DEN VINCENT IN THE CITY OF PRAQUE - Chekoslovakia

 

   with Jeng Verina

 

City Trem

 

The Hradčany, or Castle, district is on the western side of the Vltava and dominates the city. Situated on a hill, Hradčany (Prague Castle) includes several historical buildings and is Prague’s most visible symbol. Formerly the residence of the kings of Bohemia, Hradčany now houses the offices and official residence of the president of the Czech Republic. Zlatá ulička, or Golden Street, is just inside one of the castle’s walls and includes the tiny shops and small homes of the artisans who once served the castle’s occupants.

 

Entrance to Prague Castle

Prague Castle (Czech: Pražský hrad) is a castle in Prague where the Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Czech Crown Jewels are kept here. Prague Castle is one of the biggest castles in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide.

The history of the castle stretches back to the 9th century (870). The first walled building was the church of Our Lady. The Basilica of Saint George and the Basilica of St. Vitus were founded in the first half of the 10th century. The first convent in Bohemia was founded in the castle, next to the church of St. George. A Romanesque palace was erected here during the 12th century. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV the royal palace was rebuilt in Gothic style and the castle fortifications were strengthened. In place of rotunda and basilica of St. Vitus began building of a vast Gothic church, that have been completed almost six centuries later. During the Hussite Wars and the following decades the Castle was not inhabited. In 1485, King Ladislaus II Jagello began to rebuild the castle.

In 1918 the castle became the seat of the president of the new Czechoslovak Republic. The New Royal Palace and the gardens were renovated by Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. Renovations continued in 1936 under Plečnik's successor Pavel Janák.

During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II, Prague Castle became the headquarters of Reinhard Heydrich, the "Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia". It is said that he placed the Bohemian crown on his head; old legends say that a usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year. Less than a year after assuming power, Heydrich was assassinated.

After the liberation of Czechoslovakia, it housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government. During the Velvet Revolution, Alexander Dubček, the leader of Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring, appeared on a balcony overlooking Wenceslas Square to hear throngs of protesters below shouting "Dubček to the castle!" As they pushed for him to take his seat as president of the country at Prague Castle, he embraced the crowd as a symbol of democratic freedom.

After Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the castle became the seat of the Head of State of the new Czech Republic. Similar to what Masaryk did with Plečnik, president Václav Havel commissionned Bořek Šípek to be the architect of post-communism Prague Castle's necessary improvements in particular of the facelift of the Castle's Gallery of paintings.

The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of the last millennium. The Prague Castle includes gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery and several palaces, gardens and defense towers. Most of the castle areas are open to tourists. Nowadays, the castle houses several museums, including the National Gallery collection of Bohemian baroque and mannerism art, exhibition dedicated to Czech history, Toy Museum and the picture gallery of Prague Castle, based on the collection of Rudolph II. The Summer Shakespeare Festival regularly takes place in the courtyard of Burgrave Palace.

 

Saint Vitus's Cathedral with Saint George on the right

Saint Vitus's Cathedral (Czech: Katedrála svatého Víta) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Prague, and the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The full name of the cathedral is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas, and St. Adalbert Cathedral. Located within Prague Castle and containing the tombs of many Bohemian kings, this cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country.

The first church — also consecrated to St. Vitus — that stood at the location of the present-day cathedral was an early romanesque rotunda founded by Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia in 925. This patron saint was chosen because Wenceslaus had acquired a holy relic — the arm of St. Vitus — from Emperor Henry I. It is also possible that Wenceslaus, wanting to convert his subjects to Christianity more easily, chose a saint whose name sounds very much like the name of Slavic solar deity Svantevit. Two religious populations, the increasing Christian and decreasing pagan community, lived simultaneously in Prague castle at least until the 11th century.

In the year 1060, as the bishopric of Prague was founded, prince Spythinev II embarked on building a more spacious church, as it became clear the existing rotunda was too small to accommodate the faithful. A much larger and more representative romanesque basilica was built in its spot. Though still not completely reconstructed, most experts agree it was a triple-aisled basilica with two choirs and a pair of towers connected to the western transept. The design of the cathedral nods to Romanesque architecture of the Holy Roman Empire, most notably to the abbey church in Hildesheim and the Speyer Cathedral. The southern apse of the rotunda was incorporated into the eastern transept of the new church because it housed the tomb of St. Wenceslaus, who had by now become the patron saint of the Czech princes. A bishop's mansion was also built south of the new church, and was considerably enlarged and extended in the mid 12th-century.

