Archive for September 5th, 2021

September 5, 2021

The magnificent Alcazar of Segovia!

This is another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain, Segovia. From an early age , I think first time was when I was 10 years old with my mother; I keep coming back over the years, then with my wife, and then with the family and boys and parents and and ….lost count but each time is like the first time. There, the Alcazar of Segovia is awesome, a must to see. I like to update this post but will split into two, to show the fortress per se and the artillery museum apart; hope you enjoy as I.

Well I admit can only recall coming here either taken or by my car from Madrid. The roads are good if hilly and curvy even if now they have expressways such as the AP 6 and AP 61 but my all time favorite is the N603; from Madrid you can come on the A1.  I drive around to find a parking either at 14 Paseo Ezequiel Gonzalez next to the tribunal , you walk past the statue to famous restaurant Candido , the Aqueduct (see post) and onwards to the Cathedral (see post)a nice walk indeed or  the magnificent Alcazar. Again, never taken it but you can come by bus and train here.

I have written quite a bit on Segovia and all its attractions before, but this one is the Alcazar needs a stand alone and updated post. To me, the Alcazar is tops for the history and architecture combine, The history of the Alcazar is very interesting and I like it ,but long will try to condense as much as possible.

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The oldest remains were stones of granite like those in the Roman aqueduct so it is assume that in the Roman period there was a castrum or castle here already. On top of these ruins this Alcazar was built  as a Hispano Arabic fortress. The first notice of it was in 1122 a bit after king Alfonso VI of Léon conquered the city ,however, it wasn’t until 1155 that it is shown in text as the Alcazar on a letter kept at the archives of the Cathedral​  ; the Alcazar was the residency of king Alfonso VIII. In the middle ages, the Alcazar became one of the favorite residencies of the kings of Castilla , especially Alfonso X.  The fortress was inhabited many times and was one of the most luxurious palace-castle of the 15C; it was witness to several major events such as the proclamation of queen Isabel la Catolica in 1474 and the awake Mass of king Felipe II and Anne of Austria in 1570 in the Chapel. The fortress served as a prison until 1762,and king Carlos III founded the Royal College of Artillery and later museum here (see post).  In  1862, fire destroyed the ceilings and roof, nobles rooms and they were rebuilt thanks to engravings done in 1839.

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The layout of the fortress is around two areas, exterior with a patio,and well, bridge and tower keeps, and the interior rooms such as Chapel, several noble rooms. The tower keeps or Torre de Homenaje is square with four towerettes with a canon and terrace windows, been done by king John II and once a war room, you can see a nice view of the city and especially the neighborhood of Canonjias, Jewish quarters and Cathedral.  There are two stairs you need to pass to arrive to the top or about 156 steps most in a carrousel stair very narrow and inclined. At the end is the guards room and there is the spot where the night watchman slept. On top there are four levels and mostly used as a prison, the last prisioner here was General Berenguer in the 1930’s.

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The interior has nice decorated rooms of great luxury and it houses the army museum or Museo de Armas as well as the military archives of Segovia, and historical archives oldest of the Spanish armed forces. Let me tell you about the utmost beauty of the interior rooms of the Alcazar, awesome.

The Sala del Palacio Viejo (old palace room) it was built during the reign of king Alfonso VIII and the decoration shows arms of a Germanic style from the 15C.  The Sala de la Chimenea(chimney room) dates from the times of king Felipe II and the furniture is from the 16C, on the walls you see a portrait of Felipe II and another one of Felipe III,a Flemish tapestry of the 16C with Our Lady. The Sala del Trono (throne room) the façade the communicates with the chimney room and still intact its mudejar Arabic original construction with a covered of armor done by 1456. The throne under the mold of the tapetries has a blason or flag of the Catholic Kings and a saying tanto monta or sort of so much rides from early the 15C.  On the walls you see portraits of the same Catholic Kings that were ordered by queen Isabel II. The window stained glass represent king Enrique IV of Castilla.

