Monday, June 21, 2010
Labels: architecture, cemetary, communist, cubist, Czech Republic, dimples, Eastern Bloc, era, Jew, metro, old town, Prague, Praha, soviet, subway, television, tourist, tower, Tyn Church, Žižkov
Prague, Czech Republic, known as the fairytale city. The blend of architecture in and around Prague is world renown. Possibly the most typically European city there is, Praha is centuries old authentic European living street scape. Cubist, Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, and myriad more architectural styles blend right in with what was my first glimpse of mid-late 20th century Soviet era architecture. Understandably, of any city I have been to, this is the most tourist infested, by a long shot. Thousands of tourists wander in a daze around all of the old-town sights, such as the the astronomical clock and the Tyn Church, for me, the definitive fairytale building. The Jewish cemetery, which is apparently quite spectacular, I had to give a miss. "Phillipa. That's about twenty bucks each to get in. Now tell me, do ya think many Jews would hand over twenty bucks to visit a cemetery? Its a moral thing for me. It would be against the very spirit of the Jew, the very essence and fibre of a Jews being, to pay to see a Jewish cemetery. Fuck that.". I aint no schmuck.
The subway stations in Prague are amongst the most visually incredible on earth. Anodised aluminium dimpled panels are coloured differently for each stop. Soviet design at its best. Another Soviet legacy is high on the hill, in a quiet part of town. The Zizkov TV Tower, apart from the lame babies crawling up the side (added in the 1980's), is 216 metres of pure Soviet iconism. Its purpose was rumoured to be jamming incoming western radio and television transmissions. Total number of tourists visiting this sight, including us? Four. It doesn't even appear on the Prague map. Especially not any of the tourist maps. Inside, the restaurant is closed, and the entire structure is manned by one old lady. As we move further into Eastern Europe, I am realising that the locals are not proud, nor impressed, by any of their Soviet-era architecture.
Yes, Prague is another faultless city. The food was great, the locals were friendly, even as they were absolutely drowning in tourists. Photos fail to convey the reality of just how good the old streets look, but I'll try. Enjoy.