INTRODUCTION

These days Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a popular destination for  weekend partying but there is much more to it than that.

It is an ancient city with a long and sometimes tragic history.

This is a short exploration of the city's martyrdom, hubris, whimsy and tragedy.

 

Click on the headings on the right for more information.

Introduction

St John of Nepomuk (c1345-1393) was killed on the orders of Wenceslas IV for refusing to divulge the queen's confessions.

His martyrdom (after being tortured he was thrown from Charles Bridge to drown in the River Vitava below) is depicted on a relief beneath his statue on the bridge.

It is thought that touching the plaque brings good luck.

Martyrdom

In the 1950s a massive monument to Stalin was built in Letna Park above the city but it is long gone.

In its place skateboarders now practice their skills and overhead hang a line of shoes.

Hubris

The Žižkov Television Tower built towards the end of the communist era, stands in the Žižkov region.

Today it includes some of the sculptor David Černý's work, "Tower Babies".

Other examples of his work, sometimes whimsical but always thought provoking,
can be found across the city.

Whimsy

From the end of WW2 until 1989 Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule.

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism at the bottom of Petřín hill includes the inscription:

"The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism"

Tragedy