Located in St. Giles Church, in a glass case, is Saint Martin De Porres, a dark skinned man, who was born in Peru in 1579 as an illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black woman who was a freed slave. Sadly, because of his skin colour, his father refused to take care of him and he was dependent on his mother.
In 1586, he entered the Dominican convent in Lima as a lay brother. This was a very unusual occurrence, as a mulatto usually wasn't taken into a religious order in Peru, how-ever, Martín was considered an exception and became a Dominican lay brother in 1610. He was known and noted for his work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital caring for the sick during an epidemic and for setting up a shelter for dogs and cats. He had amazing ability to communicate with animals and also performed many miraculous cures on people.
St. Martin was placed in charge of an infirmary when he was 34, this was where he stayed until he died of Typhoid at the age of 59.
He was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized by Pope John XXIII.
Saint Martin De Porres is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony.
This is one of his miracles, known as "St. Martin and the Mice!"
The story is quite famous.
Mice had infested the Monastery's linen Robes, so they had to be rid of! The Monk's wanted to poison them, but St. Martin didn't, instead, he caught a Mouse...............
And he said to the Mouse.... "Little brothers, why are you and your companions doing so much harm to the things belonging to the sick? Look, I shall not kill you, but you are to assemble all your friends and lead them to the far end of the garden. Everyday I will bring you food if you leave the wardrobe alone.
........Where-upon Martín lead a Pied Piper-like mouse parade toward a small new den. Both the mice and Martín kept their word, and the closet infestation was solved for good"
I found this story interesting and the details of his life very interesting!
Now I know why he is shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish.
DID YOU KNOW
The music video for the song "Like a Prayer" by pop singer Madonna features a saint inspired by Martin de Porres.
St. Giles is open to the public from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm daily
The Adria Palace is a huge building that will make you stop in your tracks and have a look at the style of architecture known as Rondocubsim, (Czech Cubist style using arcs.) It was very different to what I had seen elsewhere in Prague.
The original Palace was built in the second half of the 14th century. This was demolished and a new Palace that covers an area of over 2,000 square meters, was built between 1923/24.
Looking at it, I could see resemblance to Italian Renaissance palaces I had seen photo's of.
The ground floor has large glassed windows and is used by businesses. The terrace leading to Narodni Trida, is decorated with marble statues of girls and the portal to Jungmannova Street has a pair of marble statues of Mariner and Reaper. The second floor façade is also decorated with neoclassical marble sculptures bigger than life of Merkur, Perun, Demeter and Park.
At the centre of the facade is a neo-classicist metal Adria sculpture sitting on a ledge.
The sculpture was created in 1927 and is believed to be the biggest galvanoplastic statue in the world, as its technology is unique. It was made in a special institute in Geislingen, Germany, is 5 meters high and weighs 3-4 tons.
The Clock in the hall is decorated with sculptures of Day and Night, Sun and Moon, and 12 sculptures of the zodiac.
The City of Prague are now the owners of this building.
The Lego Museum is a privately run Museum that covers three floors.
I didn't call in, but if I had children with me, I would have taken them to see the Museum, the largest in the Czech Republic and in the world. What a collection, over 2500 unique models and 20 thematic exhibitions. See models of Ships, Knights, Space-ships, Death Star, Magic, Historical monuments, Trains and other forms of transport and much more.
Afterwards, buy some Lego from the Shop.
ADMISSION TO THE MUSEUM.
Pensioners 200 CZK
Students 150 CZK
Children 130 CZK
Photography 20 CZK
OPEN 365 days every day from 10 - 8pm
I had been walking along Husova street when I came across the junction of Betlemske Namesti. I walked along this street a little way and found a smallish square where the Bethlehem Chapel was situated and some beautiful buildings. One building had a golden statue which looked like a saint, a fresco at the top of the building and a row of faces, each above a window. This building was used as an Art Gallery.
Another building, just a few steps further on, was the Narodni Museum, once used as a brewery and distillery. Today, the Museum has exhibitions on America, the cultures of Australia and Oceania and the Indonesian Island of Nias which include ethnographic and artistic artefacts.