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We continue in the interior with the Sala de la Galera ( galleon room) it takes this name because the place shows the casque of a boat inverted ; the room was built by queen Catalina de Lancaster in 1412 when her son was still a minor future Juan II of Castilla.  On the windows you see stained glass representing king Enrique III of Castilla and his family and another of Enrique II with scenes from the death of Pedro I and Juan II.  On one of the walls is decorated with a painting representing the coronation of queen Isabel la Catolica as queen of Castilla and Leon in the Church of San Miguel  of Segovia. The  Sala de las Piñas (pine cones room) on the ceiling you can see angels carrying the shield of arms of Castilla and Leon, the stained glass shows king Alfonso VII with his daughter Berenguela. The Cámara Regia (or great room) on the wall you can see scenes from the life of the Catholic Kings. The bed is covered with knitting and embroidery in gold. The Sala de los Reyes (kings room) king Felipe II  ordered it built statues corresponding to the kings of Asturias, Leon and Castilla.  One of the paintings in the room is a portrait of king Felipe II  and the other two portraits are of his two wives Isabel of Valois  and  Anne of  Austria.  The Sala del Cordón (cord room) has this name because the surrounding of the walls there is a cord long and golden. You arrive at the Chapel, there is a small Chapel in the sala de cordón  from where the king or queen listen to the Mass.  The arms room or Sala de Armas is here because the Alcazar house the arms of the old House of Trastàmara (the branch of Segovia of Queen Isabel the Catholic of Castille and Leon) and was the precedent from which the arms now were united in the Royal Armory of Madrid.

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Inside there is the Museo del Real Colegio de Artillería or the Royal College of Artillery Museum, but this is in another post, see next.

Again, this is a must while in Segovia and worth your detour if in Spain. I love and could not possibly come to Segovia or Madrid for that matter without stopping by. Luckily, this has been often in the last few years. Some further webpages to help plan your visit are :

The official Alcazar webpage: http://www.alcazardesegovia.com/

The Comunidad Autonoma region of Castilla y Leon tourist board on the Alcazar: https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/art-culture-heritage/castles/alcazar-segovia

The Segovia tourist office on the Alcazar: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/es/monuments/alcazar

There you go folks, a wonderful beautiful fortress of Alcazar in gorgeous Segovia. Hope you enjoy the post as I; this is a wonderful town, small enough to walk all over. and huge in Spanish history with marvelous architecture, love it. And this is the Alcazar of Segovia!

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!

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September 5, 2021

Some news from Spain CIX

And time again to tell you some news from Spain, and my beloved stories and places of Spain. There are still the sequels of covid19 but things are beginning to move on as life does. However, I must tell all a sad news. Alfredo Gonzalez the owner of over 50 yrs of El Brillante restaurants of Madrid kill himself due to debts over covid19 of his restaurants. I remember fondly his friendly approach while eating my calamares sandwich at the Atocha resto. RIP

Then, we move on as life is for the living.

The 800th birthday of the Gothic cathedral of Burgos and the Jacobean Holy Year, with the Camino de Santiago crossing three towns that host the exhibition Las Edades del Hombre. (the ages of men). And its motto is Lux (light), the light that the Gothic style provided, precisely introduced in Spain through the Camino de Santiago. Here we go folks :

The Cathedral of Burgos, in whose cloisters, high and low, is the main exhibition of the Las Edades del Hombre , is one of those human artifacts that overwhelms you. With the Camino Jacobeo ,although the same would have happened without it, possibly the Gothic style is introduced in Spain, which contributes, among other innovations, to lighten the stone walls with stained glass windows that give way to clarity. Hence also this year’s motto, Lux. Because there are things that must be seen: like the popular papamoscas (Flycatcher), a rather simple automaton-clock in the central nave; the tomb of the Cid and his wife, Dona Jimena, under the dome; the Golden Staircase; the monumental reliefs in the ambulatory; the grandiose chapel of the Constables, with a cornered Magdalene that some people attribute to Leonardo da Vinci… Thanks to the heap of exquisite altarpieces and sculptures, scattered among 14 chapels, one can overcome the feeling of being in a cemetery. Or in a pantheon of illustrious men, For logistical reasons (and prevention of covid), access to the Chapel of Santo Cristo de Burgos is out of the circuit. A miraculous image, with human hair (which grows, according to pious tradition) and animal skin, much loved in the city, and whose devotion even overflowed to the lands of America, The Museo de la Evolución Humana (MEH) or museum of human evolution. The set of 3 buildings was directed so that from the large windows you can see the cathedral, just opposite, on the other side of the Arlanzón river with a desirable sample of paintings and engravings of the cathedral of various artists, some as illustrious as Joaquín Sorolla. Between the Paseo del Espolón and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento a medieval knot of streets and alleys (some with no exit), squares, arcades … It is known as La Senda de los Elefantes or the path of the elephants,

