Sixth in our series of beautiful, but normal for Prague, houses throughout Prague. This time focusing on some of the ornate decorations on houses in eastern Vinohrady.
Fourth in our series of beautiful, but normal for Prague, houses throughout Prague.
As developers built Prague in the 19th and 20th centuries, they often built a whole block at one time, either across two or all four sides of a city block. All of the building had loads of character and charm, but the most elaborate flourishes were built into corner buildings. Here are two corner buildings in Bubenec, north of the Prague Castle.
Prague is a beautiful city. Almost everywhere you look you see a a beautiful building and sites you don’t see elsewhere. This is the first in a series of photos of normal houses in Prague. Most people in Prague live in these large ornate buildings, mostly five stores tall. They usually contain ten to fourteen units, but it’s unfair to think of them as typical apartment buildings. Prague had a tremendous building boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the city expressed its grandeur as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There are thousands of these buildings in the city. Each one is unique with elaborate stonework and windows. They are painted in colors you seldom see elsewhere in the world.
This photo of some of these wonderful buildings D took on his arrival in Prague in 2016. It was our second trip to Prague, before we moved there two years later.
I had long wanted to see how they take down one of those large construction cranes. One morning I finally got the chance to see it out my kitchen window.
Jugoslávská ulice in Praha 2 has some wonderful views. The street runs only three blocks from Náměsti Míru to Legerova ulice, where it becomes Ječná ulice toward the west. The first photo below is facing east toward Kostel sv. Ludmily (Church of Saint Ludmila) and the second is facing west. You can see the bluff on the other side of the river Vltava.
Just a slice of Prague life, standing on a street corner, that has three restaurants and a lovely old apartment building (that could stand some repair).
Bruselská ulice and Londýnská ulice = Brussels Street and London Street. In Prague 2, many streets are named after countries and foreign cities.
In the Vinohrady neighborhood of Prague 2 is Náměsti Míru, which translates to “Peace Square” or Plaza. The square was built around Kostel sv. Ludmily (Church of Saint Ludmila) which was completed in 1892. The church and the square were planned as the centerpiece of the new addition to Prague, Vinohrady (“castle vineyards”). Vinohrady was the second major addition to the city outside the eastern medieval city walls, the first being Karlín. The first phase of the addition was built in the late 1880s, when construction began on Kostel sv. Ludmily. That band of housing blocks stretches between what is now Legerova avenue on the west (where the city wall ran) and Italská and Belgická avenues on the east. A second larger phase of building began in 1903 eventually filling over 30 city blocks of buildings over the next five years. That flurry of construction activity must have been something to behold.
This video is a short walk down Jugoslávská avenue to Náměsti Míru and through the square to the corner of Ibsenova avenue. You will see the twin bell towers of Kostel sv. Ludmily and then the art nouveau building. Divadlo na Vinohradech (Vinohrady Theater).
On an ordinary street between two ordinary (for Prague) buildings, rests this amazing house of worship: the Jerusalem Synagogue of Prague.
The art nouveau Moorish style synagogue was built between 1905 and 1906. It was designed by Vienna architect and experienced synagogue builder Wilhelm Stiassny and constructed by a team led by Alois Richter. The interior wall paintings and stuccos were crafted by a team led by František Fröhlich.
The synagogue was built as a compensation for dilapidated church buildings demolished by the city. The center of the Western front face is decorated by a Czech and Hebrew inscription:
This is God’s gate, through which the righteous enter. Don’t we all have but one father? Have we not been created by the only God?
The synagogue can seat up to 850. In the Jewish tradition, the side galleries are designated for women, with a separate entrance.
Though known today as the “Jerusalem Synagogue,” named after the street it is on, the official name is the “Jubilee Synagogue (Synagoga Jubilejní). The name was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Franz Joseph I. In 1907, the synagogue passed from the Israelite Synagogue society into the property of the Prague Jewish Community. Worship services have been help continuously ever since, with the exception of the period of Nazi “protectorate.” The German occupation force used the synagogue to store property stolen from Prague’s Jewish residents, many of whom were exiled and murdered.
The synagogue was restored and re-opened to the public in 1996. During renovation work. richly painted ornaments of the Vienna Art Nouveau style were discovered on approximately twenty five square meters of walls and ceiling under the deposits of plaster and layers of old painting.
Jerusalem Synagogue of Prague is at Jeruzalémská 1310/7 Praha.
Six months ago, before the pandemic, Prague observed Christmas Eve. Compared to the orgiastic exhibitionism of the USA’s Christmas, the Czech Christmas is pleasantly low-key. There are lights and shopping and food and drinks, but not to excess. Our walk was interrupted by a heavy rain that combined with the cold to drive us back home and indoors.
Christmas Eve Prague