The Museum is mainly informative about non-European culture.
Monday: closed Tuesday/Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM Wednesday: 9 AM–6 PM
ADULTS: 80 CZK
Reduced: 50 CZK seniors (over 60 years), disabled persons, children 6–15 years old
Family: 130 CZK (max. 2 adults, 3 children)
The outside wasn't anything, but the inside was "jaw-dropping," for the interior was Baroque with many elaborate stuccoes and ceiling frescoes.
The main altar is breath-taking! It's adorned with polished gold relics centred around an image of the crucifixion. The Church has marble spiral columns and intricate wood-carvings and a 3500 reed-pipe organ from 1757. The Organ is one of the biggest classical Organ's in Prague, and is decorated with Baroque wood-carvings.
If you want to hear it, then come to one of the Classical concerts that are held in the church throughout the year.
FOR MOVIE BUFFS........ Mozart´s wedding scene was filmed at St. Giles for the film Amadeus.
St. Giles is open to the public from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm daily
Mass daily in Czech at 6:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 9:30 a.m.,
St. Jilji was founded in 1238, then remodelled by Dominican monks between 1340-1370. In the 14th century, the Church was reconstructed so much, that it completely wiped out the original character of the church. This was a parish church, then from 1625, with the exception of the communist era, became a monastery church of the neighbouring Dominican convent.
The Church once had two steeples of the same height. The north Steeple was damaged during a strong hail storm, lightning struck the church and set fire to the Steeple. The frame with its slated roof burned out and the blaze melted the suspended bells. The same lightning killed a woman in front of the main altar, who was praying for her drowned husband, an Old Town fisherman.
A temporary roof replaced the steeple - it is still there today!
Well, this very plain Church really didn't beckon me inside, I just went in to see if the inside was better than the outside, to my surprise, it was!
More on the inside in next review.
Prague was full of surprises!
In Husova street was another one! Looking up, I saw some poor fellow hanging onto a beam with only one hand! He has been dangling above the street since 1997, and hasn't fallen yet!
Thank- goodness it is just a fiberglass statue created by David Cerny.
It is known as “the intellectual at the end of the millennium”.
I'm walking Karlova street and have come across a Burgher house with a beautiful Baroque façade.
The house basements date to the 14th century and the building has been completely reconstructed several times. At the moment, the Baroque appearance from 1769 is still there.
It's decorated beautifully around each window on the front façade. In the middle you can find gilded medallion with Our Lady and infant Jesus in a star. Above the star is a pair of angels bearing a crown and under it is a pair of lions, to the left is St. Wenceslas, on the right, St. John of Nepomuk. The first floor has St. Sebastian and St. Rochus, and the third floor St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Charles Borromeo. Above the window on the third floor is St. Rosalia.
These days, this building is known by another name - Hotel Aurus, a family run four star Hotel that is UNESCO listed. There are only 8 rooms, all have antique furniture and some the original hand painted ceilings. From the photo's on the website, it looks quite attractive on the inside too!
If you do happen to come by car, there is a supervised car park approx 5 minutes walk from the hotel.
Situated on Karlova street, it's just a short walk to the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge (5mins from the hotel) and the Prague Castle (20-minute from the hotel).
Karlova street is very different these days, to when Royal processions would come down this very same street between the 16th & 18th centuries.
Today, this is a very busy tourist street, as it's here where you find lots of souvenir shops that sell the cheap type of gifts, like T-shirts, Baseball caps, even Russian nesting dolls, I wondered what these had to do with Prague! I did manage to find a shop selling unique glass souvenirs, even a whole Orchestra.
I entered Karlova street form the Square of the Knights of the Cross by Charles Bridge and followed it to the Old Town Square.
I had previously read to be aware of pick-pockets here - I had no trouble at all!
Just a short distance from the Old Town Bridge Tower, is what was once known as "Potting Palace," now known as Unitarian Palace .
Two originally Gothic houses were restyled in Renaissance architecture, then were joined together in 1726 and are now Baroque! I stopped here, as I liked the portal with the Coat of Arms of a Count and his wife.
