Few people have had as much influence on modern European history as Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina, the only female who ruled the Hapsburg empire. While touring central Europe on a river cruise Kongo got up close and personal with Maria Theresa. Actually, you couldn’t help but get to know her since she had something to do with just about everything you could take a picture of from Budapest to Prague. The picture above depicts Maria Theresa in Bratislava, which is now the capital of Slovakia. Continue reading “Maria Theresa: Europe’s Mother-in-Law”
Kongo really likes visiting very old churches. Saint Barbara’s Church in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic really fits the bill. This fantastic Gothic church is a UNESCO world heritage site and deservedly so. Santa Barbara is the patron saint of miners and Kutná Hora was the site of extensive silver mines that were under development as early as the 12th century. This church has everything from unusual statues inside, flying buttresses, exquisite stained glass, and a killer view. Continue reading “Saint Barbara’s Church: Kutna Hora”
One thing Kongo noticed as he travelled about central Europe in areas that were once part of the Soviet bloc was graffiti. From Budapest to Prague and most everywhere in between graffiti was common and it wasn’t just in depressed areas or neighborhoods where you might suspect gang activity like you might see in the United States. In most of these places graffiti was common in the beautiful parts of the cities on historical buildings, on landmarks, in areas where you would least expect to see it. So, Kongo wondered, what’s up with all the graffiti? Continue reading ““We got democracy.””
Kongo visited the “Bone Church” in Sedlec, Czech Repubulic (near Kutna Hora), a town dating from the 13th century located about two hours outside of Prague (depending on traffic, road construction, and tour guides).
In the 1200s an abbot returned from Jerusalem with a bag of dirt from the Holy Lands and sprinkled a handful on the graveyard at the small chapel of the Queen of All Saints outside the medieval silver mining town of Kutna Hora. This made the cemetery so popular that people from all over central Europe wanted to be buried there. This really was one of those “to die for” places at the top of everyone’s last resting place list.
Kongo spent the day roaming about Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He visited the must-see Prague Castle area, wandered in and out of churches and palaces over 1,000 years old, took a lunch cruise along the Vltava River, strolled through the old Jewish quarter, browsed the square in Old Town, and stood in a crowd of several hundred people to watch the hourly show of mechanical machinations at the astronomical clock. In other words, all the monkey tourist things but this was his first visit to the city so perhaps Kongo can be forgiven for staying on the main jungle trails. While Prague has some down sides, they’re hardly worth mentioning here (maybe later) but for now, all Kongo can say is, “WOW!” Continue reading “Perfect Prague”
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