Visiting Prague before the world ends
The next 28th of October will be the ninetythird anniversary of the Czechoslovakian independence day from the Austro-Hungarian empire and, coincidentally, by some accounts, mark the real end of the creation cycle by the Mayan calendar.
Since landing in Prague several years ago the majestic decadence of the Narodni Muzeum at the top of Vaclavske namesti has always inspired me apocalyptic thoughts. Especially on those misty grey mornings that are so common during the cold seasons I thought the dark menacing clouds hovering Muzeum would some day bring more than just rain.
Think about the four horseman of the Apocalypse: one of them could be the statue of St. Vaclav at the top Wenceslaw square; what a place to break the first seal.
So what would you do if you found yourself in Prague a couple of days before the end of the world. How would you make the most out of your visit?
The first tip I’d give you is to try to keep your head up. It’s incredible how after so many years one can still be amazed by all the decorations on the buildings: little details that people had carved on their house facades, symbols, monsters. I keep wondering which of these gargoyles were made for more than just breaking rainwater.
Although we’re assuming you have a weekend to stroll around you could even save yourself a visit to the grounds of Prague Castle which is anyway more interesting from distance, and especially at night, almost appearing suspended on that hill.
If I was coming to Eastern Europe for the first time I’d find it interesting to witness the two faces of Prague, the beauty of the city before 20th century and the beast of Communist architecture that valued pragmatism over anything else.
If you had time to only visit one art gallery I would pick Veletrzni Palac without hesitation with its gorgeous collection of Czechoslovak and international art.
Above all else I’d take time to savour the city slowly and to feel some of the mystical energy it irradiates during the golden hour when the red roofs of the city look almost like burning.
At last I would go to some place, order a good glass of Czech beer and wait for hell to break loose. Just because you know how it’s going to end it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good show that has been thousands of years in the making.