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Czech Republic Trip Pictures from July 20 to 22, 2012 and July 25 to 30, 2012

To proceed to Czech Republic Journal.

Our Route through CZECH REPUBLIC. Covered approx. 2640km with the Toyota Landcruiser.

July 20, 2012. From Leipzig, our home base at the time, it is only a three (3) hour drive to PRAGUE.

We arrive in the evening and our first stop is the Old Town Hall.

The Town Hall is famous for its astronomical clock and...

...of course it provides an excellent 360Degree view...

...over Prague and...

and the town square (Staromestske Namesti).

Close by we end up at the U Zlate Konvice for a litre of Pilsner beer (of course).

The restaurant is located in a 14th century cellar, with Roman and Gothic vaults.

The lounge displays mural paintings of beheaded Czech lords.

We enjoyed some traditional Czech disches,...

...consisting of goulash and dumplings.

The live entertainment added to the excellent atmosphere.

Just as we are leaving the big fireplace is being lit.

Some desert to finish off the nice meal.

How else should the night end then with fireworks, which we could enjoy from our room at the Aureus Clavis.

July 21, 2012. To get some night and sunrise shots of Prague...

...we got out of bed at 3am in the morning.

We are surprised of how many people are still about at that time of night/morning.

We wander across the Charles Bridge and through the streets of Stare Mestro.

Many houses have painted decorations. This is the famous Storch House designed bz Mikolas Ales.

The old town entrance through the Powder Gate.

Each street is lined with historic buildings...

...and with the old street lights giving the area a unique feel.

Dawn and we are hanging out at the Charles Bridge.

The Black and White pictures bring out more of the detail of the architecture.

The Charles bridge was built by Peter Parler for Charles IV in 1357.

It spans across the Vltava River.

We had the perfect sky for the sunrise and almost no people.

Many statues line the Charles Bridge. This is the Crucifix from 1629.

For 200 years this crucifix stood alone on the bridge.

Through the Stare Mesto Bridge Tower this amazing view opens up.

The Stare Mesto Bridge Tower is Gothic and designed by Peter Parler.

The Clementinum.

Many of the statues are actually copies of the original to protect them from the environment.

The Stare Mesto Bridge Tower and in the foreground the Status of Madonna and St. Bernard, 1709.

This picture could be taken in the middle ages. The status is of Madonna, St. Dominic and St. Thomas, 1708.

St. Anne, 1707.

View of the Vltava River.

St. Francis Borgia, 1710.

The St. Luitgard Statue, 1710 and in the background the Mala Strana Bridge Tower.

The Bridge Towers (Judith Bridge Tower on the left and Mala Strana Bridge Tower on the right) with the Praque Castle in the background.

We head from the bridge up the hill toward the Prague Castle.

The Church of St. Nicholas is just 50m from our hotel.

The Baroque style church with its curving facade. We decide to visit the inside after exploring the Prague castle.

The Prague Castle dominates an amazing view...

...with its highlight being the St. Vitus's Cathedral.

The stained windows depict scenes from biblical stories.

The detail and colors are stunning.

Gothic Vaulting throughout the Cathedral.

The following eight pictures show the grandness of the place.

St. George's Basilica & Convent.

The Golden Lane, which are artisans' cottages along the inisde of the castle wall.

The columns and decorations are wall paintings. A very realistic illusion...

...which is carried up all the way to the ceiling.

Replicas of Gargoyles that can be found on the St. Vitus's Cathedral.

One last look at the St. Vitus's Cathedral and it s Renaissance bell tower.

The Old Royal Palace has many fine Gothic and Renaissance halls.

The room of the New Land Rolls are...

...covered in coats of arms.

The Church of St. Nicholas and its High Altar.

Altar Paintings.

The Church is a masterpiece of father-and-son architects Christoph and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.

A copper statue of St. Nicholas by Ignaz Platzer surmounts the high altar.

The Celebration of the Holy Trinity (1752-3), fills the 70m high dome.

The statue of St. Cyril, one of four great teachers.

It does not get more Baroque.

The Rudolfinum, home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Our last stop is the Church of St. Nicholas in the Old Town Square of Prague.

July 22, 2012. An hour south of Prague lies Kutna Hora, a small town in the Bohemian Region...

...known for its rich source of silver and the UNESCO site of St. Barbara's Cathedral.

The Cathedral's front facade.

Another of Peter Parler creations. The five aisled building was built around 1388.

The interior is massive, with large stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings.

The side chapels are decorated with frescoes.

The Neo-Gothic high altar, a replica of the original Last Supper.

Each chapel with an altar and stained-glass window.

The Baroque organ dating form 1740-60.