The 90 km from Burgos to Carrión de los Condes can be done comfortably on the Camino de Santiago highway ,A-12. Also along the national road N-120, which strictly adheres to the pilgrims’ path but slower passing by many small towns, From Carrión were the villainous counts who, according to the Cantar de Mio Cid, would have married and then outraged the daughters of Don Rodrigo in the oak grove of Corpes. Apparently, all a fake to bad idea of ​​Castilian against Leonese. The fact is that in Carrión, in the monastery of San Zoilo, is the pantheon of those counts and their family. The monastery, at the entrance to the town, is now a luxurious hotel with a large and well-shaded car park that should be taken advantage of, because in the urban area it is impossible to find a space. On foot, after crossing the Puente Mayor or bridge over the Carrión river, look for the Camino, which is none other than Calle Mayor that crosses the town from end to end. At the start of Calle Mayor-Camino is the Church of Santa María del Camino. And a little further on, on the same road, the Church of Santiago. Between both temples, and in the same street as Santa María, is the birthplace of the Marqués de Santillana, a warrior and writer of the 15C, one of our first humanists, author of some spicy Serranillas that anticipate the erotic lanterns of a Giacomo Casanova.

From Carrión to Sahagún, about 40 km, the landscape changes, softens. the cradle of that unique architecture of our country that is the Mudejar, Next to the Cea river stood the richest and most powerful monastery in late medieval Spain, that of San Facundo (hence the place name Sahagún). King Alfonso VI, who is buried in another nearby convent, made it head of the Castilian Benedictines and the engine of the Cluniac reform, which extended the Gothic style. Today there are barely a few roofed ruins and a large entrance arch, like a meteorite fallen from the sky. Next to it are the two headquarters of Las Edades del Hombre, the Church of San Tirso and the Hermitage of La Peregrina.

Vive el camino or live the way from the Galician newspaper La Voz  in Spanish : https://vivecamino.com/camino-de-santiago-desde/camino-santiago-desde-burgos/

Sagunto is a hodgepodge of Iberian, Roman, Andalusian, Jewish and two towns in one. The town, at the foot of the castle, and the port, which enters the Mediterranean through a very long jetty, The Avenida del Mediterráneo runs parallel to a beach whose dunes and the view of the very long jetty are the main attractions. A 1,652-meter jetty that was once a mineral loading dock. Following its route, inland, you reach the Old Hospital. Construction from the beginning of the 20C whose English heritage architecture, in addition to the hospital services of rigor, housed offices and houses for engineers. The people who reside in the building today do not have to be. The General Workshops Warehouse, dating from 1919. Inside boilermaking work, locomotive repair and foundry and adjustment tasks were carried out. Right in front of it is Horno Alto nº 2, a metallic structure almost 65 meters high whose restoration in 2012, by the architects Carmel Gradolí and Tato Herrero, received the Europa Nostra Award. Steel was produced in its dull guts, and it now houses a museum. Very close to it, on Calle de la Fundicion (foundry), is the Warehouse of Effects and Parts, a huge warehouse that, it is hoped, will house the Museum of Industrial Archeology of Sagunto. The company’s engineers and managers frequented the Recreational Casino, which is still in operation today. Some and others coincided, yes, inside the Church of Nuestra Señora de Begoña, but they did not mix; there were assigned seats for superiors and others for peons. The same thing happened on the beach. A visit to Puerto de Sagunto is not complete if you don’t go to its beach, with fine golden sand and dunes. A Mediterranean canvas as long as the jetty, with which it forms a right angle, and that few dare to see up close while walking on the breakwater that partly protects it. Those rocks are also a peaceful place to bathe. Sagunto tourist office: http://www.saguntoturismo.com/sagunto/web_php/index.php

