A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: irenevt

Prague - the Heart of Europe.

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Mosaic above the Beaufort family memorial, Vysehrad Cemetery.

Prague is another place we visited long before I ever wrote travel pages or blogs so now that the world is closed due to covid 19, I may as well finally get around to writing it up.

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Maskovy family memorial, Vysehrad Cemetery.

We went to Prague in 1999. We got there by flying Swissair from Hong Kong to Zurich and then on to Prague. Our trip did not start well. We had read that airport taxi drivers were notorious for ripping off tourists, so we prepaid for our taxi and got a voucher. Our taxi driver was furious that he had had to wait in a queue to pick up tourists only to find that he could not rip us off as we had already paid. As a result he swore at us, threw our trolley bag around, shouted at us for the whole journey and drove like a maniac, almost crashing several times. Of course if he had just been pleasant, he would have got a tip. Needless to say he didn't. I've never been so relieved to get out of a taxi in my life. Fortunately, this insane taxi driver was the only unpleasant person we had to deal with all trip.

Prague from the air.

Prague from the air.

Prague from the air.

Prague from the air.

I don't remember the name of our hotel, but I do know it was quite far from the centre of the city and that we travelled into the city centre by tram. This was easy enough and it meant that our living area was pretty peaceful and quiet.

Prague is an amazingly beautiful city. It is one of the best preserved cities in Europe, as it was not badly bombed in World War II. The Vltava River flows through the centre of Prague. It separates the main areas tourists visit, with Castle Town and Lesser Town on one side of the river, and Old Town and New Town on the other.

One of the most famous sights in Prague is the beautiful Charles Bridge which crosses the Vltava River between the Old Town and the Lesser Town. It is supported by 15 pillars and is 516 meters long. Charles Bridge is called after King Charles IV. Construction of the bridge was carried out by Peter Parler, a famous German-Czech architect. Building began in 1357 and was completed in 1402. At both ends of the bridge there are towers. The one at the Old Town end is called Staroměstská věž and the one on the Lesser Town end is called Malostranská věž. There are thirty Baroque statues on the bridge. The most famous is of St. John of Nepomuk. He was a Czech priest who took confession for Queen Sophia of Bavaria, the second wife of King Wenceslaus IV. King Wenceslaus, convinced his wife had a lover, demanded to know the contents of her confession. When John of Nepomuk refused to divulge it, Wenceslaus had him thrown from the Charles Bridge into the Vltava River where he drowned.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge.

Not far from the Charles Bridge in the area known as the Lesser Town is the Lennon Wall. John Lennon was a hero for many young Czechs. One of his fans painted a picture of John Lennon on a wall opposite the French embassy. This wall then became a common site for the youth of Prague to vent their political frustrations. At one point the wall used to be frequently whitewashed over by the authorities.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Lennon Wall.

Also in Lesser Town stands The Church of St Nicholas. This is the most famous Baroque church in Prague. It was designed by architects Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago.

Saint Nicholas Church.

Saint Nicholas Church.

Saint Nicholas Church.

Saint Nicholas Church.

At one side of Lesser Town there is a large green hill known as Petřín. This is a park area and can be accessed on foot or by funicular. We went to the top on the funicular. There are beautiful panoramic views over the city from the top of the hill. Also on the hilltop stands Petřín Tower, which resembles France's Eiffel Tower. The Štefánik Observatory is also located on the hill. On the edge of the park stands Strahov Monastery. This monastery was founded in 1140. Its buildings include the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Strahov Library, a Baroque Theological Hall and the Strahov Art Gallery.

At the bottom of Petřín Tower.

At the bottom of Petřín Tower.

At the bottom of Petřín Tower.

At the bottom of Petřín Tower.

Strahov Monastery.

Strahov Monastery.

Strahov Monastery.

Strahov Monastery.

Strahov Monastery.

Strahov Monastery.

