Trip To the Czech Republic
With my family, I've visited the Czech Republic and had a great experience there!
On the first day, we just stayed at our hotel because it was too dark to do anything.
→ Castle Of Prague
This building is an ancient monument that holds a great historic significance to the Czech Republic. The Castle is a foundation for the architecture and history of art not only in Czech but also for visitors around the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest coherent castle complex in the whole world. The building adapted the Romanesque-style during the 10th century and was modified with the Gothic-style in the 14th century. The Velvet Revolution in Prague also led the Castle into more repairs and reconstructions. The Castle definitely seemed like a grand place.
→ Charles Bridge
A Gothic stone bridge that connects the Old Town and Lesser Town. The construction of the bridge was commissioned by the king of Czech and the Roman Emperor Charles IV which began in 1357. It is said that the architect mixed egg yolk with the mortar to strengthen the bridge. There is a tower standing on each end of the bridge. They are opened to visitors who want to see Prague from above. On the bridge, musicians, artists and souvenir vendors line across it all year round. The view was amazing and I was able to get a taste of the culture of the Czech Republic.
→ Prague Astronomical Clock
This medieval clock is located at the southern side of the Old Town. On each hour, from 9 AM to 11 PM, the Twelve Apostles move around, signalling the time. There are other figures that move with the apostles' parade, such as the skeleton rings which rotates an hourglass to show that a man's life has ended. There is a figure named 'The Vain Man' and 'The Miser' as well. Although it was under renovation when I visited, but was lucky enough to watch the procession of the Apostles.
→ Bratislava Square
Although many people refer to this place as the 'miniature version of Prague', Bratislava is like its own metropolis with a distinct identity, history, and culture. It has a modern vibe, despite being in the Old Town. With cafes and restaurants at every turn you take, Bratislava is easy to weave around. I really enjoyed my visit -- almost more than Prague.
→ Vyšehrad cemetery
The cemetery is next to the Church of St Peter and St Paul and is claimed to be one of the most significant cemeteries in Prague. There are over 600 famous people buried, from writers to poets, composers and politicians. I've seen the famous composer Smetana's grave. The cemetery itself was very beautiful.
It's one of the most remarkable buildings in Prague both architecturally and artistically. Built in the 19th century, it was envisioned to be a multi-purpose cultural centre with exhibition rooms and concert halls. I watched a performance by the Czech Republic's Philharmonic Orchestra.
→ Hluboká nad Vltavou
The State Hluboká Castle is preserved with the original furnishing and a beautiful park attached to it. The park is full of trees and lovely views of the natural scenery nearby. The castle is built with the romantic neo-gothic style which is inspired by the British Windsor Castle. The indoor furnishing is equipped with unique woodcarving objects, numerous paintings, rare tapestries and more. Every time I took a picture, it was like a painting because the park and castle was so beautiful!
→ Český Krumlov
In a little town, with a stunning looking castle above the Vltava River built upon Renaissance and Baroque architecture is Český Krumlov. The whole town is small enough to walk from one side town to the other in 20 minutes. After exploring the town, my family came to a cafe that sold Honey Cake, a delicious type of pastry that was a traditional treat.
→ Loket Castle
This was the place where the Czech King and Roman Emperor Charles IV came to relax and hunt game. The castle got its name from the place where the River Ohre bent in the shape of an elbow (loket in Czech). According to tales, Charles IV loved the place despite his father forced him there during his childhood. There are torture chambers and a porcelain exhibition with a romantic fresco created in the 15th century that displays a view from the castle with gardens and birds in flight. I felt like I was living in the medieval times! Also, there was a dragon statue at the bottom of a well. So cool.
→ Karlovy Vary
Our family bought a small cup that we could use to drink from the hot springs that were all around town. It was as if we were on a scavenger hunt! It tasted like blood because of all the minerals present in the water. We didn't have time to visit the spa, but it seemed like it would be very relaxing. There were so many little shops that piqued my interest and my mum was particularly enjoying the crystal cups. There was a place where famous people put their names down on a metal plate. It was like the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. I personally loved this town the best. It was quiet and had everything I loved within the town!
→ Strahov Library in Prague
This is the largest monastic library in the country with two baroque halls dating back to the 17th and 18th century. There are small openings that lets you peek through the doors, but cannot go into the halls. This was because the humidity caused by visitors' breath was damaging the frescoes. Although it's a library, there are displays of historical curiosities which have fossils and small figures on display.
The two-story-high Philosophy Hall was built to fit around the walnut shelving that was rescued from another monastery. The height is highlighted by a grandiose ceiling fresco named 'Mankind's Quest for True Wisdom'.
The lobby outside the hall contains the 18th century Cabinet of Curiosities, displaying shriveled remains of sharks, turtles, and other sea creatures. The other case on the opposite side has historical items including a miniature coffee service made for the Habsburg Empress in 1913.
There is the Xyloteka, which is a set of book-like boxes that are bound with the wood and bark of the tree it described, along with samples of leaves, roots, flowers, and fruits inside. Entering the corridor, you can see the library's most prized possession: the Strahov Evengeliary. This is a 9th century codex in a gem-studded 12th century binding.
The last of the library ends with the Theology Hall. The low, curved ceiling is carved in ornate baroque style stucco-work and decorated with painting cartouches that depicts the theme of 'True Wisdom'. One of the mottoes on the ceiling is initio sapientiae timor domini, which translates to 'the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God'.
A well known stationery store in the Czech Republic. As a stationery fanatic, I loved everything that was there because of the natural wooden finish of the colour pencils and really efficient looking mechanical pencils.
Also known as the pig's knee, this is a traditional dish of the Czech Republic. It's usually marinated in dark beer and herbs, roasted, and served with a various different number accompaniments; the most essential complements being horseradish, pickles, and bread with cranberry jam and a special sauce. The meat itself is tender and juicy in parts, crispy and well roasted. I normally don't eat pig, (or any other parts of an animal that isn't actual meat) but it was quite nice, trying something new.
→ Central Post Office
Although you may think that there's nothing interesting about a post office, but this one is! The famous painter Alphonse Mucha painted the murals on the walls of the post office, making it seem like a museum.
On the fifth day, our family took the plane back to Korea. It was such a shame that we had to leave a beautiful country like the Czech Republic behind. But I have a feeling that we'll be visiting again, soon!
*except for the photos of Rudolfinum, KOH-I-NOOR, and the Koleno, all the photos of the scenery were taken by me*