When it comes to big towns this is one of my favorites in my beloved Spain, San Sebastián is much more than a gastronomic tourist destination. It is a place that combines everything that is sought when traveling in summer: beach, good food and a wide cultural and artistic offer. Along the Paseo de la Bahía de La Concha, with the now famous white railing, you will find some of the most emblematic places of the city. Right in the area that divides the two beaches of the city, La Concha and Ondarreta, is the Miramar Palace, a building built by the Spanish Royal House in the 19C during the reign of Isabel II. Continuing along the promenade leaving the Ondarreta beach behind, you will reach another obligatory stop next to the coast, El Peine del Viento, which marks the end of the San Sebastián promenade The area also has some wind and water that allows pedestrians to connect with the sea in a special way when the waves are strong. Right at this point where Ondarreta beach ends and El Peine del Viento is located, you can access the mountain that offers the best panoramic view of the city, the Igueldo. It is reached by funicular and once there, although the main attraction is the views, you can enjoy the historic Monte Igueldo Amusement Park, with ferris wheels, mountains and old-looking carousels that evoke nostalgia and from which you can appreciate unique sea and mountain landscapes. Art lovers will be able to find in the old area with all the architectural styles that give San Sebastián such a picturesque aspect. On the one hand, the Catedral del Buen Pastor or Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, of neo-Gothic style and whose towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Right at the other end of the old town, the Basilica of Santa María del Coro, with a façade that could be framed between the baroque and the rococo. And it is that, although it is obvious, it never hurts to remember that going out for pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastián is another of the things that must be done no matter how brief the visit is. The old part of the city has such a density of bars that you can enjoy a stroll through its streets with all kinds of snacks, from the classic Gilda ( a pintxos of anchovies and veggies concoction) to other more elaborate meat and fish pintxos. And to top it off, a portion of La Viña cheesecake, one of the local recipes that triumphs all over the world. Leave out the film and go for the old town and the beach me think !!! The San Sebastiàn tourist office: https://www.sansebastianturismoa.eus/en/

This is the latest on a movie of a Spanish poet I follow all my life, and have a unique post on him in my blog, I, also, of course, follow Ian Gibson, In his latest Ian Gibson travels to the precipice where memory ends, The Cans festival premieres the film in which the Hispanicist returns to the scene of the murder of Lorca and to the towns of Las Hurdes where Buñuel filmed ‘Tierra sin pan’, The documentary Donde acaba la memoria or where memory ends is directed by the professor of the University of Vigo Pablo Romero-Fresco, has been the premiere that the Cans film festival at O Porriño, province of Pontevedra opened this past Thursday, and if it is not a biographical story, it is a semblance of all that life of the Irish researcher dedicated to unearthing the memory of Spain. A country in which he was not born, but which he feels with “deep love and anger”. In Where memory ends, Gibson reveals the sound recording in which he recorded, in 1978, the explanations of the gravedigger of the poet from Granada at the scene of the execution. He also visits the Residencia de Estudiantes or Student Residence, that European cultural paradise in which the three stars Lorca, Dalí and Buñuel lined up to whom the writer has consecrated his research vocation. In addition, he shows his refuge in the heart of the Lavapiés neighborhood, Madrid, the place where he feels like in the womb and where he ended up with his family after the 19 moves that he carried out in Spain after leaving Dublin, Ireland.

The film premiered in the Cans festival ,which celebrates its 18th edition until Saturday 4 September, today), with a subsequent debate with Gibson and Romero, and will continue to visit some Galician cinemas and festivals until arriving at the Cineteca de Madrid on October 4 2021, Romero-Fresco accompanied Gibson to Granada to present the latest edition of his book on the murder of Lorca, in one more attempt to find the remains of the poet. The film could only end where it all began, the place where Gibson arrived 50 years ago to write his first work, which was banned by the Franco regime. The passion for Federico García Lorca made an almost adolescent Ian Gibson (Dublin, 82 years old) an Irishman with a Spanish soul. In 1978, with his book El asesinato de Lorca or the assassination of Lorca under his arm, he came to Madrid without knowing where to keep the blankets that he brought as basic luggage. For years he has lived in Lavapiés, which for him is the most beautiful capital in the world. In the book he writes what Garcia Lorca felled for his land, as he said « I love the land. I feel linked to her in all my emotions. My most distant memories as a child have a taste of earth ». There is a place, beyond Fuente Vaqueros y Asquerosa (town change name to Valderrubio since 1943), that treasures the first literary inspirations of Federico García Lorca, a flat land, abundant in water, neat in crops and memory where the poet’s childhood passed, where he accepted his link with the landscape, discovered the lysergic power of narratives, the strength of words and the way to convey inspiration. La farmhouse of Daimuz, in the heart of La Vega from Granada, captures the same light of happiness that the poet knew.