The Castle Town area of Prague is made up a large assortment of different buildings in a wide variety of architectural styles. Buildings here include Prague Castle, the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Vitus, the Romanesque Basilica of Saint George, a monastery, palaces: such as Rosenberg Palace, the Archbishop's Palace, gardens and towers. Prague Castle itself is now home to the National Gallery, the Toy Museum and a picture gallery.

Peter outside the Archbishop's Palace.

Peter outside the Archbishop's Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Rosenberg Palace.

Saint George's Basilica.

Saint George's Basilica.

Castle Hill.

Castle Hill.

Looking towards St Vitus's Cathedral and Castle Hill.

Looking towards St Vitus's Cathedral and Castle Hill.

Looking towards St Vitus's Cathedral and Castle Hill.

Looking towards St Vitus's Cathedral and Castle Hill.

The Old Town is on the other side of the Charles Bridge from the Lesser Town and Castle Town. One of the first sights we saw here was the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. This church is associated with the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. It is designed in Baroque style. It was built between 1679 and 1688 by the architect Jean Baptiste Mathey.

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Old Town Square, Staroměstské náměstí, lies at the heart of Prague's Old Town. In this square you can see the Old Town Hall with its medieval astronomical clock. Here you can also see the Church of the Mother of God before Týn, or just the Týn Church for short. In the northwestern corner of Old Town Square. stands the Baroque St. Nicholas Church which was built in the eighteenth century. Also in the square stands the Jan Hus Memorial. Jan Hus was a Czech church reformer who was executed in 1415. The inscription on the monument says “Love one another, wish the truth to everyone”. This is a quote from one of the letters he wrote while he was in prison. One of the most beautiful building in the Old Town Square is the Kinský Palace. From the balcony of this building in 1948 Klement Gottwald announced the beginning of communism in Czechoslovakia. In 1990 Václav Havel symbolically announced the end of communism from the same place.

Týn Church.

Týn Church.

Jan Hus Memorial.

Jan Hus Memorial.

St. Nicholas Church.

St. Nicholas Church.

To one side of Prague's Old Town stands its old Jewish Quarter. Prague has one of Europe's oldest Jewish communities. It has managed to survive in spite of pogroms, expulsions and the holocaust. The best way to see it and learn about it would be to do a guided tour of the area. We did not do this. We just had a quick walk around. We saw the old Jewish Town Hall and the Jewish Ceremonial Hall.

Jewish Town Hall.

Jewish Town Hall.

Jewish Ceremonial Hall.

Jewish Ceremonial Hall.

Near the Old Town Square stands the Gothic Powder Gate which separates the Old Town from the New Town.

The Powder Tower.

The Powder Tower.

In the Old Town.

In the Old Town.

In the Old Town.

In the Old Town.

Prague's New Town was founded in 1348 by King Charles IV. It centers on Wenceslas Square, which was originally built as the Horse Market. Wenceslas Square is really more of a boulevard than a square. At one end stands the neoclassical Czech National Museum. In front of that there is a statue of Saint Wenceslas. Many significant events in Prague's history have taken place on Wenceslas Square. On 28th October 1918, while standing in front of the Saint Wenceslas statue, Alois Jirásek read the proclamation of independence of Czechoslovakia. On 16th January 1969 Jan Palach, a young Czech student, set himself on fire here to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1989 huge demonstrations were held here as part of the Velvet Revolution.

Wenceslas Square.

Wenceslas Square.

Wenceslas Square.

Wenceslas Square.

We also visited the Dancing House building, sometimes known as Fred and Ginger. This was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić together with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. It was completed in 1996.

Dancing House.

Dancing House.

Dancing House.

Dancing House.

We also visited Vyšehrad, a historic fort located in the city of Prague, around 3 km southeast of Prague Castle, on the East bank of the Vltava River. This was built in the tenth century. While here we visited the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Vyšehrad Cemetery. In the cemetery we found the grave of composer Antonín Dvorak. There are good views over the river from this area.

Vyšehrad.

Vyšehrad.

Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Mosaic of head of Christ, Vysehrad Cemetery.

