St. Vitus, classical concert at Prague Castle, and V Zastisi!

Prague Travel Blog

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Another scorcher, and it started early. The night had been mostly sleepless. The noise of the touristy street was no help, either.

Rob went to a grocery and brought back supplies for breakfast while I prepared for the day.

We first went to the Jewish Cemetery. I have been there on my trip with Karen but, Rob had not. We both didn’t think about the fact that it was Saturday but became painfully aware when we arrived to empty vendor stalls and a locked gate. We would return the next day.

The architecture of the buildings in the area surrounding the cemetery are all very grand. The are much like the grand buildings of Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava. Many of then are under renovation and being offered as condominiums and from the looks of it, luxury.

The Vltava River was busy with tourist boats traveling up and down the river and the paddle boats, kayaks and swimmers were out In force.

We walked across and enjoyed the view. Rob hadn’t been on the bridge to the north of the Charles. The little park has a sculpture of the Czech flag and the monument is dedicated to the victims of World War II.

We returned to the Bohemian glass shop and made some selections; 16th century Medieval designs and one from the 5th-8th century that originated from the Vikings. The design was brought here during their raids.

The ambled through the streets around the Charles Bridge and up the way past St. Nicholas Church.

The heat was stifling but, we continued the climb to the castle. Up the last section of the hill, we were rewarded with the view of 100 spires, as Prague is known.

The view was spectacular as always.

The gate to the castle, at this moment was not being guarded. It has a very dramatic entryway with some of the largest wooden flag poles that I’ve ever seen.

We entered the castle grounds and went in search of the ticket office for St. Vitus Cathedral. I got in line….a long line while Rob went in search. He returned and we were in the front of the line…..no cost to the entry.

A bit about the cathedrals history:

St. Vitus's Cathedral is the largest and the most important church in Prague. Apart from divine services the coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place in it. The remains of provincial patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen and archbishops are interned here.

The cathedral is the third church consecrated to the same saint on the identical site. About the year 925 Prince Vaclav I founded a Romanesque rotunda here which after 1060 was converted into a triple-naved basilica with two steeples. The importance of the cathedral grew especially after the establishment of the Prague bishopric in 973 and the founding of the body of canons - the St. Vitus chapter, which later became an important cultural and administrative institution.
In 1344 Charles IV began the construction of a Gothic cathedral. Its first builders, Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler, built the choir with a ring of chapels,
St. Wenceslas' Chapel, the Golden Portal and the lower part of the main steeple.

In spite of the endeavors of some sovereigns to secure the continuation of the construction work the cathedral remained uncompleted for whole centuries. The main steeple was crowned with a Renaissance helmet and the music choir was built. The facade of the cathedral was provisionally closed.
It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that the Union for the Completion of the Building of St. Vitus's Cathedral began the repair of the original part and the completion of the building of the cathedral in Neo-Gothic style. The cathedral was solemnly consecrated in 1929. Its interior was subjected to adaptations even in later years.

Visitors enter the cathedral through the portal in the western facade, opposite the passage-way between the Second and Third Courtyards of Prague Castle. Its bronze door is decorated with reliefs with scenes from the history of the cathedral and from the legends about St.

Wenceslas and St. Adalbert.

The cathedral is made up of a large center area and many narrow chapels. The chapels are lit by light coming in through the colored stained glass. There is an especially beautiful Art Nouveau window.

A few of the amazing design elements that you will see are:

The 14th century St. Wenceslas Chapel

Tombstone of John of Nepomuk

The Triforium

The Royal Mausoleum and Crypt of the Bohemian Kings

(Charles IV, Wenceslas IV, and one of Maria Theresa’s daughters - Marie Amalie) all buried in the Crypt.

(Ferdinand I of Austria, Ann of Bohemia & Hungary, and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian II) all buried in the Mausoleum.

We stopped in at the Cathedral’s shop and found a treasure of books and gifts. We bought several books about the church, Czech fairy tales, and a monument, as well.

Upon leaving the castle grounds, we found a fair trade shop and purchased some Czech wine and a history of the Czech land in pop-up…too cool!

We trekked back to the apartment….quite a distance. We had to take the loot of the day back and have a snack.

We found a treat of a restaurant in the basement of the architecture / design museum. It was a dark, cool, and deserted……very hard to find in Prague in the summertime.

Fed and much lighter from our bag drop, we headed back to the castle grounds.

We had tickets to an evening of Bach and Mozart in the St. George Basilica, the oldest church building at Prague Castle. It is also the best preserved Romanesque building in Prague, founded in 915 AD.

The concert was peaceful…maybe too much so. We were so tired that we, and several others, were fighting sleep.

The venue was special, a step back in time…..way back. I love classical music and it always moves me to participate in its enjoyment in an ancient setting where so much has happened and so much has changed.

After the concert, a leisurely stroll down the hill from the castle led to a walk along the Vltava River. Many people were still enjoying the cool water, on such a hot day. I longed to just jump in and join them….but, a long awaited dinner extravaganza awaited.

At V Zatisi, we were treated to a delicious 5 course meal with wine pairings. I found with gem when Karen and I were lost and cold and tired in November of 2008, lucky us. The food was just as good, the service equal to the food, and the pricing hadn’t changed in almost 2 years. The only change was the plaque our front that now tells everyone that they are Michelin rated.

What an evening. We were full of tasty food and drunk on Czech wine….could there be a better evening? I don’t think so.

I hope the heat lets up for an easier night. The teens on holiday were doing their drunken mating dance on the street outside our apartment. AARRGGHH….gotta love hormones!

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photo by: vulindlela