The official Cans film festival on Gibson/Garcia Lorca: https://www.festivaldecans.gal/gl/o-historiador-ian-gibson-e-xose-manuel-beiras-protagonizan-mana-a-segunda-xornada-do-festival-de-cans/

The history of Daimuz began a long time ago. Federico García Rodríguez, the poet’s father, had been born in Fuente Vaqueros in 1859. In 1880 he had married Matilde Palacios who died fourteen years later. With the money he had raised, he acquired good estates near Fuente Vaqueros. The most important of all was Daimuz, a kind of fertile land sandwiched between the Genil and Cubillas rivers. Converted into a landowner and one of the wealthiest men in the region, he met the teacher Vicenta Lorca Romero with whom he married in August 1897. Nine months later, on June 5, 1898, the poet was born in the family home of Fuente Vaqueros. One of the first memories that the poet cherished in the Daimuz farmhouse was his mother’s reading of Victor Hugo’s novel « Hernani ».But what forever changed his way of seeing the world was that afternoon his mother arrived from Granada with a puppet theater. He had acquired it that day at La Estrella del Norte, the best toy store in the city, located on Calle Reyes Católicos. It is not surprising, therefore, that, already consecrated as a poet, he maintained: “Andalusia is not a country of joy and tambourines , but the country of sentimental melancholy, of the internal currents of the spirit “. Yes he was the greatest poet of Spain, and still is, follow his trail.

And the end but not really, the best of the gastronomy of Spain! love these, hope you visit them and let me know your thoughts.

La Casa de Campo (see post) is very much in vogue, with interesting openings such as Villa Verbena and now El Taller, the sports house that this green lung full of families and athletes was needed, A mix of brewery and social and sports club with countless activities: from running club to nutrition talks, children’s activities like weekend workshops and summer camps. Its strong point is 20 types of beer from all over the world. In addition, its cuisine around the globe is based on coal and fire, and allows family or friends to celebrate any occasion and achievement after having done sports. Because apart from the gym, there is ñam, which is what it burns for. The terrace has capacity for 400 persons. Location at Paseo de María Teresa, 3. Lago de Casa de Campo. Hours: from 17h45 to 00h00, Average ticket: 25 euros. No webpage yet.

In a short time its name, Berria has become a must for lovers of the world of wine, thanks to its 1,600 references and its 80 wines by the glass that are renewed several times a month. But in this wine bar you also eat, and very well, thanks to a cuisine based on first-class raw materials. Both in the living room and on the terrace -with spectacular views of the Puerta de Alcalá ! Great !! location Plaza de la Independencia, 6. Webpage: https://www.berriawinebar.com/en/berria/

The center of Jerez de la Frontera, the Tío Pepe wineries (González Byass group) are a journey through time in which to discover the origins of Jerez wine. Not to be missed is the Real Bodega de La Concha, whose architecture is attributed to the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the boots signed by celebrities or the small ladder resting on a wineglass on the Bodega La Constancia, all arranged for the mice to taste the fragrant wine. Location Calle Manuel María González, 12 ,Jerez de la Frontera,province of Cádiz Webpage : https://www.tiopepe.com/

The Marqués de Riscal red was my first taste of wine ever over 50 yrs ago , given by my maternal grandmother Amparo of Tenerife!! The oenological complex known as La Ciudad del Vino de Marqués de Riscal is made up of several facilities, including two wineries and a five-star hotel with a spa. It is worth stopping at the original winery from the 19C where the bottling that stores the oldest vintages, some from 1862) ,and at the hotel, the impressive titanium construction by Frank O. Gehry Location at calle Torrea, 1 ,Elciego , province of Álava). Webpage :http://www.masquesderiscal.com/

The Bodega Santiago Ruiz was created in 1984 by Santiago Ruiz, one of the Albariño parents and a pioneer in the renovation of the Galician vineyard, it is a peaceful winery in the O Rosal area. A delicious house-museum of the 17C surrounded by gardens and old vineyards in the traditional style where you can discover how local wine was made (and is made) and Galician hospitality from the hand of Rosa Ruiz, daughter of the founder and continuation of the legacy of her father. Location at Rua do Vinicultor, Santiago Ruiz, s / n, San Miguel de Tabagón,province of Pontevedra). Webpage : https://www.marquesderiscal.com/

There you go folks, a dandy some news from Spain ! Hope you enjoy the reading and do visit these wonderful places, recommended by yours truly, And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all !!!

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September 5, 2021

Prague, old world charm!