The present day Gothic Cathedral was founded on 21st of November, 1344, when the Prague bishopric was raised to an archbishopric. Its patrons were the chapter of cathedral (led by a Dean), the Archbishop Arnost of Pardubice, and, above all, Charles IV, King of Bohemia and a soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor, who intended the new cathedral to be a coronation church, family crypt, treasury for the most precious relics of the kingdom, and the last resting place cum pilgrimage site of patron saint Wenceslaus. The first master builder was a Frenchman Matthias of Arras, summoned from the papal palace in Avignon. Matthias designed the overall layout of the building as, basically, an import of French Gothic: a triple-naved basilica with flying buttresses, short transept, five-bayed choir and decagon apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. However, he lived to build only the easternmost parts of the choir: the arcades and the ambulatory. The slender verticality of Late French Gothic and clear, almost rigid respect of proportions distinguish his work today.

After Matthias' death in 1352, a new master builder took over the cathedral workshop. This was Peter Parler, at that time only 23-years old and son of the architect of the Heilig-Kreuz-Münster in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Parler at first only worked according to the plans left by his predecessor, building the sacristy on the north side of the choir and the chapel on the south. Once he finished all that Matthias left unfinished, he continued according to his own ideas. Parler's bold and innovative design brought in a unique new synthesis of Gothic elements in architecture. This is best exemplified in the vaults he designed for the choir. The so-called Parler's vaults or net-vaults have double (not single, as in classic High Gothic groin vaults) diagonal ribs that span the width of the choir-bay. The crossing pairs of ribs create a net-like construction (hence the name), which considerably strengthens the vault. They also give a lively ornamentation to the ceiling, as the interlocking vaulted bays create a dynamic zigzag pattern down the length of the cathedral.

 

Altar St. Vitus church

While Matthias of Arras was schooled as a geometer, thus putting an emphasis on rigid systems of proportions and clear, mathematical compositions in his design, Parler was trained as sculptor and woodcarver. He treated architecture as a sculpture, almost as if playing with structural forms in stone. Aside from his rather bold vaults, the peculiarities of his work can also be seen in the design of pillars (with classic, bell-shaped columns which were almost forgotten by High Gothic), the ingenious dome vault of new St. Wenceslaus chapel, the undulating clerestory walls, the original window tracery (no two of his windows are the same, the ornamentation is always different) and the blind tracery pannels of the buttresses. Architectural sculpture was given a considerable role while Parler was in charge of construction, as can be seen in the corbels, the passageway lintels, and, particularly, in the busts on the triforium, which depict faces of the royal family, saints, Prague bishops, and the two master builders, including Parler himself.

Work on the cathedral, however, proceeded rather slowly, due to the fact that in the meantime the Emperor commissioned Parler with many other projects, such as the construction of the new Charles bridge in Prague and many churches throughout the Czech realm. By 1397, when Peter Parler died, only the choir and parts of the transept were finished.

After Peter Parler's death in 1399 his sons, Wenzel Parler and particularly Johannes Parler, continued his work; they in turn were succeeded by a certain Master Petrilk, who by all accounts was also a member of Parler's workshop. Under these three masters, the transept and the great tower on its south side were finished. So was the gable which connects the tower with the south transept. Nicknamed 'Golden Gate' (likely because of the golden mosaic of Last Judgment depicted on it), it is through this portal that the kings entered the cathedral for coronation ceremonies.

 

Tomb of St. John Nepomuk

The entire building process came to a halt with the beginning of Hussite War in the first half of 15th century. The war brought an end to the workshop that operated steadily over for almost a century, and the furnishings of cathedral, dozens of pictures and sculptures, suffered heavily from the ravages of Hussite iconoclasm. As if this was not enough, a great fire in 1541 considerably damaged the cathedral.

Perhaps the most outstanding place in the cathedral is the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, where the relics of the saint are kept. The room was built by Peter Parler between 1344 and 1364 and has a ribbed vault. The lower part of the walls are wonderfully decorated with over 1300 semi-precious stones and paintings about the Passion of Christ dating from the original decoration of the chapel in 1372-1373. The upper part of the walls have paintings about the life of St Wenceslas, created by the Master of the Litoměřice Altarpiece between 1506 and 1509. In the middle of the wall there is a gothic statue of St Wenceslas executed by Jindrich Parler (Peter's nephew) in 1373. Unfortunately the Chapel is not accessible by members of the public, but can be viewed from its doorways instead.

