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    Ungelt (Tyn Courtyard)

    by sue_stone Written Dec 29, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Although Ungelt (aka Tyn Courtyard) is located just off the Old Town Square, it was a world away….small, stylish and quiet. You will find it hiding behind the Church of our Lady before Tyn.

    Lined with fabulous Baroque and Renaissance Houses, this elegant square has some good restaurants and a couple of friendly cafes. It makes a great place to relax and plan your days itinerary.

    Fondest memory: We returned a couple of times to the Ebel Coffee house for their fab coffee and bagels. And check out the crazy chairs at the Art Shop.

    Ungelt had such a good feel about it…so became one of my favourite things about Prague.

    Nearest metro: Namesti Republiky

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    The Odyssey of a Torah Mantle

    by gilabrand Updated Oct 20, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Framed in gold on the wall of the women’s section of my synagogue in Jerusalem is my personal connection to the Altneushul (“Old-New Synagogue”) in Prague: a rich burgundy-colored velvet mantle that was used to beautify one of the Torah scrolls in the Altneushul hundreds of years ago.

    Torah scrolls contain the first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The text is handwritten on sheets of parchment using a feather quill and black ink. Scribes undergo years of training before they are considered skilled enough for this task. The parchment is stitched together and wrapped around two wooden rollers. When the scroll is not in use – portions of it are read out during religious services - it is “dressed” in a Torah mantle, often made of velvet, and placed in the Holy Ark.

    Fondest memory: The Torah mantle that hangs in my synagogue today was given to my father-in-law when he was in Prague in the 1960s. Prague was under Communist rule, and it was not open to visitors from the West, let alone Israel. But my father-in-law was an acclaimed pediatrician specializing in rheumatic fever, and his advice was sought by hospitals around the world.

    His trip was in the fall, coinciding with the holiday of Sukkot (“Feast of Tabernacles”). On this holiday, the Jews build little booths topped with branches, commemorating the huts that the Israelites lived in while wandering in the desert. In keeping with the custom, the Jews who prayed at the Altneushul built a sukkah in the yard. When my father-in-law arrived, one of the worshippers, hearing that he was a fellow Jew from the Israel, rushed over with great emotion and embraced him with tears in his eyes, like some long lost relative.

    Hanging in the sukkah as a decoration was the remnant of an old velvet Torah mantle. “Here,” said the man, removing the mantle from the wall. “Take this to Jerusalem.” My father-in-law accepted the gift and brought it home to Jerusalem where it lay in a drawer for many years. In the meantime my father-in-law passed away. My mother-in-law was clearing out her drawers and wondered what to do with it.

    On the mantle is a Hebrew inscription embroidered in gold that says: “In honor of the Torah, the girls and the women of our congregation.” Taking that as our cue, we had it framed and found a new home for the Torah mantle from Prague in the women’s section of Ariel Synagogue in Jerusalem.

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    ~ Powder Tower ~

    by Heavens-Mirror Written May 28, 2006

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    Favorite thing: The Powder Tower is one of my favourite monuments in Prague. Just look at the beauty of it.

    Fondest memory: Originally a Gothic city gateway that was part of the fortifications of the Old Town (Stare Mesto). The tower's significance grew at the end of the 14th century, when, on the site where the Municipal House (Obecni dum) stands today, Wenceslas IV had a complex of courtyards constructed in its vicinity, enabling monarchs to enter the city. The tower thus became the starting point of coronation processions.

    In 1475 Matej Rejsek enhanced its appearance with a radical reconstruction. It was given its current name in the 17th century, when the tower served as a storage facility for gunpowder. It was severely damaged during the Prussian siege of 1757, losing practically all of its sculptural adornments.

    In the 1880's Josef Mocker rebuilt it in the spirit of Neo-Gothic purism. It now stands 65 m tall. 186 stone steps lead to a gallery that offers an incredible view of the city. Inside there is a permanent exhibition of Prague's towers as well as a collection of photographs by Ladislav Sitensky. Open daily from 10am till 6pm.

