Sep 22, 20:14 (Filed under: Outside Prague )
If you already saw everything you wanted to see in Prague and you also visited such Czech turistic highlights as Kutna Hora or Cesky Krumlov, you may take a trip to Mlada Bolaslav. This city is not a typical place visited by many foreign tourists. But it is close to Prague and a visit there gives you an option to see how it looks in other places in the Czech Republic, beside those very turisticaly popular ones.
You can get there easily by bus, either from the bus station situated by Metro station Florenc (both red and yellow line) or by Metro station Cerny most (red line). Travel time is around one hour. It is also possible to go by train, which takes a bit longer, but someone might find travelling by train more comfortable or romantic.
Mlada Boleslav is famous mostly as a town where popular Czech cars Skoda are made since 1895. Because of this fact is sometimes called as “a town of cars“. If you are into cars, then you can visit here the Skoda Car Museum (Skoda auto muzeum). There are exhibited both old and new types of cars, engines, photographs… there.
But in Mlada Boleslav, there are also other places of interest. For example renaissance city hall with a tower from which is nice view on the town or an old castle now used as a history museum. Then there is the unique former Hussite Chapel, built in renaissance style, now used for concerts and as an exhibition hall (half or the permanent exhibition is dedicated to avant-garde Czech-Jewish painter and poet Frantisek Gellner, who was born in Mlada Boleslav, the other half is dedicated to Czech painter Ludek Malasek, who also lived in this town).
Those who are interested in modern architecture should take a look on some of Jiri Kroha´s work. This famous Czech architecture designed some constructivist buildings for Mlada Boleslav in interwar period. The dynamic building of technical school is the most interesting one of them.
And if you eventually get tired of all that cars, monuments and architecture, you can relax in a huge forest park called Stepanka, located very close to the city centre.
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Sep 15, 14:21 (Filed under: Outside Prague )
Last week I’ve visited a concert on the island. It was a Czech band, “Sto zvirat”, a fast-paced, feel-good kind of music, strongly inspired by ska, though there is an influence of the music sung in Czech pubs as well as pop music or big beat. Anyone interested in these should be able to enjoy their shows. The lyrics are in Czech, but, frankly, the lyrics are not the main, nor the strongest part of their music, which relies rather on energetic, well- handled rhythmic play and catchy melodies.
The idea of having a concert on a Prague island (this one being the largest) is a pretty good one. It’s not only large and capable of hosting a large number of visitors, it also offers impressive sights, placing the listener in the middle of the river Vltava, with the city centre almost within the reach of a hand. No wonder it’s popular with actions of this kind: it’s the main body of the annual United Islands of Prague concert series. There’s also a smaller-scale tradition of film shows, supplied by the “Kinematograf of the Čadík Brothers” (this being a translation, not an official name). It usually shows semi-independent and generally more interesting films than the mainstream production offers, the projections being held at night (around ten PM), among the shining sights of the city and its river, covered with reflections of the many lights of the night- time Prague.
The only drawback concerning the concerts is the fact there’s no way of reducing the noise produced during the shows. The result is that these are restricted by the 22:00 deadline, which, of course, does not apply to music clubs.
A quick mention of its history: first mentioned in the 12th century, it changed hands several times until sold to the Old town magistrates in 1472. Its name is inspired by its common use- it served as a shooting range for city guards. It was always a somewhat strategic place, often being a base of resistance to intruders trying to reach the Old Town. Its ceremonial-friendly position became more apparent in the later years.
The island lies halfway between the National theatre and Újezd, connecting these places with the Legion brigde (Most legii). For further information see www.strelak.cz.
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Aug 28, 12:15 (Filed under: Outside Prague )
If you already got to know Prague quite well, and you would like to see also other parts of the Czech Republic, one of the places you could visit might be Litomysl.
Litomysl is a really nice Moravian town with a number of touristically attractive sites. It is famous as a birthplace of Czech music composer Bedrich Smetana and also as a town where a big music festival called in his honour „Smetanova Litomysl“ (Smetana´s Litomyšl) takes place. The only disadvantage for you might be the fact that it is not that close to Prague. The best (and the most fast) way how to get there from Prague is by car, although you can of course also use a train or a bus. But as far there is not any direct train from Prague to Litomysl, the best possibility is to take a fast train to Chocen and from there a train which goes to Litomysl, but the journey by train from Prague will take over 2,5 hours.
Town of Litomysl is amazing. In the centre is a long main square, which is consisted of buildings with high historical value. So you can just stroll for a while on the square and surrounding streets. When you will get enough of it, there are some nice restaurants and coffee places, where you can eat, drink and rest. But the square is not of course the only place to be seen here. You should not miss out a visit to Litomysl chateau, which is written into UNESCO list of cultural and natural heritage.
Other place, which is definitely worth visiting there, is the Vachal´s Portmoneum – the museum of Josef Váchal. This building used to be a house of a clerk and printer Josef Porman, who asked Vachal to decorate the interiors of the house in 1920. Josef Vachal was a very distinctive Czech artist, who decorated these walls as well as the furniture with phantastigue and highly original motives. In Litomysl you can also find Vachal Street (in the town centre), which is dedicated to him and part of this street is decorated with sgraffito copies of woodcuts he made.
Other places of interest in Litomysl are the Museum of antique sculptures and architecture, which is situated close to the chateau, then there is an old church of Elevation of the Holy Cross in Šantovo Square. Next to the church are so called Convent Gardens, which have in theirs middle a fountain decorated with sculptures by Czech 20th century famous sculptor Olbram Zoubek.
Litomysl is definitely a place, which is worth visiting, if you do not mind a bit of necessary travelling to get there.
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