This post is the fourth in MIPTC's travel series, which started on April 5, if you're interested in reading from the beginning. Otherwise, jump in and travel along.
Prague indeed has its fair share of castles, primary among them Prague Castle, which unlike many other castles also houses a towering Gothic cathedral. The cathedral, St. Vitus, is a masterpiece of architecture, built over several millennia but almost impossible to tell the breaks in construction between the eras. It is full of tall, black spires, gargoyles, statutes on both the exterior and interior and a very interesting mosaic.
Jesus sits in the top middle of the bright, multi-colored mosaic surrounded by red and gold with rays of sunshine emanating from his head. On his right, our left as we look at it, are figures of people climbing out of their graves, assisted by winged angels as they ascend into heaven. On Jesus's left (our right), are figures as they stumble into hell, dragged unwillingly into the flames of Hell by Satan and his followers.
There is one major difference between the figures on the right and left of Jesus. On Jesus's right there are only men. On his left, there are both men and women.
Surrounding the cathedral is a thoroughly modern castle that houses the offices of the President of the Czech Republic, together with some 500 soldiers. It's also got a riding school and stable, an art museum (the museum is recent, but some of the art is original). There's the obligatory well, but unlike most other castles, it is covered with a fine display of decorative ironwork.
The Czech Republic's Crown Jewels go on display at the end of the month in Prague Castle, just in time for my birthday. Strange coincidence, don't you agree? Displayed only on state occasions, the line to get in to see the jewels is estimated to last a day. I'll miss them, but we can get a video preview here.
Tomorrow there will be more touring around Prague, but the featured event will be the masquerade ball at Troja Castle, where the river Vltava makes a big turn. Stay tuned for the details.