Through most of the following centuries, the cathedral stood only half-finished. It was built up to the great tower and a transept, which was closed by a provisional wall. In the place of a three-aisled nave-to-be-built, a timber-roofed construction stood, and services were held separately there from the interior of the choir. Several attempts to continue the work on cathedral were mostly unsuccessful. In the latter half of 15th century, king Vladislav Jagiellon commissioned the great Renaissance-Gothic architect Benedict Ried to continue the work on the cathedral, but almost as soon as the work began, it was cut short because of lack of funds. Later attempts to finish the cathedral only brought some Renaissance and Baroque elements into the Gothic building, most notably the obviously different Baroque spire of the south tower and the great organ in the northern wing of transept.

 

Royal Mausoleum

In 1844 Vácslav Pešina, an energetic St Vitus canon, together with Neo-Gothic architect Josef Kranner presented a program for renovation and completion of the great cathedral at the gathering of German architects in Prague. The same year a society under the full name "Union for Completion of the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague" was formed, whose aim was to repair, complete and get rid of "everything mutilated and stylistically inimical". Josef Kranner was heading what was mostly repair work from 1861 to 1866, getting rid of Baroque decorations deemed unnecessary and restoring the interior. In 1870 the foundations of the new nave were finally laid, and in 1873, after Kramer's death, architect Josef Mocker took over the reconstruction. It was he who designed the west facade in a typical classic Gothic manner with two towers, and the same design was adopted, after his death, by the third and final architect of restoration, Kamil Hilbert.

 

Organ

In the 1920s the sculptor Vojtěch Sucharda worked on the facade, and the famous Czech Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha decorated the new windows in the north part of nave. The Rose Window was designed by Frantisek Kysela in 1925-7. This Rose Window above the portal depicts scenes from the biblical story of creation. By the time of St. Wenceslas jubilee in 1929, the St. Vitus cathedral was finally finished; it took almost 600 years to built it. Despite the fact that entire western half of Cathedral is a Neo-Gothic addition, much of the design and elements developed by Peter Parler were used in the restoration, giving the Cathedral as a whole a harmonious, unified look.

 

Door panels

The Cathedral of St. Vitus had tremendous influence on the development of Late Gothic style characteristic for Central Europe. Members of Parler workshop, and indeed, the Parler clan (both of which were established at the building site of St. Vitus) designed numerous churches and buildings across Central Europe. More notable examples include Stephansdom cathedral in Vienna, Strasbourg Cathedral, Church of St. Marko in Zagreb and the Church of St. Barbara in Kutna Hora, also in Czech Republic. Regional Gothic styles of Slovenia, northern Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and southern Germany were all heavily influenced by Parler design.

 

Powder Gate

 

An Art Nouveau hall

 

National theatre

 

The Lesser Quarter, or Malá Strana, located in the area between the castle hill and the river, contains many of the Baroque palaces that lend distinction to Prague.


St. Nicholas church

 

Altar St. Nicholas church

 

Organ dengan hiasan cupid ukiran emas

 

Dekorasi yang serba lengkungan marmer utuh

Infant Jesus of Prague (Czech Pražské Jezulátko) is a famous statue of infant Jesus located in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana, Prague. Its earliest history can be traced back to the year 1628 when a small, 48 centimeters in height, exquisite statue of wax Infant Jesus was brought into Bohemia by Polyxena von Lobkowitz, who became greatly attached to the Carmelites. This princess had been given the statue as a wedding gift by her mother, Maria Manriquez de Lara of Spain, and the statue was given to the Discalced Carmelites in Prague. Upon presenting it, the pious princess uttered a prophetic statement to the religious: "Venerable Fathers, I bring you my dearest possession. Honor this image and you shall never want". The statue was set upon the oratory of the monastery of Our Lady of Victory, Prague, where special devotions to Jesus were offered before it twice a day. The Carmelite novices voluntarily became poor and professed their poverty fervently during devotions in the presence of the Divine Infant.

 

Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana

 

In 1630 the Carmelite novitiate was transferred to Munich. With the transfer of novices, Prague lost the most ardent devotees of the Infant. Disturbances in Bohemia due to the Thirty Years War brought an end to the special devotions, and on November 15, 1631, the army of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden took a possession of the churches of the capital city of Bohemia. The Carmelite friary was plundered by the Lutheran Protestant Swedish, and the image of the Infant of Prague was thrown into a pile of rubbish behind the altar. Here it lay forgotten, its hands broken off, for seven years until it was found again in 1637 by Father Cyrillus and placed in the church's oratory. One day, while praying before the statue, Father Cyrillus heard a voice say, "Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless you." Since then, the statue has remained in Prague and has drawn many devotees worldwide to go and honor the Holy Child. Claims of blessings, favors and miraculous healings have been made by many who petitioned before the Infant Jesus. Statuettes of the Infant Jesus are placed inside many Catholic churches, sometimes with the quotation, "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you."