This is another dandy in Europe, well done and rebuilt very nice after all. I have been by here several times, and even on business trips. The city of Prague has kept its old world charm ,it has been kept very nicely with a quant squares and narrow streets especially in Praha 1 district. 

I like to update this post on an introduction to the city of Prague and its history. I have posts on its main monuments in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Prague is the capital and the largest city in the Czech Republic. It is at the same time one of the fourteen regions of the country, the capital of the administrative region of Central Bohemia and the capital of the historical region of Bohemia. It is crossed by the Vltava river.  Prague is located 250 km from Vienna, 280 km from Berlin and 300 km from Munich as well as 1038 km from Paris! I have come here only by air, however, done road warrior trip from Prague into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.(see post)

A general overview base on friends and my use of the airport. I have come by air at Prague International Airport, also called Praha-Václav-Havel,(after the great leader of free Czech Republic)  located to the west of the city. Prague,(see post)  which is at the center of the Czech railway network, has four main stations: the Central station Praha hlavní nádraží; station Praha Masarykovo nádraží; Praha-hole Holešovice and Smíchov Station. The main one is at Hlavni. The main highways that radiate from Prague are the D1, which leads to Jihlava and via Brno, to Bratislava, the D5 which leads to Pilsen and, via Rozvadov, to Nuremberg, the D8, which goes to Ústí nad Labem; And the D11, which leads to Hradec Králové. The main European road passing through Prague of interest to me is the European Road 50 which connects Brest (France) to Makhachkala (Russia), and on the books to one day try it. The city has a network of three metro lines, about twenty tram lines of day and a dozen of nights. In parallel, a bus network covers the city. Bus lines make the shuttle between Prague International Airport and the subway’s A and B lines. 

prague gates of old city jun16

In the past , Prague was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire and Czechoslovakia . In modern Czech, práh means “threshold”, the name comes from an old Slavic root, Praga, which means “Fort” according to the legend, the city was founded under the order of Libuše, prophetess and mythical founder of the reigning lineage of the Přemyslid, where a man named Přemysl, a mere laborer who became her husband and the first king of Bohemia. Others, fascinated by the magical character of the city, claim that it is the threshold, the gateway to other worlds or other dimensions. The history of Prague is very rich and associates the Duchy of Bohemia with the great moments of European medieval history.

Some of the most Important areas of Prague from a tourist point of view (I have been to the other side as far as Praha 10) in my opinion are Malá Strana (“small Side” in Czech) is a baroque district, entirely rebuilt in the early 17C following major fires. Situated on a slope that rises towards the Royal and Imperial Castle, it is the district of the Great Imperial nobility (Lobkowicz, Sternberg, Thun…) that has built wonderful mansions after the Battle of the White Mountain, in a baroque style.  Hradčany, the Castle District situated on the left bank of the Vltava River, it dominates the lower town by the complex structure of the Imperial Castle of Habsburg and that of the kings of Bohemia, as well as the bell tower of the Cathedral of Saint-Guy. This district is composed of countless palaces of great lords, convents, monasteries, Renaissance houses, parks and gardens.  The Old Town is one of the Prague districts characteristic of its harmonious accumulation of all the architectural styles of Europe. Its main point is the old place of Staroměstské náměstí, its town hall, the astronomical clock , its many narrowed-themed houses, its baroque and neo-Baroque palaces, and the famous Cubist house with the Black Madonna.  Vyšehrad, the first castle in Prague this term literally means in Czech “the castle from Above”. This was the place of the first Prague castle in the time of the Dukes of Bohemia. This is also where we find the first religious building in Romanesque style. It is a romantic place turned into a barracks under Marie-Therese, then a nationalist memory in the 19C.

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Now a bit of history I like (a short as possible)!

