Storming Praský Hrad
Story and photos by Tom Weber
the most significant monument of the Czech Republic and one of the country's
most important cultural institutions.
It's also in the Guinness Book of Records
for being the largest one of its kind.
And, most importantly, my "band of
merry media" and I journalists, bloggers, social media experts
and photographers invited along by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample
its premium-escorted Bohemian Rhapsody journey are about
to storm it.
Storm what? Another brewery?
No. Praský Hrad, or Prague
Sans armor, clubs, longbows, broad swords
and boulder-laden catapults, we're taking on this massive fortress the
only way we know how: with our cameras.
Lens caps off?
Leading our platoon of watermark-savvy
shooters is Jaroslav, Insight's Prague-based, art-historian guide, while
Neira, Insight's Bohemian Rhapsody tour director-slash-storyteller,
brings up the rear to ensure none of us lags behind (read, gets lost).
For added insurance, we're all given a
small radio receiver and an ear bud standard issue on all Insight
journeys so that we can listen to our guide's running commentary
and know immediately when we've drifted too far from the pack. Like
now, the audio just dropped off. YIKES! I'd better get moving.
Covering 70,000 sq m of real estate, at
a length of 570 m and an average width of 130 m, Prague Castle, a UNESCO
World Heritage site, is the largest ancient fortified structure on the
Perched atop a hill in the Hradčany district,
with panoramic views of the city below, the Prague Castle dates all
the way back to the ninth century when absolute power was the norm and
thrones were kept warm by the kings of Bohemia and the emperors of the
Holy Roman Empire. More recent, leaders of old Czechoslovakia ruled
from this spot, and, today, the president of the Czech Republic both
resides and governs an electorate of 10.5M from inside the palace-like
While the lion's share of the castle is
closed to the public, including a hidden room where the country's crown
jewels are tucked away under lock and key, the real star of the castle
grounds is the iconic Katedrála svatého Víta, or
St. Vitus Cathedral.
Construction of the first of many buildings
that form the cathedral was commissioned by Wenceslaus I, the Duke of
Bohemia, in 930. An inspiring example of Gothic architecture
with its signature flying buttresses and touches of Romanesque, Rennaissance
and Baroque thrown in for good measure over the ensuing 1,000 years
the cathedral contains numerous tombs where many of the aforementioned
kings and emperors are buried.
The Czech Republic's most revered house
of worship, St. Vitus Cathedral dominates the scene and towers high
above the city.
It's tall spires, practically scraping
the sky, are never far from view down there, among the masses.
This amazing architectural masterpiece
is, without a doubt, a must-see landmark when drawing up your own battle
plan to storm Prague Castle.
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.
A quick break to regroup and take in some
of those postcard-perfect panoramas of Prague, our band of merry media
will be moving out shortly down the hill, past the oldest vineyard in
the city, and make its way to the very spot where Mr. Phelps took the
plunge into the Vltava River during the filming of Mission Impossible.
This dispatch will self destruct in ten
Rhapsody: Na Zdraví! (A Brewery and A Wine Cellar); Bohemian
Rhapsody: Dobrý Den!; Bohemian
Rhapsody: Between Cairo and Berlin; Czeching
Out A Bohemian Rhapsody; Postcards
from Prague; The
Czech Republic A Little Jewel, Part 2