Archive for July, 2009

4:23 am

Folklore Festival

There was also a folklore festival going on this past weekend in Prague. I took a handful of pictures while walking through Staroměstské náměstí, and I simply offer them up here without comment:

4:04 am

Flea Markets Come to Prague

There are plenty of second hand stores in Prague, but for some reason, the concept of flea markets or yard sales is unknown. Until now, that is: as of this past Saturday, there is now a flea market in Náměstí míru on the 4th Saturday of the month.

It’s rather slapdash, and it remains to be seen if it will really take off:

1:33 am

Father Augustin Schubert, OSA

From this week’s parish bulletin at sv. Tomáš:

"July 28, In memoriam of Father Augustin Schubert, OSA, pastor and witness to the truth.
Born in Prague-Zizkov in 1902, who after obtaining his doctorate in Philosophy entered the Augustininian Order in 1924. Ordained a priest in 1929 he was appointed pastor of St. Thomas. In this capacity he soon gathered an eager group of young people and was in demand as preacher throughout Czechoslovakia. With the occupation of his native land by the Nazis he constantly preached fidelity to Christ in face of pagan national myths. On 26 August 1939 he was arrested by the Gestapo and jailed variously at Pancrac, Oranienburg, Theresienstadt and Dachau where he died of tuberculosis and a cardiac condition compounded by hunger and ill treatment on 28 July 1942. His remains were cremated. Letters to his fellow Augustinians and a rosary made of dried breadcrumbs survived as well as the memory of a priest and pastor who raised his voice against injustice."

Steps for proposing him as a saint have been taken by the Augustinian community and their parishioners in 1999.

2:57 pm

Svata Hora

On Sunday, I took myself on a little pilgrimage to Svatá Hora (Holy Mountain), in Pŕíbram. (Pŕíbram is about an hour from Prague by bus.)

From the website:

"The most well-known, as well as renowned, place of pilgrimage consecrated to the Virgin Mary in Bohemia – Svatá Hora (Holy Mountain) – has been, in its present-day form, towering high above the old mining town of Pŕíbram offering a majestic panorama for more than 330 years. Svatá Hora is a vast baroque complex of buildings with a multitude of towers with its severe external look and corner chapels reminiscent of defensive bastions giving the impression of a fortress, of a castle of the Virgin Mary to whom it has been consecrated. Because of its location in the center of the nation, Svatá Hora has been considered as the spiritual heart of Bohemia."

The main color scheme of the complex is pink and cream.

A closer view of the complex from the main plaza:

The statue of Madonna and Child in the middle of the plaza:

A side entrance to the complex:

The grounds are lovely and quite extensive. I’m always a little surprised at how much wealth the Church apparently managed to hang onto despite 40 years of Communism. But then, I suspect that land (at least outside of Prague) is pretty cheap in the Czech Republic.

This structure houses "Mary’s Well":

The notice regarding the well is in Czech, and I can’t find any other information on it, alas.

There is other fairly predictable statuary on the grounds, including two different Crucifixions. This one is along the path leading up to the complex from the town:

This one is on the hill itself:

On entering the complex through the main entrance, there is a main outdoor chapel:

The altar of the outdoor chapel:

There are indoor chapels at each of the four corners of the cloisters, as well as outdoor altars lining the cloisters, each dedicated to a different event in the life of Mary. The roofs of the cloisters are covered in stuccoes depicting miracles attributed to the intercession of Our Lady.

The main altar in the Church is rich with silver and gilt; not surprising, perhaps, as Pŕíbram was a mining town. A scanned postcard:

It’s not readily apparent from the picture, but to the right, just in back of the altar rail, there’s a short pillar with a notched top. I couldn’t make out the purpose of it, but it became apparent later.

The real star of the show, though, is the statuette of the Virgin Mary. (I swiped this picture from the Svatá Hora website):

At the risk of sounding irreverent, I have to say that the way in which the robes cover the limbs of the Virgin and Child makes it look as though they’re Siamese twins! And, as with the statue of the Infant Jesus here in Prague, the statuette in Svatá Hora has multiple changes of robes, corresponding to the different liturgical seasons. The statuette typically resides in a niche above the tabernacle (as seen in another picture swiped from the Svatá Hora site):

I attended the late afternoon Mass (which was in Czech, of course). People didn’t leave immediately after Mass, and I soon found why and also the reason for the pillar: after Mass, there was veneration of the statuette. The priest removed the statuette from its niche, covered the robe with a tulle cape, and set the base on the pillar. This picture, another pinched from the website, shows veneration taking place at the outdoor chapel:

There were several groups of pilgrims visiting at the same time, mostly Germans (or German-speaking, at any rate), but there didn’t seem to be very many Czech pilgrims.

3:30 am


I visited Tábor ("a historic town with a Hussite past", according to one of the brochures from the tourist office) last Friday (the 10th) for no real reason except that I hadn’t been there before.

This historic center, centered on Žižkova náměstí, isn’t very big. The tourist office offers a free audio-guided tour which takes about two hours. It starts at the Town Hall:

The Hussite Museum also serves as entrance to (part of) the system of medieval tunnels that runs under the historic center. Kind of dank and gloomy.

Houses facing the square have been well restored:

These frescoes are (understandably) a little faded:

Such a strong color is unusual:

A statue of Jan Žižkov stands in the square:

There’s also a Renaissance fountain crowned by knight:

Going down Pražská, you can find this Renaissance house (the street is too narrow to get a really good shot):

And then you arrive at the Oscar Nedbal theater:

Jordan Reservoir is the oldest such artificial lake in Central Europe. These days, it’s popular for boating and swimming.

The city fortifications included paired walls, one inside the other. Now the space in between is used for parkland:

Another house I just happened to like:

The tour loops on back to Žižkova náměstí and the Church of the Transfiguration:

After the Battle of Bílá Hora, Tábor needed to be re-evangelized and the barefoot Augustinians* were invited in. The monastery, with the Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary:

St. Augustine is to the left of the church door:

His mother, St. Monica, is to the right:

*I’m not sure whether or not the "barefoot Augustinians" are distinct from the Augustinians we have at sv. Tomáš.

Kotnov Tower exists only in part now, but is home to an interesting exhibit on "Life and work in medieval society". Below the tower is a park, which was converted from a cemetery.

There’s a WWI memorial in the park, too:

According to the guide, there’s a Shoah memorial in the park, but I couldn’t find it.

I had lunch at U dvou koček (At the Two Cats’), just because I liked their shield:

Wandering away from the center, I visited the Baroque church and monastery in Klokoty – a renowned pilgrimage spot.

There’s an extensive cemetery attached:

Returning to the train station, I passed this fountain, which I happened to like:

And, I’m not sure what this building is, but again, I just happened to like it:

Tábor is home to a botanical garden, but I can’t say I was much impressed:


There’s a little park near the train station. I don’t know who this is: I tried asking some of the kids in the park, but they just shrugged.

You are currently browsing the Yurtdışında Yaşam blog archives for July, 2009.

Looking for more?

Add to Technorati Favorites

follow webgeekstress at
Random books from my "Currently Reading" stack...