, including Prague. Furthermore, Central and Eastern Europe has become so interesting for me, especially how these countries where shaped by the Cold War and the two World Wars affecting Europe. These two reasons are the primary reason why I opted to visit the Czech Republic.
Czech Republic is composed of the historic territories of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. The Bohemian capital is Prague. This has become the capital of the Czech republic after the Great Moravian Empire lost power to the dynasties running Bohemia. Both Bohemia and Moravia have been in one or another subject to influence of the Germans and the Austrians, after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire. As a result, the unique cultural blend has made Prague one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe. And so I was motivated to visit several places in Prague.

This is the Part 1.  Click here for Part 2.

1.     Kostel sv. Ludmily

This is a Catholic church in the Square of Peace. This is a typical neo-Gothic building in the 19th century. This is dedicated for Saint Ludmila, the first Czech saint.

2.     Pomník svatého Václava

This is monument of Saint Wenceslas, the grandson of the Saint Ludmila. The statue is a great reminder of the Czech statehood and the effort to preserve the cultural and spiritual tradition of Czech Republic.

3.     Národní muzeum

The National musuem contains large collection of items from the area of natural history, history, arts and music. During my visit, the museum has been renovated, such that the beauty of the museum could not be appreciated.

4.     Čelakovského sady

This is the street alongside the National Museum. It is a dark ally during the night, where  some people stroll in.

5.     Václavské náměstí

This is recognized as the Horse Market or Wenceslas Market. This is the Prague’s cultural and economic center. This square, which connects the National Museum with the Old Town is a traditional place for demonstrations and mass gatherings.

6.     Na Přikopě

This is street where the headquarters of the Czech National Bank, old palaces and luxurious shops are located. This separates the Old Town’s Republic Square and the Wenceslas Square.

7.     Svatý Kříž

The Holy Cross is the universal symbol of Roman Catholic church. This shows the deep connection between State and Church, as exhibited in this square.

8.     Prašná brána

The Powder Tower is late Gothic building, next to the Municipal House. This is considered to be one of the major landmarks in Prague, since the gate provides access to the street forming the royal route towards the Prague Castle.

9.     Pomník mistra Jana Husa

This monument is erected in commemoration of Jan Hus, a labeled heretic by the Roman Catholic Church in his time. This is because Hus has fought for the Church’s Reformation, which led to the Protestant Reformation, spearheaded by his successors Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.

10.  Chrám svatého Mikuláše

The Church of St. Nicholas is a Baroque church in the Old Town Square. It was originally built using Gothic architecture but was rebuilt in the 17th century. During the socialist era, the church tower has been used as a watch tower for American and Yugoslavian embassies.

11.  Staroměstská radnice

The Old Town hown was established in the 13th century under the economic support provided by the King of Luxemburg. It consists of complex of several buildings adjacent to the Old Town Square.

12.  Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is the one of the most artistically important Prague churches. The Church has been controlled by the followers of Jan Hus for two centuries and thereafter began an era of recatholicisation in the late 16th century.

13.  Kostel sv. Jiljí

This is a Gothic Catholic Church at the Dominican Monastery in the Old Town of Prague. The church was also controlled during the Hussite wars and thereafter donated to the Dominican order, who built a large monastery.

14.  Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora

The Church of St. Salvator is the largest temple of the Jesuits in Prague. The church is a reminder of the Jesuits influence in Bohemian history. The entrance of the church is facing the Charles Bridge.

15.  Karlův most

The Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in Prague across the river Vltava and the second oldest in the Czech Republic. This has been used as major stop on the European trade routes and was considered part of the Royal route towards the Prague Castle. The bridge also played an important role in the history of Roman Catholic Church, such that many religious figures stand in the bridge.

16.  Kostel svatého Františka z Assisi

Thsi is a church near the square facing the Charles Bridge. It was built in Baroque style and was consecrated in the 16th century. A hospital and a convent used to be operational, next to the church.

17.  Česká filharmonie

The Rudolfinum is a Neo-classical building on the right bank of the river Vltava. It is the headquarter of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,

18.  Josef Mánes

The Statue of Josef Manes is situated near the Rudolfinum. Manes is the represantive of the Czech Romanticism and was considered to be the founder of the personalities of the Czech visual arts and master of landscaping.

19.  Mánesův most

This is the tenth bridge over Vlatava Rive. The bridge was formerly the Rudolf Bridge, next to the Rudolfinum. The bridge was only finally completed during the First World War.

20.  Židovske muzeum v Praze

This is one of the most visited musuems in the Prague, housing a large collection of Jewish artifacts, books and rich archives. During the Nazi establishment of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Jewish museum was maintained to created museum of a dwindling or near-to-extinction race.

21.  Červená

This is a street in between two Jewish synagogues near the Jewish museums. The street is famous due to the odd shaped of the buildings along the small alley.

22.  Kostel sv. Ducha

The Church of the Holy Spirit is another Gothic church built in 14th century. There used to be a Benedictine monastery nearby the church. This parish is considered instrumental in the conversion of the nearby Jewish communities to Catholicism.

23.  Právnická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy

The faculty of Law of Charles University is housed in a Neo-classical building near the Cech Bridge. The university was founded in the 13th century.

24.  Čechův most

This is the shortest of all bridges traversing the Vltava River. A tram line passes through the bridge. The sturdiness of the bridge withstanding increased traffic is due to its steel arches, considered to be the only bridge with such construction materials in Prague.

25.  Vltava

This is the considered to the national river of the Czech Republic, being the largest in country. This river traverses north across Bohemia, before merging with German river Elbe. There is a total of 18th bridges in Prague running through the river.

26.  Letenský profil

This is a natural monument located in the North region of Prague. Its rock formation provides a very good view of the entire city of Prague.

27.  Kramářova vila

This villa building is the residence of a well-known Czechoslovakian prime minister. Since 1998, this has become the official residence of the Prime Minister of Czech Republic.

Interestingly, Prague has many Catholic church but only about 10% of its population identify themselves as Catholics. This could be a result of a long history of socialist-communist rule in the area. This is quite a big contrast to Prague's rich history in the Holy Roman Empire and counteracting Protestant Reformation. This leaves me asking myself, are the churches in Prague mainly for tourism purposes, instead for religious objectives? Perhaps, you could give me the answer.


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