Friday, August 08, 2008


ROME - JUNE 1997

After an Easter in Prague, I was in Paris in May 1997. No pictures, however. But in June, we travelled again, the three of us. Rome was the destination!

Rome is also known as the Eternal City! Furthermore, there is Roma, Città Aperta of Rossellini and Roma of Fellini, as well as many other Roma(s). This post does not envisage to be included in the list ;). It's just a personal view made out of some disposable camera lousy pictures taken in June 1997 (times when the video camera was the queen), twenty two years after our first time there in 1975!

"VIEW - The Intercontinental De La Ville Hotel is not the Hassler, though it's located next door at Via Sistina. Anyhow, it's a nice place to stay and the view from our top floor room was quite enjoyable"

"SCALINATA - The Spanish Steps, close to the Spanish Embassy in Rome, are a must for every tourist in Rome. The result can be seen here around the Barcaccia Fountain!"

"TRINITÀ DEI MONTI - On the top of the Scalinata, we may see the Obelisco Sallustiano, the Church also known as the «Santissima Trinità al Monte Pincio» and, on the right hand side of the photo, the Hotel Hassler with the famous rooftop restaurant. The church was started in 1502, by Louis XII of France to celebrate his successful invasion of Naples. It was consecrated in 1585"

"COLOSSEUM - The Flavian Amphitheatre is an elliptical amphitheatre, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. Its construction started between 70 and 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD, when it was prepared to seat up to fifty thousand spectators. «Panem et Circenses»!"

"PALATINO - According to Wikipedia, «The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Forum Romanum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other». Always loved to stroll there..."

"THE FORUM - The Roman Forum, located between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill, is the area around which the ancient Roman civilization developed and was the actual centre of the Empire"

"THERMAE - The Baths of Caracalla, built between 212 and 216 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla, were a huge leisure centre in Rome, including, further to the Baths, a library and a gym! Now you may attend the «Open-air summer festival by the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma», usually in July"

"VIA APPIA - The Appian Way, «THE QUEEN ROAD», was the most important ancient Roman road connecting Rome to Brindisi. On the left we may see the tomb of the fifth Caecilia Mettela, daughter-in-law of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the Roman general who suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus and entered into First Triumvirate, with Pompeius and Julius Caesar"

"CAMPIDOGLIO - The Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio in Italian) has almost all Roman ruins covered up by the Medieval palaces that surround the piazza, mostly designed by Michelangelo. Capitoline was also the origin for the English word capitol..."

"LUPA - This is the famous bronze sculpture depicting the Capitoline she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Thought to be an Etruscan work of the 5th century BC, it seems however, according to recent radiocarbon dating, that it was manufactured in the 13th century AD. For sure is that the twins were added in the late 15th century!"

"ISOLA TIBERINA - The Tiber Island, a 270m long and 67m wide boat-shaped island, is the only island in the Tiber river. The bridge we see here is the one to be crossed to get to the nice restaurants in Trastevere..."

"GINO DA TRASTEVERE - Gino is one of the nice restaurants in Trastevere. Eating fish and looking at people...!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008



"OLD TOWN (Staré Mesto) SQUARE - The historic square is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge and is probably the most popular meeting place in Prague. The Memorial in the centre was erected in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus, a religious reformer who was burned at the stake for his beliefs"

"TYN CATHEDRAL - A Church of Our Lady in front of Týn has been in the old square of Prague since the 11th century; the current late gothic church dates from the 14th century. The towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires"

"PRAGUE ORLOJ (The Astronomical Clock) - The Orloj, mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall, is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky; «The Walk of the Apostles», a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months"

"JOSEFOV - The former Jewish Ghetto is the smallest cadastral area of Prague, entirely within the old town. It seems that the first Jews arrived in Prague on the 11th century"

"OLD JEWISH CEMETERY - It is estimated that there are 12,000 graves in the cemetery, the oldest preserved tombstone (Avigdor Kara) dating back to 1439"

"NEW TOWN (Nové Mesto), founded in 1348 by Charles IV just outside the old city walls, is the youngest and largest of the five towns that today comprise the historic centre of modern Prague. In 1378, a census found that Prague had 40,000 inhabitants making it the fourth most populated city north of the Alps after Paris, Ghent and Bruges, and the third largest city in Europe in area after Rome and Constantinople"

"WENCESLAS SQUARE was the Horse Market place in the Middle Age; it is now named after the patron saint of Bohemia. Wenceslas Square is the historical landmark of the New Town and a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings"

"GRAND HOTEL EUROPA - Built in 1889 at the Wenceslas Square, it was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style between 1903 and 1905 to appear in many films..."

