OLD TOWN CLOCK, JEWISH GHETTO & MISERABLE WAITERS

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
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277
320
Trip End Sep 02, 2009


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21, Tuesday

Back on tram 17 this morning, now it seems quite easy to make our way around. We go the other direction today and end up in the main old town square.

We have a look at Beautiful St. Nicholas Church.  This threw us for a moment realizing there are 2 churches of the same name.  This one at the Old Town Square was completed in 1735. It replaced a parish church, mentioned in records dating back as early as 1273.  It wasn't until 1901.  It has the most beautiful chandelier that looks like a crown.  There is also a statue of St. George slaying a dragon.  He was a popular chap all over the world.

We crossed the square to see the Prague Astronomical Clock.  Only recently it was proven that it was made in the year 1410. It was constructed by the clockmaker Mikulas of Kadan in collaboration with Jan Ondrejuv called Sindel, professor of mathematics and astronomy of Prague Charles University.  It moves on the hour, there is the skeleton of death from whom the bell toles, the 12 apostles who appear in the 2 little windows and the cock that crows (only once) at the top.  On the bottom part is the cycle of twelve medallions of the months and the same number of medallions of zodiacal signs, added many years later.

There is a huge crowd to watch the clock, the crowd is on the main road and believe it or not a car tries to come through, with people getting mad at him and also at the horse and carriage coming along behind.  Silly people, they know what happens each day on the hour – hoards of people come here.

We are now into the Jewish Quarters or Ghetto as it was called.  This area has been in existence since the early times of Prague when all the Jewish people had to live together in the same area.  I tour the Jewish Museum or the Maisel Synagogue, it is interesting, some old documents, chests, Torah protectors, pointers, crowns, and curtains.  No pictures in here and yet everyone was taking pictures.

We then went to the Spanish Synagogue, this is very beautiful inside, the pictures speak for themselves.  Upstairs there is the exhibition, History of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia from Emancipation to the Present.  It was interesting how they asked for and got to store most of their silver synagogue pieces during the war, with the permission of the German Army, and got it back after the war.

Next was the Pinkas Synagogue where all the names of Czech Jews, who died during the Second World War, are written on all the walls, also the Jewish settlements that were destroyed.

From here you exit into the Old Jewish Cemetery.  The cemetery was established in the early 15th century, along with the Old-New Synagogue it is one of the most important surviving monuments in Prague's Jewish Town.  The oldest tombstone of poet and scholar Avigdor Kara is dated 1439.  There are just under 12,000 tombstones but the number of persons buried here is much greater.

Next was the Klausen Synagogue, dated from 1689.  This was not only the largest  synagogue, but also served as Prague’s Burial Society.  This houses the Jewish Customs and Traditions of the synagogue and of festivals, and the everyday life of the Jewish family and customs connected with birth, circumcision, bar mitzvah, wedding, divorce and the Jewish household and burial customs.  It was small in size but all very interesting.

I ended up exiting somewhere far from where Len sat waiting for me at the entrance so now I had to find my way back to the entrance to find him.  Frustrating for me.

We look for a place to eat and stop at a little café and go over the menu.  Len asks the waiter what are potato dumplings, he just looks at us and says potato dumplings are potato dumplings and shrugs his shoulders.  We leave.

We go back to the main square to a restaurant we seen when we first came there.  We sit down and wait to be served, finally I wave at a waitress.  A water comes over and waves his hand at us and tells us if we are in a hurry to go to McD’s.  I was just floored at his comment, especially since he probably had no idea at how long we had been sitting there.  We ordered and get our food.  Len’s fried cheese and chips weren’t really hot, my chocolate milk shake was like chocolate milk.  We finished and when we went to pay the waiter tried to talk to us about the waving again.  When I slowly said to him 'you had not idea how long we were sitting there and you were more interested in clearing tables than serving us’ it went over his head, or he chose not to understand what I was saying.   Their potato pancakes weren’t as good as the ones in Krakow, they had spices and some seeds in them. 

We walked through the square and down to the river and along it to the National Theatre Building.  We tried to find a way in but it isn’t open.

We are right close to the #17 tram so we hop on and catch a ride back to the campground. 

Len made a delicious super of hot dogs.  It looks like it might be a nice evening and a little warmer than last night.  It is dark by 10 now so it is early to bed.
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