Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good King Wenceslas Looked Out ...

... on Wenceslas Square in Downtown Prague.

Yes, that King Wenceslas is the namesake for Wenceslas Square in Nové Město, or "New Town," which, interestingly, is "new" because it was founded only in 1348, still the interloper after a coupla-decades shy of seven centuries given that Old Town came into being around 1100. The snow may not have been deep and crisp and even on this sunny October Day, but King Wenceslas nonetheless towers over the southeast end of the huge Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square is not so much a square, but an extra-wide boulevard a pedestrian walkway between the lanes. It goes on for several blocks. I think I needed to have somewhat elevated to capture the enormity of this place, but this is the best I could do:

If you remember your Late 20th Century Czech history, whenever anything important was happening in Czechoslovakia, Wenceslas Square would flood with people. When you see video of the Velvet Revolution bringing down communism in Czechoslovakia in October-November 1989, that's happening in Wenceslas Square. The Prague Spring putdown in '69. Wenceslas Square.

The southeast is the higher end. Behind The King is the National Museum, which I believe is closed for renovations.

National museums tend to be skippable for us non-residents, so I did not walk up to verify. Across the way from the National Museum is an old building that got repurposed as the home -- calling on in transit -- Radio Free Europe.

Radio Free Europe later moved to a more secure location south of this spot. This is now an annex to the National Museum, I believe. This is my attempt at artsiness, with a vaguely socialist realism looking statue outside the old RFE, with the National Museum reflected upon it:

Turns out the statue of Good King Wenceslas at the upper end of his square is not the only statue of him astride a horse in this neighborhood. There's another, to be found in the Lucerna Gallery just off Wenceslas Square:

It's by reknowned Czech artist David Černý.

See it? Let's get closer.

King Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Horse. Černý also is the artist behind the peeing statues at the Kafka Museum.

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