Sunday, May 13, 2012

Adventures in Bohemia: Castles & Beethoven

Our third day in Prague was spent almost entirely sightseeing in the Castle Quarter. Home to Prague's famous Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and other historic sites. We somewhat "beat the crowds" to tour St. Vitus by arriving a little after 9:00 a.m. It's hard to believe how many tourists and visitors come to these sites each day. 
Stain glass by Art Nouveau artists Mucha
We both agree that one of the best place we visited on this trip was the Lobkowicz Palace. The palace is a part of the Castle Quarter, but privately owned by a prominent Czech family. This place has an interesting history. Confiscated twice in the past 100 years, first by the Nazis at the beginning of WWII and second by the communists in the late 1940s. Now, it is back under ownership of the Lobkowicz family and is open to the public to visit. The family has an amazing collection of art including a Brueghel and Velasquez paintings, but our favorite was seeing the Beethoven Room.
The collection of instruments and manuscripts is impressive. I have to admit, I was unaware of the patronage relationship between Ludwig and the Lobkowicz family. They pride themselves in having first edition copies of several Beethoven symphonies including the Eroica (originally dedicated to Napoleon), 5th, and 6th symphonies. It's amazing to see these things up close. We spent a lot of time in this room admiring the work. 
Mozart manuscript, his transcription of Handel's Messiah
First edition copy of the Eroica, Beethoven's 3rd symphony
Views from the Castle Quarter
Getting ready to tour the Old Palace
A visit to the Toy & Barbie Museum, a request from the resident Muppet collector
And now for some rest and relaxation away from the crowds. Pivo (Czech beer) and veggie burgers on a secluded terrace overlooking a monastery. 
Strahov Monastery in the background
Continuing on to Petřín Hill, we were dodging the rain in this wooded park. On the journey up the hill there are some nice little lookouts for some good views of Prague. 
Coming down from Petřín Hill, we stopped by the Lennon Wall. I had a completely different vision of what I thought it would look like. My parents sent me a postcard of the Lennon Wall from Prague about 12 years ago. It's the only image I had of the place in my head, so when we saw it in person, it was not what I expected. And since it's all graffiti, why would it look the same?!
After walking all day we stopped on Kampa Island for a quiet moment to relax. Iced coffee with Jaap on the Vltava. A great ending to a beautiful day. 

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great photos. Love how the first two are so color-coordinated!