In addition to the church we checked out the silver mine for a couple of hours.

The Gothic stone fountain on Rejsek Square was built in 1493.

Next we had to the unique Roman Catholic Chapel in Sedlec, which contains a ossuary.

This ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between...

...40,000 to 70,000 people.

At this chapel Carver Frantisek Rint, took human bones that had been accumulated over the years, to create a chandelier...


...another chandelier...

...a coat of arms...

...all and all a weird place to be...

...and great picture opportunities.


The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Sedlec.

The oldest Cistercian Cathedral in Bohemia.

Again another Baroque cathedral...

...with frescos and a high altar.

Beautiful wooden carved prayer stalls. We continue our exploration of Czech Republic four (4) days later.

The Czech Republic is famous for a few of them is beer. In particular Budweiser and...

...the other beer is Pilsner.

July 25, 2012. The main reason for us visiting PLZEN is to check out the history of the Pilsen Urquell Brewery.

The center of town of Plzen, located on the west side of the River Radbuza is quite pretty.

The Church of St. Bartholomew in the center of the large market square is the focal point.

The houses surrounding the market square are beautifully preserved.

The Renaissance town hall built 1554 to 1559 has been restored immaculately.

Standing in front of the town hall is the Plague Column in 1681.

The Brewing Museum is housed in the old malt house.

It traces the history of brewing in Plzen...

...brewing techniques and other beer related activities... hanging out at the pub...

The old malt room displays a collection of historic brewing equipment.

This is the area were the hops were dried.

A functioning scale model of a brewery.

A mocked up cooper's (Barrelmaker's) workshop.

Collectors' Paraphernalia like jugs, mugs, glasses, labels...

...and all the different beer bottles.

The history of cubic measurement. To no surprise it is somehow related to beer jugs.

The highlight of Plzen is a tour of Historical Underground.

The tour starts in the so called ice cellar, which served to store ice.

The ice cellar is located in the top level of the cellar, ...

...from where water from the melting ice flowed down to the lower levels of the fermenting and lager cellars and cooled them.

The tour leads us through a labyrinth of corridors right underneath the existing city above.

The building of these underground cellars began as early as in the 14th Century.

Passageways that lead from cellar to cellar of different houses above.

The cellars were originally built to store food.

The water tower houses a replica of a waterwheel.

The Gothic Franciscan Monastery Chapel is decorated...

...with frescos dating back to 1460.

The Great Synagogue with its twin towers and onion domes.

This is our first visit to a Synagogue in all our travels...

...and our first encounter of armed security at the entrance to a holy place.

This Synagogne is the third largest in the world after the one in Jerusalem and Budapest.

After learning all about Pilser Beer we head to Southern Bohemia...

...and the lovely town of CESKY KRUMLOV...

...situated on the banks of the Vitava River.

As it is getting late in the day, we take a quick peek at the Krumlov Castle...

...and wander the streets of the quiant old town center... the Plaque column erected in 1716 with a statue of the Madonna on the top.

Old watermills...

...and small water channels add to the charm of the town.

5km from town we find a campsite and Mike barbeques a few sausages...

...which we enjoy with some Czech Beer (no less) beside a small creek.

July 27, 2012. First thing in the morning we return to Cesky Krumlov...

...and the Krumlov Castle, which is the second largest in the Czech Republic after the Praque Castle.

The oldest part is the Hradek with its colorful painted tall tower.

As with every castle, the entrance way has to be impressive...

...leads to the IVth courtyard...

...and onwards through a passageway to the Cloak Bridge.

The IVth Courtyard boast three (3) of the oldest coats of arms.

Below the courtyard there are multi-storied vaulted cellars...

...built to serve as a reliable foundation for the palace walls above.

The interior of the three-story castle cellars currently houses a exposition of some weird sculptures.

The Cloak Bridge, seens from the Vth courtyard viewing platform.

The covered three (3) storey corridor erected on massive pillars vaulted together on each storey...

...leads to the famous Castle Theatre.

A better view of the vaulted pillars supporting the three (3) storey Corridors above.

Past the theater we enter the Baroque Castle Gardens founded in the 17th Century.

In the upper terrace is a Rococo Cascade Fountain.

We continue onwards to HOLASOVICE, located 15km west of Ceske Budejovice.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the village is an exceptionally complete...

...and well-perserved example of a traditional central European village.

The 18th and 19th Century are built in South Bohemian Folk Baroque Style.

The houses have colourful facades with white stucco ornamentation.

Heading further east into south Moravia we come upon TELC, a town which was created as a moated fortress.

In the centre of the main square is the Mariam Column.

Baroque gables were added to the facades of some houses in the market square...