Mosaic of head of Christ, Vysehrad Cemetery.

Dvorak's Grave.

Dvorak's Grave.

We also went on a boat trip along the Vltava River. Since it was a long time ago, I don't remember much about the trip but I'll put some river photos here.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

On the Vltava River.

When Eastern Europe opened up at first after the fall of the Iron Curtain, several countries had a terrible reputation for overcharging. We did not experience this in Prague. I don't know if we were just lucky, or just careful or things had already begun to settle down. In any case we had several excellent meals, wonderful beer and even went to a microbrewery that brewed its own high quality beer.

Microbrewery.

Microbrewery.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Prague had great food and beer.

Even when we were leaving the country, hubbie was delighted to find a beer dispensing machine at the airport.

At the airport.

At the airport.

At the airport.

At the airport.

Posted by irenevt 05:40 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (15)

Budapest

Faces of Budapest.

Faces of Budapest.

We visited Budapest in summer 2005. This was before I had joined V.T. I never got round to writing our visit up, but now that we are all pretty much confined to our homes by the onslaught of Covid 19, I might as well get round to writing it up for Travellerspoint. Better late than never.

Enjoying a beer.

Enjoying a beer.

We came to Budapest by train from Vienna. After having been in Austria for several days, the first thing we noticed about Hungary was how flat it is compared to Austria.

Gypsy violinists.

Gypsy violinists.

Although we were only going to be in Budapest for a few days, we stayed in two hotels. Our first night was on a boat hotel in the Danube, because Peter loves boats. After that we moved inland.

The boat hotel was called the Fortuna Boat Hotel. It is moored on the Pest side of the River Danube, about a kilometre away from the spectacular Hungarian parliament and near a bridge that takes you to Margaret Island. Our cabin was comfortable enough and we ate on the boat in their open air restaurant, which was very enjoyable and certainly a beautiful setting.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

Fortuna Hotel.

On the River Danube.

On the River Danube.

On the River Danube.

On the River Danube.

On the River Danube.

On the River Danube.

I can't remember the name of our second hotel but it was near Our Lady of Hungary Church. We had a look at this church and its graveyard. I remember finding the grave of Eva Braun here and wondering why Hitler's mistress would be buried in Budapest, but as a friend later pointed out it is probably a very common name and was not likely to be Hitler's woman at all.

Our Lady of Hungary Church.

Our Lady of Hungary Church.

We took a stroll along the banks of the Danube to Budapest's beautiful neo-Gothic parliament building. This building is 268m long, 123m wide and 96m tall, which makes it the biggest building in the whole of Hungary. It was designed by Hungarian architect, Imre Steindl, who unfortunately went blind before it was completed. Work began on the parliament building in 1885 and it was finished in 1902. The parliament has 691 rooms and 10 courtyards. It is possible to do a tour of this building, but we didn't. Of course, since the building is so big, it is best to photograph it from the other side of the Danube.

The River Danube.

The River Danube.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

The Budapest Parliament.

We also crossed the river to get to Buda Castle which is at the top of Budapest's Castle Hill. King Lajos first built a castle here in 1356. Forty years later this was replaced by a Gothic palace. Later again, King Matthias Corvinus built a new renaissance style castle here. When Budapest fell to the Turks between 1541 and 1686, the castle was destroyed. Then between 1714 and 1723 the Habsburgs built a new, smaller Baroque style palace here. This was damaged in a fire but was eventually rebuilt. The castle was damaged yet again during World War II, but was reconstructed in 1950 following a design by architect István Janáki. Today the castle is home to the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. In front of the castle stands a bronze equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who helped drive the Turks out of the city. It is possible to walk uphill to the castle or take the funicular.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

Buda Castle.

The Funicular.

The Funicular.

We also went to the nearby Fisherman’s Bastion. This was built in the nineteenth century as a lookout tower, so of course it has fantastic views over Budapest. You can look at the views free from the lower balconies or pay to go to the top turrets. This area of Budapest was protected by the guild of fishermen during the Middle Ages that is why it is called the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion.

