I Woke up in Prague: All Limbs Human

This city is giving me Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” vibes.

I knew something Kafkaesque had to happen on this trip.

After traveling 4 thousand miles, we learned that Prague Orloj was under repair.

Mounted in the Old Town Hall, the medieval astronomical clock is the world’s oldest still in operation.

The mechanism is beautifully complex, and legend has it that mayhem will fall upon the city if the clock cannot function properly.

Prague Astronomical Clock

Luckily, there’s not a shortage of sights in this gorgeous Eastern European city (mostly) spared by air raid bombings in WW2.

Just a glance around Old Town Square will treat you with precious landmarks, including the Gothic Church of Our Lady and the statue of Jan Hus.

Powder Tower, Prague

From Old Town Square, a 6-minute walk will take you to the Gothic Powder Tower.

The Tower connects the Old Town to the Lesser Quarter through the Charles Bridge across the Vltava River.

The medieval bridge has witnessed floods, revolts and occupations during its prolonged existence

It is also the site of religious statues, including St. Ivo, St. Francis of Assisi and (a rather interesting one) “The Crucifix and Calvary.”

Statuary of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, Charles Bridge, Prague

A prime example of Medieval European antisemitism, the golden Hebrew text on the crucifix was added in 1696 as a punishment for blasphemy charges against Jewish politician Elias Backoffen. 

The statue was a good reminder to turn towards the Old Town and visit Josefov, Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter

Jewish Museum, Prague

Jews were forced to resettle in this ghetto beginning in the 13th century.

During the Nazi occupation, Hitler decided to preserve the area as a “Museum of an Extinct Race.”

The Jewish Quarter is also the birthplace of the legendary Bohemian Jewish novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka.

Statue of Franz Kafka, Prague

It is more than fitting that a Franz Kafka bronze statue by Czech artist Jaroslav Róna stands here since 2003.

The artwork depicts the author riding on the shoulders of a headless figure, which references the 1912 story “Description of a Struggle.”

Vltava River, Prague

Back in the Lesser Quarter, we strolled the beautiful streets, full of charming cafes, restaurants and random antique automobiles parked on picturesque corners.

Lesser Quarter, Prague

We hopped on the Prague Metro to get to the New Town, where a system of modern cable cars contrasted the cobblestoned streets.

In 1996, the Dancing House, known as “Fred and Ginger” (after American entertainers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), was built.

Standing on the location of a house destroyed by the US bombing of Prague in 1945, it houses corporate offices, a hotel and condominium apartments.

Dancing House, Prague

Last but not least, we visited the magnificent Prague Castle.

Built in the 9th century as a church and convent, subsequent monarchs fortified it.

After a fire and a period in which it remained vacant, the building was rebuilt in Renaissance style—only to be dilapidated and looted in subsequent revolts and invasions. 

In 1918, it became a presidential palace for the new Czechoslovak Republic.

Adolf Hitler himself spent a night after the Nazi occupation—followed by a period in which it served as the headquarters of the Reich. 

In 1948, the Castle housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government.

In 1993, after it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Castle became the seat of the Head of State of the new Czech Republic. 

Prague Castle

The world’s largest ancient castle also houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels.

According to a popular legend, usurpers who place the Bohemian crown on their heads are cursed with imminent death.

Reinhard Heydrich, the Reich “Protector” of Bohemia and Moravia during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in WW2, ignored the warning.

Less than a year later, Slovak and Czech resistance fighters ambushed and killed him on his way to the castle.



Author: Alex Marin

Natural-born explorer and storyteller. I grew up in Caracas and moved to New York City 20 years ago to pursue a career in media, which led me to work with broadcasting and tech companies. Last year, one month into my dream job with a famous social network, I had a significant health event that forced me to learn how to walk again. And now I'm training for the New York Marathon. All the words and photos in this blog are mine. You can reach me at videotravelalex@gmail.com. Cheers!

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