Prague: Land of Defenestration

defenestration

diːfɛnɪˈstreɪʃ(ə)n
noun
  1. formal humorous
    the action of throwing someone out of a window.
    “death by defenestration has a venerable history”

has a venerable history… in Prague. At least, according to my all-knowledgeable tour guide.

There have been more than a couple of very famous deaths by defenestration in Prague. One time a pack of enraged Protestants, who were being oppressed by the Catholics at the time, stormed the Prague Castle. They found the highest ranking Catholic officials of church, and proceeded to throw them out the window of a couple story high building.

SPLAT

Oh they made a splat alright, but it wasn’t their bodies hitting rock and becoming pancakes like you’d think. The splat was the sound of their landing in a giant pile of horse manure. Without the horse poop, the priests surely would have died. Holy shit, that’s some holy shit. Am I right????

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Prague Castle has so many appealing looking windows…

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Likely where the angry mob found the priests

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There have been so many deaths by defenestration in fact, that there’s a superstition in Prague: They say you’re never supposed to attend a party that’s not on the ground floor or in the basement, because you never know what enemies could be lurking near the windowsills, just waiting to push you over the edge.

Prague is a land of story tales and myths, defenestration being one of the factual ones. Prague’s history is filled with many extravagant and far fetched tales. In one story, a princess dreams of her perfect, future husband who lives in the countryside, is wearing one shoe, and even dreams of his name (let’s call him Steve cause I don’t remember his name). She tells her soldiers to go to the countryside, find the man plowing his fields, wearing one shoe, and who is named Steve (and is a total hottie). So the soldiers set out to appease this crazy chick. And who do they find? A one-shoed, beautiful hunk working the land named Steve.

I wish I could make that happen. Like hey peasants, I dreamed of a shirtless man with perfect abs that was singing “We’re All In This Together” named Zac Efron. Please go retrieve him for me.

Over time, tall tales have been added to Prague’s history, just like graffiti has been added to the John Lennon wall. This wall is filled with John Lennon and peace-inspired art and sayings. It’s ever changing, and when I found it there was a proposal written on the wall! Maybe the peasants did find Zac for me after all…

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Prague said it, not me.
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Hmu Zac Efron

The John Lennon wall was super cool, and the Astronomical Clock was… let’s say underwhelming. When not taken into context that is. Every hour on the hour, everyone gathers to watch the clock show, expecting fire breathing dragons or aliens or something. This clock wasn’t built in the 21st century people, it’s hundreds of years old.

But when you learn more about it, it actually is really cool. This clock keep tracks of time and the cycle of the moon. And every hour, little figures at the top of clock do a little routine, and a rooster cuckoos. Pretty impressive for something so old.

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Legend has it that the ruler of Prague loved the clock so much, that he never wanted any other city to have one like it. So naturally, instead of pay off the clock-maker and make him a valued citizen of Prague, he had to find a way to never let him share his secrets. So the city threw a dinner party in his honor, and got the clock-maker very drunk. Once he was belligerent, they cut out his tongue and burned his eyes out with a fire-poker. What a great way to say thanks for his services.

Prague, the city itself, seemed like it belonged in a fairy tale. All of the colorful buildings and streets packed with slow-paced tourists reminded me a lot of Disney World. Everything was picturesque:

the buildings

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the parks

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the bridges

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Anyone else with OCD tendencies REALLLLYYYYY bothered by this bridge too? It’s uneven…

the views

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the… peacocks?

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Peacocks sound a lot like Kevin the bird from the movie Up when they make their extraterrestrial sounding screeching noise. Another Disney connection. Coincidence? I think not.

There were even delicious, extremely unhealthy street treats like Disney World. These chimney cakes ares called Trdelniks, and are dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with anything from Nutella to ice cream. I had my fair share of turtlenecks while in Prague. I did my best to butcher the pronunciation as much as possible.

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Prague is almost Disney World, with its tall tales and technicolor-ed birds. Unfortunately, the dream of a real life Disney World is never attainable. This time, the dream was ruined by none other than possibly the worst human in history: Adolf Hitler.

The now beautiful Jewish section of town used to be a ghetto during World War II. Like in the rest of Europe, Jews were trapped in their neighborhoods, stripped of their rights, and rounded up and sent to concentration camps. All horrible events, but there was something especially creepy happening in Prague.

Hitler loved Prague. He thought it was great city, which is part of the reason why it was never really bombed during the war. Most of the buildings are original, including Jewish synagogues. Generally, the Nazis would destroy religious buildings during the extermination of the Jews, but not here. Not in Prague.

Hitler commanded that all buildings related to Judaism be saved. He planned to create a museum of the “Extinct Race” in Prague. Super freaking creepy, I know.

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The only good thing that came of that is you can still see original and beautiful synagogues in Prague. A lot of them have been turned into Holocaust museums and memorials, and are open to the public.

Between stories and truth, Prague has quite the dark history. It makes for a very interesting visit in one of the most beautiful cities. Prague is my favorite city (other than Sevilla of course) that I have visited so far.

 

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