Sunday, 6 December 2009

'The borough of Prague 10 welcomes you'

As, indeed, does this sign on Francouzská (France Street) - and very politely, using the formal 'Vás' form of the pronoun, similar to the French 'Vous'.

Although Prague 10 comprises five main 'cadastral' neighbourhoods, we can see that it has adopted the coat of arms of Vršovice - whose 35,000 inhabitants make up only one third of its total population - to represent the whole borough.

Heraldically speaking, the shield is very interesting. Let's start with the left-hand side as we look at it. Divided into two, the top quarter shows the royal lion of Bohemia, which always has a double tail and is sticking its tongue out.  Below it, a pair of crossed axes surmounts an amphora-shaped basket, an allusion to one possible origin of the name 'Vršovice', from the Czech word for an old woven fishing-pot. 

The right-hand side shows one half of Prague's coat of arms, in which you can see, beneath the portcullis, an oustretched arm grasping a sword, a reference to the defeat of the Swedish army on the Charles Bridge at the end of the Thirty Years' War. 

The crest is what is called a 'mural crown' - in other words a crown made in the form of a stone wall. One with five turrets like this indicates the status of a Town, which Vršovice became in 1885 before being elevated to city status in 1902 and being incorporated into Prague in 1922.


Leif Hagen said...

Nice sign - fun to see the Czech language!

Alex said...

Thanks for your comment Leif. Yes, I'm still struggling with it, especially knowing when to use an acute accent (which lengthens the vowels: 'Vi-ita-a Va-as')...

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