My last day in Prague. Hubby still had meeting to go to, so he was staying on for several more days, but this was his last vacation day. We had several things on the to see list, including more of David Cerny’s works and the Astronomical Clock in Old Town (Stare Mesto). First up was the TV tower, which was on our way into the city center from our hotel. Emerging from the Jiřího z Poděbrad metro station (which, by the way, sounds nothing like it is spelled; I could catch the ‘z’ only) we saw this church. There are lots and lots of churches in Prague, of every shape, style, and color. This definitely fit into the modern category. We particularly liked the see-through clock face.
The architectural style was unfriendly, IMO. The brick surface detail almost looked like spikes or barbed wire. Still, it was quite a nice change of architecture from what we had been seeing. And onto the TV Tower, which the Communists built in 1985. Uuuuuuugly is the word that comes to my mind. It looks like some cheap, plastic ray gun or something. Anyway, I guess I’m not alone in my thinking, from what I read. After the fall of Communism, the tower was deemed to be fairly unattractive, so, of course, they commission David Cerny to make it more appealing. From a distance (and most of the center city area) his additions look like ants. Which is kind of fun in it’s own way. But no, those aren’t ants, those are babies. Giant, butt-faced, crawling babies. All over the tower. It makes me think of giant babies crawling on an AT-AT. Or something like that. It’s just wonderfully bizarre. The title of the work is ‘Mimika,’ Czech for the word ‘babies.’ For an interpretation… I leave that up to you. Or Google, if you so wish. It definitely turned the TV tower from an eye sore to a destination, though. There were also a few other pieces on the TV tower grounds that were quite interesting. This… I have no idea. I’ve never been a modern art girl. And headed back to the metro station, I spotted this post box. Nice.These are just some details from the buildings in the TV tower neighborhood. Again, not on the tourist beat. This is just how things are.
Our next stop was Municipal House, in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) where there was an exhibition of Alfons Mucha’s work. The buildings below are in the Municipal House neighborhood. Again, all of that gorgeous detail. What we didn’t realize when we headed into the exhibition was that it was the world premiere, and it had only opened about 10 days prior. How lucky that we happened to be in Prague at the right time! And while the name Ivan Lendl sounded familiar, I couldn’t place it. Yes, it turns out that is was the Ivan Lendl of 1980’s tennis fame. He had begun collecting Mucha’s work in the early 80’s after being introduced to Mucha’s son. And now owns one of the most complete collections of Mucha lithographs in the world. Again, there was strictly no photography allowed, but to say the exhibition was amazing is an understatement. It totally blew away the Mucha Museum. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to purchase the exhibition book. All 30 pounds of it. (Ok, well maybe not that heavy, but pretty close.)
After that, we went and assumed a position in front of the Astronomical Clock, which is a “must see” in all of the guidebooks. Here’s the crowd (of tourists) that gathers each hour to see the show. While the clock itself is something to behold, the hourly show lasts a mere 45 seconds and it underwhelming, to say the least. I thought I took a video of it, but I pressed the wrong button, so just a photograph instead. The most amusing part, I thought, is that the figure of Death is the one ringing the bell.
After that, we grabbed some sausages for lunch in the square, and shared a trdelnik for dessert. Then onward, there was more David Cerny to find.
But first, more architectural details along the way. Here’s St George slaying the dragon. And this horrible photo. Which I took only to show the huge metronome that sits on the opposite bank of the river. (It’s easier to see in the larger photo.) The metronome now sits where the huge statue of Lenin used to sit. Stalin blew that up in 1963 (or so). So now there’s a metronome. Ok. Layers of history, everywhere. And back in Mala Strana (Lower Town), just outside the Kafka museum, we found the other Cerny piece we were looking for: Proudy (that’s Czech for ‘piss’). These two gentlemen stand in a pool the shape of the Czech Republic, their hips swiveling, while their, um, manhood pisses out lines from famous Czech literature. It’s quite the crowd pleaser. I had a difficult time getting shots (and video) without a crowd in the way. I mean, really, what’s not to like? (Yes, I became a David Cerny fan in Prague.)
After another long day of touristing, we caught a bite to eat in the Namesti Miru neighborhood. And still I couldn’t stop taking pictures of their buildings. Afterwards, as it was a lovely evening, we grabbed some gelato from a stand in the park and walked around a bit. We came across this monument, to Josef Capek and his brother Karel. Josef was an artist and poet, but also invented the word ‘robot’ for use in one of his brother’s stories. Karel perished shortly after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Josef perished in a concentration camp in 1945. Sad.
However, not to leave the last Prague post on a sad note. There is so much history in Prague, a lot of it sad, but a lot of it glorious and beautiful. I highly recommend Prague as a city to visit. While I’ve just shown a fraction of the photos I took, hopefully I was able to convey some of the beauty and wonder that this city holds.