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    INTERIOR OF ST NICHOLAS LESSER TOWN

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 9, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Situated in Lesser Town is ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH is among the leading baroque constructions in Europe and is usually defined as being the most beautiful building of Czech baroque. A number of excellent Baroque artists contributed to the spectacular decor. Rare materials decorated with gilding and rich linings of artificial marble is present in the entire church.
    The church is dominated by the Main nave. Its vault is covered by a fresco by Jan Lukas Kracker, depicting the life of St. Nicholas and dates back to 1760.
    The late baroque organ was built by Tomas Schwarz during 1745 -46.

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    Prague for Kids

    by gilabrand Updated Dec 16, 2004

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    Fondest memory: I took my daughter to Prague when she was 10, and she loved it. We went to all the ordinary attractions, not necessarily for children, but it was fine with her.

    I think kids will particularly enjoy the performers on Charles Bridge and the workshop for marionettes right under the bridge. There is a small toy museum near the castle that we didn't have time to go into, displaying toys that belonged to the princes and princesses.

    In the late afternoon or evening, get tickets for a black theater performance, which is a kind of shadow theater with special lighting effects. No language skills are needed, and the subject matter is less important than the music and the pyrotechnics.

    When we first got to Prague, we hired an open-topped antique 1930s car to take us on an hour's ride around town to get a feel for the place. It wasn't cheap but it was fun. You get a lot of people turning their heads, and for the time being, your kids won't complain that their feet hurt...

    On the second floor of one of the houses on Golden Lane there's a display of knights' armor and gowns worn by the aristocracy. At the end of the corridor is a creepy-looking torture chamber. That was one place my daughter hated. She couldn't wait to leave...

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    GENERAL INFO FOR CANADIANS GOING TO PRAGUE

    by LoriPori Updated Jul 3, 2006

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    Favorite thing: I thought it would be useful for my fellow Canadians to have some information pertaining to them. You never know if it comes in handy.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    Canadian citizens require a valid Canadian passport. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country. Travellers 15 years of age and older must have their own passport. Travellers staying in private accommodations for longer than 30 days must register at the Czech Alien Police Station within three days of arrival. Hotel guests are normally registered by their hotel at check in.

    CANADIAN EMBASSY
    The Canadian Embassy
    Muchova # 6
    Prague, Czech Rapublic
    tel: (420) 27210-1800
    fax: 27210-1890
    http://sss,canada.cz

    HEALTH & MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
    No vaccinations are required. Routine immunizations should be up-to-date ( i.e. tetanus-diphtheria, polio, etc.)
    Good medical care is available. However, doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

    CUSTOMS IMPORT
    Visitors may import 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine. 50g of perfume, gifts up to a value of CZK3,000. Tobacco and alcohol allowances are only for persons over 18 years of age.

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    GENERAL INFO ABOUT PRAGUE & CZECH REPUBLIC

    by LoriPori Updated Oct 27, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Located in central Europe, the CZECH REPUBLIC has boundaries with Poland to the north, Austria to the south, Germany to the west and the Slovak Republic to the east. Tourist facilities are rapidly approaching the level of those found in most European countries. Outside of Prague, these facilities are less developed.

    CLIMATE:
    The Czech Republic experiences all four seasons and has a mixture of oceanic and continental climates with the coastal influences prevailing. Heavy showers are frequent in summer (tell me about it),.

    CURRENCY:
    Czech Korun (crown ) (CZK) =100 haleru.
    Never change money with anyone on the street - it is illegal, the rate of exchange is not much better and you can easily be swindled. ATMS are located throughout Prague. Shops and restaurants, especially in Prague, will accept most major credit cards.

    ELECTRICITY:
    220 volts, 50 cycles. A converter and a plug adapter (plugs have two rounded prongs) is required for us Canadians.

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    FRANZ KAFKA

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 9, 2005

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    Favorite thing: A troubled and enigmatic genius, FRANZ KAFKA was born, brought up, lived and worked in the Old town.
    This tribute to Kafka who died in 1924, is in the Jewish Quarter near the Spanish Synagogue.