We also climbed up Gellért Hill, a 235 metre dolomite rock, which is another great viewpoint. The hill was named after Saint Gellért, Hungary’s first missionary. He was killed here by pagans who rolled him down the hill in a barrel lined with spikes. The barrel ended up in the Danube River. At the bottom of Gellert Hill stands the Art Nouveau Gellért Hotel. Construction of this hotel began in 1912, though it was not complete until 1918. The hotel was designed by Hungarian architects Ármin Hegedűs, Artúr Sebestyén and Izidor Sterk. It is famous for its thermal baths. Near the hotel you can find the Gellért Hill Cave. Legend states that a hermit lived here and used the natural thermal water near the cave to heal the sick. This hermit later became Saint Ivan. The natural thermal water is now the Hotel Gellert thermal baths. On Gellert Hill there is a statue of Saint Gellert brandishing a cross. On top of Gellert Hill stands a fort called the Citadella and the Liberty Monument which consists of a female figure holding above her head a palm leaf to represent victory. This monument dates from 1947 and was built to commemorate Hungary’s liberation from Nazi rule at the end of World War II.

The Gellert Hotel.

The Gellert Hotel.

The Gellert Hotel.

The Gellert Hotel.

Gellert Cave Chapel.

Gellert Cave Chapel.

Saint Gellert Statue.

Saint Gellert Statue.

Liberty Monument.

Liberty Monument.

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths. As well as the ones in the Gellert Hotel, there are several other famous ones such as the Széchenyi Spa Baths. We had a look at the building here and I got told off for taking a picture of the mosaic ceiling. The mosaic shows Helios, the god of the sun and was created by Miksa Roth. I think it is pretty impressive.

Helios Mosaic.

Helios Mosaic.

Budapest has several beautiful churches. One of these is Matthias Church which is located on Castle Hill near the Fisherman's Bastion. A church built at this location was once used as a coronation church for Hungarian kings. In 1526 when the Turks occupied Buda, this Church was turned into a mosque. Matthias Church is called after King Matthias Corvinus the Fair, who rebuilt and expanded the church in the fifteenth century. In the early nineteenth century the church was restored by Frigyes Schulek.

Matthias Church.

Matthias Church.

We also visited Saint Stephen's Basilica which is called after Stephen, the first King of Hungary. His "incorruptible" right hand is on display in the basilica's reliquary. This building is the same height as the nearby Hungarian Parliament Building to symbolize that worldly and spiritual thinking have the same importance. The basilica was completed in 1905.

Saint Stephen's Basilica.

Saint Stephen's Basilica.

Saint Stephen's Basilica.

Saint Stephen's Basilica.

We also took a look at Saint Anne's Church. This Baroque church was founded between 1740 and 1762. It has suffered wars, floods and, earthquakes over the years and was restored between 1970 and 1984.

Saint Anne's Church.

Saint Anne's Church.

We also visited Ják Chapel which is located opposite Vajdahunyad Castle. Ják Chapel's beautiful portal was copied from the thirteenth-century Abbey Church of Ják in western Hungary.

Ják Chapel.

Ják Chapel.

Ják Chapel.

Ják Chapel.

Ják Chapel.

Ják Chapel.

Vajdahunyad Castle is located in Budapest's City Park. It was built in 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition celebrating the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian State. The castle was designed by Ignác Alpár to look like several famous buildings from different parts of Hungary so it is a mixture of different architectural styles such as: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Vajdahunyad Castle was originally supposed to be a temporary building made from wood and cardboard, but between 1904 and 1908 it was re-built from permanent materials, because it was so popular with the Hungarian people. Today, this castle is home to the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.

Vajdahunyad Castle.

Vajdahunyad Castle.

I was quite entranced by the hooded statue opposite Vajdahunyad Castle which was simply entitled Anonymous. It turns out Anonymous represents the unknown chronicler at the court of King Béla III who produced a history of the early Magyars. Apparently those who want to be writers stroke the tip of Anonymous's pen for inspiration.