 

Altar of the Infant Jesus of Prague

 

Salah satu kapel dalam gereja

 

Dekorasi dalam gereja

 

The Old New Synagogue  situated in Josefov, Prague, is Europe's oldest active synagogue. It is also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin nave design.

Completed in 1270 in gothic style, it was one of Prague's first gothic buildings. A still older Prague synagogue, known as the Old Synagogue, was demolished in 1867 and replaced by the Spanish Synagogue.

There are two explanations for the name "Alt-Neu." The first is based on the German and Yiddish translation of Alt-Neu as "Old-New." According to this explanation, the synagogue was originally called the New or Great Synagogue and later, when newer synagogues were built in the 16th century, it became known as the Old-New Synagogue. Another view says this may be a mistranslation. According to this version, the synagogue is believed to have been built from stones from the Temple in Jerusalem, and the synagogue was built "on condition", in Hebrew: Al-Tnai, that the stones would be returned after the reconstruction of the Temple.

Nine steps lead from the street into a vestibule, from which a door opens into a rectangular nave with six vaulted bays. Two large pillars aligned east to west in the middle of the room each support the interior corner of four bays. The bays have two narrow Gothic windows on the sides, for a total of twelve, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The narrow windows are probably responsible for many descriptions of the Altneu Shul as being dark and dingy, but it is now brightly lit, with several electric chandeliers.

 

The Old New Synagogue


Synagogue interior. Notice the filleted ceiling with five nervures instead of four, which could have been a reminder of the Christian cross.

The bimah from which Torah scrolls are read is located between the two pillars. The Aron Kodesh where the Torah scrolls are stored is located in the middle of the customary eastern wall. There are five steps leading up to the Ark and two round stained glass windows on either side above it. A lectern in front of the ark has a square well a few inches below the main floor for the service leader to stand in.

The synagogue follows orthodox custom, with separate seating for men and women during prayer services. Women sit in an outer room with small windows looking into the main sanctuary. The framework of the roof, the gable, and the party wall date from the Middle Ages.

An unusual feature is a large flag on a standard at the west pillar bearing a Star of David, the text of Shema Yisrael, and a Yarmulke-Jewish hat-are the last a symbols of the Jewish community in Prague since the 15th century. The right to carry a flag, a symbol of community autonomy, was granted by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor in recognition of the services of the Jews in the defense of Prague against the Swedes. The current flag was presented to the Jews by Charles VI (the flag now on display is a replica).

It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague's community is kept. A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead. In the event, the Gestapo apparently did not enter the attic during the war, and the building was spared during the Nazis' destruction of synagogues. The lowest three meters from the stairs leading to the attic from the outside have been removed and the attic is not open to the general public.

 

Cloister Strahov Bibliotheca

 

 

OLOMOUC - Slovakia

 

Perjalanan bus dari Praque menuju Krakow ditempuh 8 jam, melewati kota Olomouc (masih dalam negara Slovakia) dan mampir 2 jam untuk makan siang. Ketika menunggu masakan dihidangkan, Den Vincent en Jeng Verina jalan ke belakang restoran dan di situ terlihat ada gereja kecil (mungkin kapel), ternyata bagus juga.

 

Down town kota kecil Olomouc

 

Suasana di dekat perempatan

 

Jeng Verina duduk di pinggir jalan dengan perut keroncongan

 

Den Vincent dapat bidikan unik, neng geulis dengan kostum penyangga susu, inspirasi buat cewek di negara lain biar pada montok :~)

 

Holy Trinity Column dengan latar belakang Gereja Pada Pertumpahan Darah, tempat Tsar Alexander II terbunuh

 

Restoran tempat Den Vincent makan siang

 

Di belakang restoran tampak gereja kecil (lupa namanya)

 

Altar gereja

 

Patung marmer kelahiran Yesus

 

Selesai makan siang, perut kenyang, Den Vincent.....santai dulu donk.......

 

Kota di Moravia di tepi sungai Morava, di bagian timur Republic Chekoslovakia.

Olomouc mempunyai beberapa alun-alun terutama alun-alun yang dihiasi Holy Trinity Column (Tugu Trinitas Suci) yang kini menjadi situs warisan dunia UNESCO. Tugu tersebut tingginya 35 meter dan dibangun pada tahun 1716-1754. Gerejanya dinamakan Gereja Pada Pertumpahan Darah karena dibangun di tempat Tsar Alexander II dibunuh, dan bangunan ini dipersembahkan untuk mengenangnya.

 

 

 

GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE

 

           

 

 

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