    "Prague doesn't let go, either of us. This old town has claws. One has to yield or else. We would have to set fire to it on two sides, at Vysehrad and the Castle: only then would it be possible for us to get away" Franz Kafka

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    HISTORY OF PRAGUE

    by LoriPori Written Aug 30, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Prague has been the center of political, social and cultural activity in the Czech Republic for many centuries.
    PRAGUE is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, It was written about for the first time prior to the year 1000 and even then was the home of Czech princes and kings and the crossroads of Central European history.
    During the years 1918 - 1992, Prague was the capital city of Czechoslovakia and since 1993, it has been the capital city of the Czech Republic. The Prague Castle is currently the office of the President of the Republic

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    ST. JACOB CHURCH ( SV JAKUB )

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Located two blocks east of Old Town Square, past Our Lady Before Tyn isST. JACOB CHURCH or SV JAKUB. Though it was closed when we were there, Hans and I did peer into the window at the entrance to the Church and did see a very lovely interior with its high ceilings and beautiful paintings.
    The accompanying picture is of the beautiful Baroque facade of St. Jacob. It was difficult to get a proper picture of it as there was a narrow street in front of it.

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    TANCICI DUM --- DANCING HOUSE

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 12, 2005

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    Favorite thing: As Hans and I walked along the Vitava River toward the Centrum, we came across this very unusual structure. Known as the fred and ginger house, because it looks like two people dancing, the TANCICI DUM or "DANCING HOUSE " was designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry. I'm not sure if it was an apartment or a commercial building, but it sure was cool and very innovative.

    Located in Praha 2

    NB I have since learned that it is the Prague headquarters of ING, the Dutch Insurance Group.

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    VYSEHRAD --SLAVIN CEMETERY

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Some of the most impressive tombs and mausoleums I have ever seen, can be found in the SLAVIN CEMETERY in VYSEHRAD. At the far end of the cemetery is the Pantheon -- a huge tomb built in 1890 and is dedicated to some of the Czech Republic's most famous figures such as Dvorak and Smetana ( Smetana Hall in the Municipal House is dedicated to him ).

    http://www.slavin.cz/

    Fondest memory: I absolutely loved visiting this wonderful, peaceful place.

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    Giving Peace a Chance - Lennon Wall

    by Ekaterinburg Written Jun 13, 2007

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    Fondest memory: Fans of John Lennon really can't leave Prague without seeing this wall. It's in Mala Strana, just off Na kampe square in fact, so you'll have no problem in finding it. You cross over a really tiny bridge on Hroznova, that takes you off Kampa Island and on to Velkoprevorske namesti, a square which is dominated by Burquoy Palace. Across the road, and in the summer, almost hidden behind the huge leafy trees, is the John Lennon Wall. It's so ordinary, that it's almost an anticlimax and somehow you think that there has to be more than this scruffy graffiti-d wall. It's been here since Lennon's death and apparently the secret police spent hours painting over the messages of love and peace until 1989 when the wall was returned to the Knights of Malta. The Knights weren't very keen on the idea either but eventually with some persuasion they agreed to let it remain as a monument to John Lennon and peace. His face appears in relief and the entire wall is a glorious riot of pyschedelic love and peace.

    If you're still hanging on to a little 60's nostalgia, this could make you a little teary-eyed. 'All we are saying, is Give Peace a Chance'. Those were the days !!

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    VYSEHRAD

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 9, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Within walking distance from our apartment, as we were in Praha 2, is the amazing area known as VYSEHRAD. Making up Vysehrad is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Slavin Cemetery, and beautiful grounds surrounding the Church.
    Founded in 1869 "Vysehrad" is the final resting place to some of the Czech Republic's most famous figures.

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    THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE

    by LoriPori Updated Aug 30, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Built from 1905 - 1912, THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE is where the concerts take place. It is the most significant building representing Art Nouveau style in Prague. The concert halls of the Municipal House are popular for its excellent acoustics and wonderful Art Nouveau interior decorated by the best Czech artists of the 20th century.
    At the time we were there, the concert of Bohemia String Orchestra were playing. The Orchestra is a group of gifted and experienced musicians.

    Municipal House is located on Republiky 5, Praha 1

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