Anonymous.

Anonymous.

Anonymous.

Anonymous.

We also visited Heroes Square. Heroes Square is centred on the Millenary Monument which is a thirty-six metre high column. On top of the column stands a golden Archangel Gabriel. He is holding a cross and the Hungarian crown. At the bottom of the column there are statues of seven Magyar chieftains. In the colonnade behind there are fourteen statues of Hungarian rulers.

Heroes Square.

Heroes Square.

Heroes Square.

Heroes Square.

Heroes Square.

Heroes Square.

On our last day in Budapest we finally got round to visiting Margaret Island, but unfortunately half way through our visit the heavens opened and there was a violent thunder and lightning storm. It was so bad we had to abandon the island and take cover, but we still got soaked.

Margaret Island is situated in the River Danube. It was once called Rabbit Island and acted as a royal hunting reserve. King Béla founded a nunnery on the island and promised to send his daughter Margaret there as a nun if God helped him drive the Mongol invaders out of Hungary. When the Mongols finally withdrew from Hungary, King Béla, true to his word, sent eleven-year-old Margaret to the convent. The island was later called after her. Nowadays, the island is a public park.

Margaret Island.

Margaret Island.

Margaret Island.

Margaret Island.

Margaret Island.

Margaret Island.

Posted by irenevt 06:28 Archived in Hungary Comments (7)

Sopron.

Hungry.

sunny

Folk art shop on Fo Ter - Sopron

Folk art shop on Fo Ter - Sopron

Getting to Sopron.

We got to Sopron by train from Vienna as the train is operated by Austrian Railways we could get there on an einfach raus ticket which cost 32 Euros for up to 5 people. The journey took an hour and 10 minutes from Wein Meidling Station. Transport on the schnellbahn is included in the ticket if you are starting from another station.

Sopron Station

Sopron Station

Sopron is a very relaxed place with a very pretty old town. We mainly enjoyed wandering aimlessly around the old town streets with their lovely buildings and sitting enjoying the sun in some of Sopron's lovely old squares. We also had a very pleasant goulash soup meal with Soproni beer. Buying food and drink in the restaurants and supermarkets in Sopron was much cheaper than in Vienna. The currency is the forint, but some restaurants accept Euro. There were lots of money changers in Sopron.

The Old Town.

Fo Ter is the main part of the old town, but there are many lovely streets leading off it, such as Saint George's Street. The streets are lined with colourful old buildings and often lead to lovely wide open squares. There are several fountains, churches and a synagogue.

Beautiful building, Sopron. - Sopron

Beautiful building, Sopron. - Sopron

Sleepy courtyard, Sopron. - Sopron

Sleepy courtyard, Sopron. - Sopron

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

Fo Ter Square.

Fo Ter Square is the heart of Sopron's old town. The fire tower (Fo Ter) which gives the square its name is currently undergoing renovation so is surrounded by scaffolding. The square also contains several lovely buildings; some of which are museums. There is also a holy trinity statue and Goat Church. Goat Church was supposedly funded by a goatherd whose goats uncovered buried treasure. We did not go inside the church; I think it is now a museum. There were lots of restaurants, cafes and bars. The town hall was also on this square. This is a very pleasant spot for a meal or a seat in the sun.

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

St Ursula's Square.

St Ursula's Square in the old town is a wide open space. It contains the lovely Church and Convent of Saint Ursula and a statue of her, too. At one time this square was the site of the salt market of Sopron.

St Ursula's Square

St Ursula's Square

Roman Remains.

Near Fo Ter you can see some excavated Roman remains. They are of several buildings and streets that were part of Sopron's Roman forum. You can look down over the site and there are several notice boards around indicating what you are looking at. Quite interesting and worth a look. Near Fo Ter.

