Saturday, 16 October 2010

Prague Old Town from Riegrovy Sady

From the Rieger Gardens (Riegrovy Sady) - which lie between Žizkov and Vinohrady about fifteen minutes' walk from Vršovice - there is a commanding panoramic vista of central Prague from the National Museum all the way to Prague Castle and the hills beyond. To the north-west, the view takes in the churches of the old town, dominated by the unmistakeable silhouette of Our Lady before Týn. This great city church in the Old Town Square dates from the 14th century. Its design was influenced by the work of master architects Matthew of Arras and Peter Parler, and it's the burial place of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

Immediately to its right with the pale green onion-dome is the tower of Svatý Salvátor, one of two churches of that name dedicated to Christ the Saviour. One, built by the Jesuits, forms part of Charles University; this one, built at roughly the same time in the early 17th century, was a Lutheran foundation.

In the foreground are two buildings dedicated to St Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor. The nearer tower -  in the centre foreground of today's photo - is the church of Henry and his queen, Cunegunde. She lived an exemplary life, walking over red hot ploughshares to prove her fidelity, and devoting her life to charitable good works and the setting up of several convents. The better-known Jindřišská věž (Henry's tower) to the right of the picture, was built as a freestanding belfry for that church. Nowadays it houses a posh restaurant, cafe and exhibition galleries.

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