...Rococo and classical elements followed in later remodellings...

...however the houses conform to a standard plan and are basically in a Renaissance style.

At the end of the triangular market square is the Church of St. Jacob...

...and its 60m tower...

The highlight for us was climbing the old wooden steps of the Church tower and... see two (2) old bells being preserved. A close look at the picture indicates an interesting inscriptions in the wood above the bells...

It is hard to get a scale of how large those bells are until someone stands beside them.

The bells were named Marie from 1550 and Jacob from 1603 (as per the inscription above).

The reward of climbing the tower is a 360 Degree Panoramic View...

...of Telc and the surrounding fish ponds.

Before we know we are on the road again and in TREBIC. All sites within Trebic are well signed due to UNESCO.

After wandering the Jewish quarter we end up at the old Jewish cemetery.

We spend a good hour exploring the old tombstones...

...some dating back to the early 1600.

Most scriptures were in Hebrew and German.

It is amazing how many tombstones there are, all neatly placed beside each other in a row.

Back on the other side of the hill is the Basilica of St. Procopius...

...and most noteable its enormous crypt.

Beautiful arched column support the upper Basilica.

Not sure why we stopped and actually took a look at the VILLA TUGENDHAT, a bauhaus design, which really doesn't do much for us.

July 28, 2012. After camping at Lake Nove Mlyny, we return to VALTICE, located in the wine country of Moravia... visit the church...

...and the Valtice Castle...

... built by the Liechtenstein family approx. 350 years ago... Baroque, Classical and Neo-Gothic style.

Not sure what church or chapel this is, however we liked the red brick construction of it.

The Lednice-Valtice landscape is part of UNESCO and is unique in that it...

...succeeds in bringing together in harmony cultural monuments and natural elements.

We head north to KROMERIZ. When the guide book mentioned sleepy town, they were not exaggerating. Our first stop is Kromeriz Garden... a formal Baroque multifaceted 19th century garden.

It also consists of a 244m long Collonade...

... lined with sculptures.

From the Kromeriz Gardens we walk past St. John the Baptist Church...

...the Baroque Marian Column... the Archibishop Palace.

At the Archbishop's Palace...

...we make our way up the impressive staircases...

... and take a stroll through the Kromeriz Palace Garden.

A view of the Archbishop's Palace from its vast garden.

Leaving South Moravia behind, we enter North Moravia and head for OLOMOUC.

The star attraction in Olomouc is the Holy Trinity Column...

...which is located in the main square, along with the Caeser Fountain and ...

...with the 13th Century town hall in the background.

The Town Hall Clock was first placed in the Gothic niche in the early 15th Century. The mechanism displays astronomical data.

The Hercules Fountain is another fountain located in the Horni Namesti (main square).

We seem to just eat up the klometers and are now making our way to East Bohemia and the town of LITOMYSL.

Parking the truck in the town square, we hike up to the Perstejn Palace.

Perstejn Palace is known for its beautiful architectural decorations on the facade.

In need for a scenery / subject change we decide to head deeper into the Krkonose mountains...

...and spent the night at a nice campsite with Mike enjoying a Czech beer while BBQing.

July 29, 2012. Taking the scenic route we end up at the TROSKY CASTLE.

The castle was built in late 14th Century on two (2) adjacent rocks.

The hike up the towers...

...provides a rewarding 360 Degree view of the region.

A few kilometer further along is the PRACHOVSKE SKALY, the highlight of the day.

The area is a reserve and...

...consists of nice walking trails...

...and huge sandstone pillars...

...and trees with massive roots clinging to the rocks.

Several nice view points are set up along the way... get a better appreciation of area.

We descend along Denisova Cesta (Denis Path).

Mike provides some scale in respect to the narrowness of the path.

The path snakes its way through tied sandstone cracks...

...what a great place to explore.

July 30, 2012. Enroute to Ceske Svycarsko we stop in Jetrichovice.

A scenic village, with some traditional timber houses...

...and stone houses.

Some timber houses and gardens are beautifully kept.

CESKE SVYCARSKO, is a national park, also called the Czech Switzerland or Bohemian Switzerland and our last stop on this trip.

We hike up to the Pravcicka Brana on a path that is shaded by massive trees.

Entrance to the Pravcicka Brana is throught the Falcon's Nest, a small castle dating to 1881.

Finally our first few of Pravcicka Brana, which is the large natural rock bridge...

...measuring 26m long, 7-8m wide and rising to a height of 16m.

The entire area has some great and well marked hiking paths...

...and offers many panoramic viewing platforms...

...over the beautiful landscape.

On this trip we only scratched the surface of what the Czech Republic has to offer. One day we will be back again.