Since 1924 the house has been owned by a religious society of the Unitarians, a Church I hadn't heard of or even seen in my home country, perhaps there are, I don't know!
I wanted to know more about this religion.
I found they are different to other Churches, in that the parishioners are not told what to believe, They believe that every person should be encouraged to develop their own personal theology, to present their religious opinions without fear or reprisal, and take responsibility for their own spiritual journey.
Perhaps their rooms are upstairs, because also at this location, is the Ta Fantastika Black Light Theatre! The Theatre was operating because I saw the notice-boards inside the door displaying what performances were coming up!
If you wish to know more about the Church, check out their website. http://pragueunitarians.com/
At the Golden Apple also has another name - Kokysl House.
It was quite a big, attractively decorated building. I understand four old buildings were joined together to make one large.
During the 16th and 17th centuries this house underwent renovation, this was when the portals facing Husova street were added. The lovely Baroque appearance, is from the first half of the 18th century.
I read it has Gothic cellars and a late Gothic portal in the entry hall.
At the Golden Serpent is also known as Brandenburg House.
It was quite hard to get a photo of this late Gothic house that has been rebuilt in Renaissance style and has Baroque and Classicist adaptations.
It's believed, the owner of this house "Deodatus Dajamanus," was the first person to sell coffee in Prague. Interesting is that he used to dress in an Oriental outfit and stand in front of his house trying to sell coffee. Imagine this - He had a hot coal container and a kettle on the top of his head, held small cups and sugar in his hands, and all the time was trying to convince people walking by to try the "exotic" cup of Coffee!
Well, he was a very successful selling his coffee out the front of his house, so in 1914 he opened probably the first coffee house in Prague, in the House at the Three Ostriches in the Lesser Town.
At the Golden Serpent is the bright red building in Karlova street
Next to St. James Church is the entrance to the Minorite Monastery. The door into the Monastery has the inscription - 1665. The wooden door is nicely carved with figures of Minorite's patron - St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua and is quite a valuable piece of the building.
Located at 22/24 Karlova street, is another beautifully decorated building. In the centre of the façade, is a woman in gold with Birds by her side.
Who was she?
It turns out it was Princess Libuse, some-one I did not know. Princess Libuse was a Slavic Princess, a woman of beauty & wisdom who possessed prophetic powers. She married a ploughman named Premysl, and together they started the Premyslid dynasty that would rule for 400 long years.
Princess Libuse and her husband, Prince Premysl, ruled the Czech lands from Vysehrad. According to legend, one day she stood on a cliff overlooking the River Vltava, and pointed to a forested hill across the river, and proclaimed "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." She gave orders for a Castle to be built and to name it Praha. She is said to have founded the city of Prague during the 8th century.
So the statue is remembering an important Princess or as she is known "The mother of Prague." The statue is an exact replica of the original.
Clam-Gallas Palace is known as a Baroque pearl and as one of the most beautiful Palaces in Prague.
The name of the Palace intriqued me, so I just had to find out how it came about.
It turns out the Palace was built for the Count of Gallas. Unfortunately, the Gallas family died out in 1757, so the Palace was left to Kristian Filip of Clam, the son of Gallas's sister, so the two names were joined together resulting in Clam-Gallas.
The Palace is built in the style of Viennese Baroque architecture, and is decorated with a pair of Giants statues by both portals of the palace.
The inside sounds marvellous! Imagine the Marble Hall, the former dance hall decorated with mirrors and crystal chandeliers, a place where balls were organized and important guest's like W. A. Mozart and his wife were among guests. Ludwig van Beethoven played a concert in this hall and he also dedicated some little musical pieces to the Clam-Gallas family.
Now, the Clam-Gallas Palace twice a year holds a series of authentic historical Baroque concerts.
The winter concerts are held inside the palace in the first half of February. The summer concerts are held from mid-August to early September outside in the courtyard.
Opera Barocca performs in the palace in the evenings.
As far as I know, this is the only way to see the inside of the Palace.