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October 13th, part IV - Continuing a full day in Prague.


The entrance to the palace church
More beautiful ceilings

The entrance to the church was at the eastern end of the great hall in the palace. You can see the 1029 AD crests above the windows.

Every ceiling we saw was different, and none of them were plain. This is the arched ceiling inside the church itself. Such simple curves, no color, but so beautiful.


The church was small, perhaps more of a chapel than a full-fledged church. It had an elaborate altar on the eastern end, and a balcony overlooking the pews below. The entrance we came through put us onto the balcony.

The first two shots are of the front of the church, one with some of the ceiling, and one focused more on the altar itself.

Notice that there's another dead guy buried in the floor here - the square in the middle of the floor in the third picture is yet another crypt.

The last photograph is of the organ's pipes. I absolutely love pipe organs, the bigger the better. This was a small one, but the pipes were quite cool indeed.

Inside the palace church
Inside the palace church
A crypt in this church, too
The organ's pipe set

Outer courtyard
On the way to the west gates
The western entrance to the castle
Huge flagpoles on either side of the entrance

The outer castle courtyard was a bit busier today. This courtyard was mostly deserted the night before.

The second picture is of a set of gates and a doorway inside the walkway to the western gates.

The third and fourth photographs are of the western entrance to the castle. There was a flagpole on either side of the entrance. Those are some BIG flagpoles.


The first two pictures are of the western gates, both from the inside and from the outside. If you're paying attention, these are the gates that I shot at dusk the night before.

The second two pictures are of the changing of the guard at the western gates. The procedure took a minute or two, and as you can see, quite a tourist spectacle. We didn't realize that this was going to happen, so we were quite a ways back in the crowd.

Interesting: We pondered on whether it was an honor or a punishment for these soldiers to be chosen for the castle guard. I mean, patriotically, it must be quite an honor, not unlike the honor our troops share when they are picked to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, DC. But, these poor guys have to put up with all the tourists trying to make them grin and stupid things like that - so, honor or punishment?

The western gates from the inside
The western gates from the outside
The changing of the guard at the western gates
The changing of the guard at the western gates

Looking west from the gates down into the embassy district
Before the descent into Old Town
The great stairway down into Old Town

A road curved down from the gates to the southwest, into the embassy district. To the right of where I was standing was a delightful little street band playing music for tips. Not sure why I didn't get any photos of them. They were very good, and they had this incredibly well behaved little dog sitting in front of them, not moving an inch.

The second picture is from the parapet overlooking Old Town, right before our trek down the stairway. The third picture is the stairway.


The first real sight that we saw once we descended into Old Town was Bethlehem Square. This square had a spire surrounded by statues in the middle of it, and the Bethlehem Church in the southeast corner.

If you look closely at the second picture, you can see the two spires of St. Vitus' Cathedral up on the hill in the background.

The Bethlehem Church
Spire in the center of the square

Walking through the streets in Prague
Looking towards the west end of Charles Bridge
The west tower on the Charles Bridge
Old and new meet - medevial tower in the background, internet cafe in the foreground

The Charles Bridge spans the Moldava (Vltava) river. Its construction was begun in 1357 upon orders from Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. That's where we headed next.

The first picture is one of the buildings we passed along the way. Notice the horsedrawn carriage mingling in with the traffic.

The second picture is a view down towards the western end of the bridge.

The third photograph is of the tower on the west end of the Charles Bridge.

The last picture is more unique - notice the mixture of old and new - an internet cafe in the shadow of a medevial tower!


There are a total of thirty baroque statues along the sides of the Charles Bridge. No, I did not take pictures of each and every one, before you ask.

Many of the statues now standing on the bridge are reproductions, while the originals are kept safe in the Lapidarium (a Prague museum). Here are photographs of three of them.

A statue on the Charles Bridge
A statue on the Charles Bridge
A statue on the Charles Bridge

Boats on the river
Boats on the river
Old Town and dam on the river
Boats and the western bank of the river

Several different views from the bridge.


Part of the bridge was over land. In these two pictures, you can see a square below, and a couple of tourists taking a tour in an antique car.

Interesting: Pay careful attention to the cobblestones in these pictures. The designs, while simple, are quite amazing.

A square below the bridge
A tourist couple touring in an antique car

The eastern tower on Charles Bridge
A beggar was kneeling under the tower

This is the tower at the eastern end of Charles Bridge. Tracy and Rob climbed to the top (it was open for a fee) while I stayed below and stayed lazy. They said the view was beautiful; I took their word for it after the climb in the southern tower in the cathedral.

The second picture is a beggar that was parked underneath the eastern tower. I saw a few more in Prague, and they all did the same thing - they knelt alongside the street, with a cup in their hands or right in front of them, and kept their heads down.

This man rocked slightly and was mouthing words silently, I think he was praying.

<-- Oct 13, part III   Oct 13th, part V -->

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