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Near Fo Ter there is another interesting square with some old buildings and interesting monuments. The old Golden Lion Pharmacy is across the road from here. This is worth passing by for a quick look if you are in the area.

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Szechenyi Ter.

This square is between the railway station and the old town. It contains a park, as well as a church and a statue of Count Istvan Szechenyi. It is quite a pretty square and worth a look if you are ever in Sopron.

Szechenyi Ter

Szechenyi Ter

Liszt.

Near the old town there is a Liszt Street with a plaque and bust of Listz. Stop and have a look if you are in town. The bust is outside the conert hall. I am not entirely sure of Listz' connection with Sopron.

Liszt

Liszt

Shops.

This lovely shopfront appealed to me as we we were wandering around. Baskets just look attractive when they are all grouped together or when they are hanging up around windows or doors. Sometimes it is not the big sights, but the little ones that make good photos.

Shop Front

Shop Front

Restaurants.

We had lunch in a restaurant near Goat Church on Fo Ter Square. The restaurant was located in a lovely old cellar. The bar part had huge barrels as tables. My husband had soup and Schmalzbrot, bread and dripping. In this restaurant it was covered with chopped onion and sprinkled with paprika. I had delicious goulash soup and we both had bottles of the excellent Soproni beer.

My husband enjoying his lunch. - Sopron

My husband enjoying his lunch. - Sopron

Posted by irenevt 06:32 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Cheb

storm

Saint Batholomew Church.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Cheb.

We travelled from Weisau in Bavaria to Cheb for the day. The weather was most definitely not on our side. Our morning was interrupted by frequent heavy downpours and by the afternoon we were stuck in a constant deluge that was flooding everything in sight. Despite the weather, we were both really impressed with Cheb. For some reason we had not been expecting all that much from Cheb but we actually really, really liked it. It has a large public square, churches, a castle, museums, a river. The view from St Nicholas Church was wonderful. When we had looked at Cheb we jumped on a train to nearby Františkovy Lansky, a spa town. That was lovely but our visit there coincided with the worst of the weather. When we were leaving by train we had to wade across the railway platforms to board the train. Cheb is a city in the Czech Republic, with about 33,000 inhabitants. It is on the River Ohre. It used to be part of Germany and was once called Eger.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Cheb main square.

Cheb main square used to be its market place. Now it houses the town hall, the tourist office, a fountain, a museum and a group of eleven houses known as Špalícek. These houses are located very close together with very narrow streets dividing them. They date from the thirteenth century. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe frequently visited the Green House which is one of the houses in Špalícek.

Peter in Cheb's main square. - Cheb

Peter in Cheb's main square. - Cheb

Town Hall. - Cheb

Town Hall. - Cheb

Narrow street in Špalícek. - Cheb

Narrow street in Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Museum behind Špalícek. - Cheb

Museum behind Špalícek. - Cheb

St Nicholas's Church.

After we had visited the market square, we walked to the lovely Church of Saint Nicholas. We could see its spires from the market square. The Church of St. Nicholas was built in the thirteenth century. Throughout its eventful history it has been damaged by fire in 1742 and then rebuilt by architect Balthasar Neumann. The top of its steeples were destroyed during World War II and restored in 2008. We had look inside the church. It was well worth seeing. I then paid a euro to climb up the tower for a view over the town.

Saint Nicholas Church. - Cheb

Saint Nicholas Church. - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Views from the church tower.

After looking at the inside of Saint Nicholas Church I paid one Euro to climb up its tower. There were fantastic views over the old and newer parts of Cheb from the top. This was my favourite part of our visit to Cheb.

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

The River Ohre.

The River Ohre flows through the centre of Cheb. It is quite a pretty river. I especially liked the area with the covered wooden bridge. It was possible to take pictures from the bridge including the boxes of geraniums that lined it.

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

Cheb Castle.

We were really running out of time when we got to Cheb Castle plus the rain was just starting to pour down once more so we did not pay to go inside. We just took photos from the outside. Cheb Castle was built in the twelfth century, and is now mostly in ruins. Its main attractions are the Chapel of St Erhard and Ursula and its Black Tower.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Fountains of Cheb.

