Thursday, 30 September 2010

Autumn comes to Tyrš Hill

Just south of Vršovice, divided into three by the Botič stream and the railway, lies an area of high wooded ground called Bohdalec. The central slopes are named after Miroslav Tyrš (or to give him his original German name, Friedrich Tirsch), the founder of the world-famous Sokol gymnastics movement. Today the area is best known as the home of the Royal Archery Club of Prague.

Tyrš established the first Sokols in the 1860s at the time of the Czech National Revival, and at their height these patriotic athletics clubs boasted a quarter of a million members. Hardly surprisingly,  the successive occupying powers of the Nazis and the Communists saw them as a threat, and officially banned them.

Since 1989, the Sokol movement has re-emerged, and today about 25,000 members gather annually at places like this to recreate the spirit of the Falcon (the bird after which the movement was named).

My walk today through the beautiful autumn landscape took me to the suburb of Michle, and then to the neighbouring hillside of the Jezerka Park in Nusle (also in Prague 4, with its birch trees and splendid theatre) from where this photo was taken.

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