Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 7 - Prague

Our day began at the Strahov monastery, manned by friars who came to Prague in the 12th century from France, after they had returned from the Holy Lands, and sold their services as guards, bibliophiles (librarians) and book copiers/scribes. In the two fascinating halls of their library, one for the theological works, and the other for philosophical works, we saw an excellent example of how these church institutions were the depository and guardians of culture in Europe. This library contains over 45, 000 volumes of work dating back to the 10th century.

From our view at the top of the hill, we overlooked the spectacular view of Prague, and discussed its different units: The Castle Town, Lesser Town, New Town, and the Old Town which includes the Jewish Ghetto. All of these were in place by the 14th century, when Charles IV was the Holy Roman Emperor and Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Next, we saw the Czernin Palace, which today houses the Foreign Ministry, and the Loretto Shrine, one of the finest baroque structures.

Continuing into the Castle premises, we saw a whole diversity of architectural styles, beginning at the St. Vitus Cathedral, with its unique gothic and neo-gothic architecture. As we walked through the king's palace, Shalmi explained the significance of manure in world history and how defenestration was utilized to punish individuals.

We then went into the recently opened Lobkowicz Palace. The Lobkowicz family is one of the most important of Czech nobility whose estate and property were very, very extensive. They lost their property twice in recent history: once to the Nazis, and once to the Communists. They retrieved it in 1989 after the Velvet Revolution, and recently opened it to the public as a museum. Inside we had an intimate look at the inside of palace life, and especially at the Lobkowicz's contribution to culture: music, painting, and architecture.

After lunch, we walked through the Lesser Town, saw the John Lennon wall, crossed the Charles Bridge into the Old City of Prague, and saw the Clementinum, the Jesuit campus. The Jesuits were called in after the 30 Years War to head the spiritual and cultural revolution initiated by the Catholic Church in what was to be the counter reformation. Their main role was in rebuilding education in order to disseminate the principles of the Church. This was the first case of a cultural revolution that caused ambivalent attitudes within Christianity.


  1. My only regret is that I'm not on this trip!!! I hope each of you immerse yourselves in all you are seeing, hearing and experiencing. You each have received an invaluable gift ... of knowledge. Use it.

  2. Mackenzie - What a life-changing experience. How much you and your new friends are seeing and learning! The extent of the horror man is capable of inflicting on his fellow man and how easily evil is able to be spread itself if each and every individual does not stand up for truth and deciency and the FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL. Such a deep and abiding lesson you are all witnessing and learning...a lesson that you (and all of us) are bound to never forget and obligated to that such evils are never allowed to happen again......Travel Safe; and when you get home TEACH US what you have learned!
    Dad, Mom, and Kellie.

  3. Isn't it crazy to see how much the wall changes from year to year?

  4. The monastery photos are are all the views around Prague. It must be difficult to think of the horrible events that took place in the past when there is such beauty there today. I would like to know more about the John Lennon wall!

  5. I must echo Sue here.. the beauty of the Czech Republic is beyond words... enjoy that beauty, bathe in it.. because each of us know you will (and already have) experienced the darkness there. You will feel it in places you visit. You will know it when it happens precisely. For all the beauty that is apparent around you in the amazing sites you are visiting (I am jealous by the way), there will be darkness.

    Be strong for each other. Lean on each other.. learn from each other. Mrs. T -- you are a Godsend. What these young adults are learning alongside you is an experience they could never accomplish in all of their daily classrooms.

    Kids -- bask in what you are fortunate enough to experience. And KISS Mrs. T. And hug her too. Because no matter if this is her first trip, or her tenth trip, she will learn and experience something new..... and will need each of you as well.

    THANK YOU all.... I am so proud of your amazing journey. Thank you for taking me along...


  6. The epic continues as you all have the gift of being able to view and experience some of the great architecture and beauty of the world. It amazes and confounds how in the same space where such beauty was created such ugliness also took place. Have a fabulous seder tonight and Sarah we will miss you at our own but are also jealous of the one you will be attending. Soak up the experiences like a sponge and enjoy, all of you.

  7. Totally beautiful. Enjoy each day of history, landscapes, and teachings.
    Once again thank you for letting us join you all.


  8. WOW I wish I could see all these pictures in person! It's so beautiful!
    We miss you in class Mrs. Bauman!!! Hope you're having a great time!
    ~Molly Bernard

  9. I love the photos of the Monastery!

  10. I am truly fascinated with the ceiling of the library, the castle, and the architecture. Absolutely beautiful!!

  11. The architecture in all of these pictures is incredible! Each place that you have visited has been rich with so much culture and history. The picture of Lobkowicz Palace is especially beautiful. The tour of the inside that gave insight to palace life seems fascinating. It is interesting to reflect on how even people of royalty were hugely effected by the occupation of the Nazi party. Also, Prague looks like a gorgeous place, and though I had never really thought about taking a trip there, these photographs and the fact that there is so much history in the area, has made me seriously consider visiting some time in the future!
    -Lauren Lewellyn

  12. Taking a tour of the Lobkowicz Palace must have been amazing. The family lost their palace twice in history to the Nazis and Communists and then got it back. That's amazing. It would be very fun to live in a palace like that. It looks so big that it is hard to believe that people actually lived there. It was nice of them to turn it into a museum for people to tour and learn the history.

    The Strahov monastery is so beautiful. It must have taken a long time to build such a beautiful building. It's amazing that a building that old is still standing and is so beautiful.

    -Dashawn Harden