The first written record mentioning Prague dates from 965. It is the result of a Jewish merchant from Andalusia, Ibrahim ibn Ya’qub. The town became a bishopric in 973. In 1170, Vladislav II built, the first stone Bridge on the Vltava River, the Judith Bridge, which, collapsed in 1342, will be replaced by a stone bridge, the famous Charles Bridge. On the other side of the Vltava river, the old town of Prague grows around its historic core of Týn and is populated by Czechs and a Jewish community in what will become Josefov. The city is experiencing its apogee with the King of Bohemia and future Germanic Emperor Charles IV (son of John of Luxembourg) who built the Charles Bridge (1357), the Cathedral of St. Guy (1344), founded in April 1348 Charles University, the first German university , and extends the city to the east and south to create the new city (1347) which doubles the area of the old town. In 1355, Charles IV made Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

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The daughter of Vladislav IV, Anne Jagiellonian, married Ferdinand of Austria, according to a dynastic agreement arranged by Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire in 1515, and the city soon passed under Habsburg domination after the death without heirs of Louis II.   The defeat of the Czech and Protestant armies at the Battle of the White Mountain in November 1620 and decapitation, place of the old Town (still marked today of 27 white crosses on the ground, in commemoration of the event), of the twenty-seven leaders of the revolt mark, for a long time, the end of the hopes of independence of the Bohemian states. The peace of Prague was signed in 1635 between the emperor and some Protestant German princes. In 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years ‘ War, the left bank of the city (Hradčany and Malá Strana) was invaded and looted by the Swedish Protestant armies shortly before the Westphalian treaties put an end to the hostilities that had led central Europe to fire and blood. In 1741, the War of the Austrian Succession saw the arrival of the troops of Frederick II of Prussia, allied with the French army of the Marshal of Belle-Isle who put the siege and took the city. 

The independence of Czechoslovakia, proclaimed on 28 October 1918, Prague became capital and many streets were renamed. Shortly before WWII, Prague welcomed the Czech refugees expelled from the Sudetenland attached to the third Reich following the Munich agreements. On 15 March 1939, Bohemia-Moravia was conquered in its entirety and Adolf Hitler parade at Prague Castle. On May 5, 1945, an insurrection erupts that will lead to the liberation of the city by a largely improvised resistance around a Czech National Council, which takes the lead of the insurrection. On 8 May, German troops capitulated and, according to prior agreements (with the weak west), the Red Army took Prague on 9 May 1945 during the Prague Offensive.

In 1968, the Prague spring marked the city in an ephemeral way, it was crushed in August by tanks of the Warsaw Pact armies, mostly  Soviets. The Prague people improvises resistance and fights take place, particularly around the Czechoslovak radio and television and the nearby National Museum. On January 16, 1969, Jan Palach set himself on fire in the Wenceslas Square to protest against the invasion of his country by the Soviet Union (again left alone by the weak west).  The Velvet Revolution, in 1989, marks for Prague as for the rest of the country a second liberation;  the omnipotence of the single party and its political police are collapsing, democratic freedoms are restored, the symbols of the dictatorship are and the names of certain streets, squares or stations of the Metro are democratized. The writer Vaclav Havel and ex political prisioner was elected President of the Republic and moved to Prague Castle.

Some brief things to see of what is in my blog posts.

The Castle District (Hradčany) with the Prague Castle;  Place des Hradčany (Hradčanské Náměstí): Archbishop Palace (Rococo); Palazzo Schwarzenberg (Renaissance) which houses the Museum of Military History; Palazzo Černín, the largest baroque palace in Prague (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); St. Vitus CathedralBasilica of St. George; The Golden Alley; The Royal Garden of Prague Castle (with the Queen Anne Belvedere, Renaissance style).

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Neighborhood of Malá strana: Church of St. Nicholas; Convent of Notre-Dame de Lorette; Palais Wallenstein The quarter of the old Town (Stare Město) has the Charles Bridge (Karlův most); Powder Tower; Old Town square there is the Astronomical clock; Old Town City Hall; Church of Notre-Dame of Týn; Kinsky Palace; Clementinum a showcase of the Czech National Library, features a sumptuous Baroque library, inherited from the time it housed Charles University in Prague and which is reminiscent of the Hofburg Library in Vienna; The House of Mozart is home to the Municipal House (1911) in the Smichov district; this is where he composed Don Giovanni. The musician’s first harpsichord and a wick of his hair are exposed. That said, museums offer rich collections that are worth visiting especially for me the National Museum which dominates its imposing mass Wenceslas square and that of pantheon of the Czech nation with a dome honoring the great men of the country.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip and enjoy Prague are:

The City of Prague tourist officehttps://www.prague.eu/en

The unofficial Prague tourist board, nicehttps://www.praguecitytourism.cz/en

The Czech Republic tourist board on Praguehttps://www.visitczechrepublic.com/en-US/Destinations/Prague

There you go folks, something different from the East and worth a detour in Europe. See the old charm of Prague and yoiu will love it. And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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