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Old Town Square, Prague
Bohemian Rhapsody:
High Noon in Prague's
Old Town Square
(Dispatch #7)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

walking along the cobble of Prague's Old Town Square

icktock, ticktock...

My band of merry media and I – a cadre of journalists, bloggers, social media experts and photographers invited along by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Bohemian Rhapsody journey through Prague, Vienna and Budapest – are literally on the clock as we pound the cobble of historic Praha as fast as we can in order to get underneath a real timepiece.

What's the rush?

Well, we only have a handful of minutes to hustle over to Staroměstské Náměstí (Old Town Square) and join the masses already poised just below Pražský Orloj (Prague Clock), the world's oldest, fully-operational astronomical clock, before it reawakens and announces high noon.

Whew! We made it with time to spare, about 180 seconds.

Old Town Square, Prague

Located equidistant from Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge, Old Town Square has a "school's out" atmosphere and features a cornucopia of architectural styles, like the Gothic Týn Church and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church.

Here, in one of Europe's most beautiful squares, there's plenty to do.

Jan Hus memorial at the Kinsky Palace

You can spend quality time at the Czech National Gallery inside Kinský Palace. Gaze up at the statue of Jan Hus, a religious reformer who was burned at the stake. Or, count out the crosses etched in the square's pavement, 27 in all recognizing those brave Bohemians beheaded by the ax following the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 against the Holy Roman Empire during the bloody Thirty Years War.

open air restaurants at the Old Town Square

the 600+ year-old Prague Clock at the southern wall of Old City Hall

If the history's a bit heavy to your liking, Old Town Square offers lighter fair, too, with its many impromptu street performers and musicians, not to mention all of the open-air cafes and restaurants just waiting to show you to your table.

But the main attraction, the one that draws the crowds at the top of the hour each and every day, is the 600+ year-old Prague Clock and its fascinating mechanical performance.

It's the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest of its type that's still fully operational today.

Considered one of of the wonders of the world during the Middle Ages, the Prague Clock was mounted on the southern wall of Old City Hall way back in 1410.

The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main parts.

There's the Astronomical Dial, indicating the position in the sky of the sun and the moon. The "Walk of the Apostles," a parade of the dozen disciples and other moving sculptures, including Death, represented by a skeleton, as the medieval timepiece strikes the new hour. And, the Calendar Dial with its medallions noting the months of the year.

According to local legend, the capital city of the Czech Republic will suffer great harm if the Prague Clock is ever neglected and its hourly wakeup calls placed in jeopardy. I really don't see that ever happening, because, like a modern-day Timex watch, this old gal has taken a licking, but keeps on ticking.

Insight Vacation's Bohemian Rhapsody brochure

For complete information on Insight Vacations' premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Bohemian Rhapsody and 100 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

Jewish Quarter brochure

Let's break for lunch and then we'll meet back here under the clock as Jaroslav, Insight's local expert, leads us through one of the darkest chapters in Prague history as we take a walk around the Jewish Ghetto.

Related Articles:
Bohemian Rhapsody: Glassblowing 101; Bohemian Rhapsody: Crossing the Charles Bridge; Bohemian Rhapsody: Storming the Prague Castle; Bohemian Rhapsody: Na Zdraví! (A Brewery and A Wine Cellar); Bohemian Rhapsody: Dobrý Den!; Czeching Out A Bohemian Rhapsody; The Czech Republic – A Little Jewel, Part 2




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

* * * *

Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

* * * *

Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

* * * *

I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal



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a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother," a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome siblings.

Go There

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Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'

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When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout each one of the 11 original songs.

Go There


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