"HOTEL PARIS - Built in 1904 in the Art Nouveau style, just a couple blocks from the Old Town Square"

"U FLEKU, a large pub, restaurant and brewery, is the finest example of all the traditional Czech pubs in Prague, from the architectural point of view. Located in an ancient building dating from 1499, U Fleku has a brewery museum installed in the former malt house"

"MASARYK QUAI - Beautiful houses from the early 20th century with a beautiful view of the river and towards the castle"

"THE DANCING HOUSE (or Drunk House) was designed by Croatian-born Czech architect Vlado Milunić in co-operation with Frank Gehry. Originally named Fred and Ginger (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) the house stands out among the Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings of the nearby Masaryk Quai"

"CUBIST HOUSE - In the Vysehrad district, near the River Vltava"

"VYSEHRAD - The castle was built in the 10th century, on a hill over the Vltava River and within its limits is the Cathedral of Saint Paul and Peter, as well as a cemetery, containing the remains of many famous people from Czech history"


"TYROLEAN AIRLINES - An exciting experience for the (however learned) young traveller... "

Thursday, March 20, 2008



Prague, whose town centre was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1992, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Located by Vltava (Moldau) River in central Bohemia, it has been the political, cultural, and economic centre for the Czechs in the last 1100 years. In 1997, end of March, profiting from Easter holidays, we visited Prague. I've never seen so many Spanish adolescent/students together in my life...

"THE RUDOLFINUM, one of the most important neo-renaissance buildings in Prague, was constructed during the years 1876–1884 and named in honour of Rudolf of Hapsburg, Crown Prince of Austria, who presided the opening on February 8, 1885. It was originally designed as an art gallery and House of Artists and in 1946 it became the seat of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. However, from 1918 to 1938 and a short period after World War II (1945-1946), it also housed the Czechoslovak Parliament"

"CANAL CESTOVKA, quite close to the Vltava River"

"CHARLES BRIDGE - The construction of the bridge dates from the reign of the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who, according to the legend, controlled everything up to the smallest detail. The oddest seems to be the date of its foundation: 5:31 am, 9. 07. 1357. Only odd digits and, except 9, all prime numbers!"

"UP THE HILL - View towards the Castle from the 1464 Lesser Bridge Tower"

"CHARLES BRIDGE - View from the same tower towards the Bridge"

"ROYAL ROUTE gets its name from the coronation processions of the Bohemian Kings, starting with George of Podebrady in 1458. It used to link the gates of Old Prague to the Prague Castle, a route full of houses with beautiful façades"


"ST. VITO - The Gothic cathedral, whose original name is St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert Cathedral, is the biggest and the most important church in the Czech Republic. It's the place where the coronations of the kings of Bohemia were held until 1836 and also where saints, kings, princes and emperors of Bohemia are buried"

"BELL TOWER - View from the 14th century Bell Tower on the southern side of the Cathedral"

"GOLDEN LANE - The Street was created during the construction of the northern fortification at the end of the 15th century. In 1597 the emperor Rudolf II decided that the 24 marksmen who guarded the castle should live there. However, as space was at premium, the marksmen had to build very small houses for their families"

"PETRIN TOWER - Built in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition, this small version of the Eiffel Tower offers one of the best views of Prague and its surroundings. The tower, on the top of Petrin hill, is only 60m tall but you need to climb 299 steps to reach the platform for the magnificent view"

"OLD TOWN BRIDGE TOWER - Designed by Peter Parler at the end of the 14th century, it's a beautiful Gothic construction. Further to being an ornament for Charles Bridge, it was used as a watch tower and part of the defensive structure"

"VLTAVA RIVER, Charles Bridge and St. Vito Cathedral"


"WALLENSTEIN GARDEN was built in 1623–30, together with the first large secular palace of the Baroque era - the Wallenstein Palace, nowadays the seat of the Senate of the Czech Republic. Many statues that you see there, representing heroes from Greek mythology, are copies of the ones made by artist Adrian de Vries, as the original works were plundered by Swedish as war booty in 1648. The copies were brought to the garden only in 1912-1918"