Day 7: Prague – Stověžatá Praha

by Zack on August 11, 2010

I’ve never been to Prague. And I’m not prone to making snap judgements about cities I’ve spent less than 24 hours in. I mean, I’ve been here a day, how can I tell Prague from Milwaukee, WIsconsin – another city I’ve never been to, but which I hear has a propensity for grilled sausage, sauerkraut and beer, just like Prague. I mean, you can’t really tell anything about a town until you spend weeks, months, even years there.

That being said, Prague is fucking beautiful. Excuse the profanity, but that’s just how beautiful this city is. With some striking contrasts between East and West, North and South, it’s transition between late Renaissance and Gothic style, Prague really seems like an artist’s palette of European architecture.

And the beauty is only emphasized by Prague’s geographical layout. With the Vltava River cutting through the center, and hills rising up to the West, Prague makes the perfect place for sunsets and river walks.

Perhaps a bit romantic for Mike and I, we still wasted no time checking into our kolej* and heading out for some evening shooting. Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge and the Vltava River are perfect places to shoot b-roll, as we quickly found out.

One of the reasons, I’ve heard, that Prague remains so beautiful is that it largely escaped the field of battle and the destruction that comes with it during World War II. For this reason, Prague also has one of the largest, in tact, old Jewish neighborhoods in Europe (and probably the world). With multiple Synagogs, Shuls and a cemetery dating back centuries, the city is the perfect place to give us some context on what life was like for Europe’s Jews throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But more on that tomorrow, Monday, day 7 of our journey and our first in Prague, is almost over. We traveled quite a distance, from Berlin to Prague, lugged our baggage across town, checked into a Kulej and hit the streets for some late shooting. We’re done now, and it’s time for some typical Czech cuisine, Goulash, Dumplings and Staropraman beer are on the menu.

*Kolej literally means college but can also be used as dorm. Mike and I are staying in what amounts to a public dormitory. Think a hostel with less charisma and less of a party atmosphere. Kolej’s also seemed to have escaped the attention of American backpackers, as the one we are staying at – in a very central location – seems to be almost entirely Europeans.

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