As we wandered around Cheb we came across several interesting fountains. The first just off the main square was of a piper. On the main square there was a fountain of the Knight Roland. These are found all over Germany. Also on the main square we found the savage man fountain and then we found a fourth fountain on our way to Cheb Castle.

Savage man fountain. - Cheb

Savage man fountain. - Cheb

Fountain on route to castle. - Cheb

Fountain on route to castle. - Cheb

The Piper. - Cheb

The Piper. - Cheb

The Knight Roland fountain. - Cheb

The Knight Roland fountain. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne.

After we had wandered around Cheb we went to Frantskovy Lazne a nearby spa town. The springs in Frantiskovy Lazne were known from the fifteenth century. This is an attractive place with lots of lovely buildings, statues, fountains and colonades. Unfortunately it poured down for our entire visit which put a bit of a dampner on the day.

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Posted by irenevt 03:43 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (2)

Znojmo

Czech Republic.

sunny

View over Znojmo. - Znojmo

View over Znojmo. - Znojmo

Daytrip to Znojmo.

Znojmo is a wonderfully picturesque town in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic. It is not far from the Austrian border. Znojmo has lovely churches, a castle, town squares and fountains. It is set on a hillside sloping down to the Dyje River.

I did research Znojmo before our trip, honest, but for some reason I was convinced the Czech Republic used the Euro. I was sadly wrong; they still use the Czech crown. We were there on a Saturday afternoon. All banks and money changers (of which there were not many) were shut. Oh dear. Don't know if any restaurants would have accepted Euros. We just did not spend anything. Shame there were great looking restaurants. Znojmo was a lovely sleepy town with great view points with views towards churches, the castle and rotunda and the Dyje River

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

When we walked into the centre of the old town from the train station the first sight we came to was Wolf Tower and a stretch of city walls. It is worth having a quick look around this area if you are in Znojmo.

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda.

We could not go in to either building as we had no Czech money. There is an entrance way to the castle next to the brewery. You will go into a little building with tourist info. No need to pay here, pass through and go down the stairs. There are great views, a cafe, birds of prey and the kasse to buy tickets for the castle and rotunda. We only saw the castle from the outside not very castle like, more like a big house and under renovation. The rotunda is quite cute from the outside and supposedly has great frescoes inside. From this area there were great views over the river and towards Saint Nicholas's Church and Saint Wenceslas's Chapel.

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Main Square

Near Wolf's Tower there is a big open square containing a church, sometimes, if you are there on the right day, a market, a fountain, a plague column and some restaurants. You can see the town hall tower in the distance from here.

Main Square

Main Square

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel.

Saint Nicholas's Church dates back to around 1100. St Nicholas is the patron saint of merchants. It was free to enter the church. It was quiet and peaceful inside. St Wenceslas's Chapel had an exhibition inside and a viewpoint outside.

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

Walk Down To The River.

There is a lovely walk from the churches down to the river past vineyards and crosses. There are good views from this area. Plus it is just an interesting and attractive area to have a stroll in. If you visit Znojmo, why not take a look?

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Znojmo's old town is wonderful just to wander aimlessly around in. You will wander through many lovely colourful streets. You will walk past cafes, fountains, statues and several very lovely old churches.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Lovely inn sign. - Znojmo

Lovely inn sign. - Znojmo

Lovely painted building. - Znojmo

Lovely painted building. - Znojmo

Hostan Beer

Hostan Beer

Getting to Znojmo.

We got to Znojmo by train from Vienna. We paid 16 Euros per person for a return ticket (you must return within four days on this ticket). We boarded the train at Wien Mitte Station, but the train started from Wien Meidling Station. The journey took 1 hour 33 minutes from Wien Mitte Station. It was comfortable and the train was fairly empty and very clean.

Train To Znojmo

Train To Znojmo

Posted by irenevt 22:42 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

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