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Prague
Bohemian Rhapsody:
Storming Pražský Hrad
(Dispatch #4)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

Gothic statue at the Prague Castle

t's the most significant monument of the Czech Republic and one of the country's most important cultural institutions.

It's also in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest one of its kind.

And, most importantly, my "band of merry media" and I – journalists, bloggers, social media experts and photographers invited along by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample its premium-escorted Bohemian Rhapsody journey – are about to storm it.

Storm what? Another brewery?

No. Pražský Hrad, or Prague Castle.

wooden door at the Prague Castle

Sans armor, clubs, longbows, broad swords and boulder-laden catapults, we're taking on this massive fortress the only way we know how: with our cameras.

Lens caps off?

CHARGE!

Jaroslav, Insight's Prague-based, art-historian guide

Leading our platoon of watermark-savvy shooters is Jaroslav, Insight's Prague-based, art-historian guide, while Neira, Insight's Bohemian Rhapsody tour director-slash-storyteller, brings up the rear to ensure none of us lags behind (read, gets lost).

For added insurance, we're all given a small radio receiver and an ear bud – standard issue on all Insight journeys – so that we can listen to our guide's running commentary and know immediately when we've drifted too far from the pack. Like now, the audio just dropped off. YIKES! I'd better get moving.

at the Prague Castle

Covering 70,000 sq m of real estate, at a length of 570 m and an average width of 130 m, Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the largest ancient fortified structure on the planet.

scenes at the Prague Castle

Perched atop a hill in the Hradčany district, with panoramic views of the city below, the Prague Castle dates all the way back to the ninth century when absolute power was the norm and thrones were kept warm by the kings of Bohemia and the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. More recent, leaders of old Czechoslovakia ruled from this spot, and, today, the president of the Czech Republic both resides and governs an electorate of 10.5M from inside the palace-like Prague Castle.

St. Vitus Cathedral

While the lion's share of the castle is closed to the public, including a hidden room where the country's crown jewels are tucked away under lock and key, the real star of the castle grounds is the iconic Katedrála svatého Víta, or St. Vitus Cathedral.

exterior and interior views of the St. Vitus Cathedral

Construction of the first of many buildings that form the cathedral was commissioned by Wenceslaus I, the Duke of Bohemia, in 930. An inspiring example of Gothic architecture – with its signature flying buttresses and touches of Romanesque, Rennaissance and Baroque thrown in for good measure over the ensuing 1,000 years – the cathedral contains numerous tombs where many of the aforementioned kings and emperors are buried.

tall spires of the St. Vitus Cathedral

The Czech Republic's most revered house of worship, St. Vitus Cathedral dominates the scene and towers high above the city.

It's tall spires, practically scraping the sky, are never far from view down there, among the masses.

This amazing architectural masterpiece is, without a doubt, a must-see landmark when drawing up your own battle plan to storm Prague Castle.

Insight Vacation's Bohemian Rhapsody brochure

For complete information on Insight Vacations' premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Bohemian Rhapsody and 100 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

the Charles Bridge

A quick break to regroup and take in some of those postcard-perfect panoramas of Prague, our band of merry media will be moving out shortly down the hill, past the oldest vineyard in the city, and make its way to the very spot where Mr. Phelps took the plunge into the Vltava River during the filming of Mission Impossible.

This dispatch will self destruct in ten seconds.

Related Articles:
Bohemian Rhapsody: Na Zdraví! (A Brewery and A Wine Cellar); Bohemian Rhapsody: Dobrý Den!; Bohemian Rhapsody: Between Cairo and Berlin; Czeching Out A Bohemian Rhapsody; Postcards from Prague; The Czech Republic – A Little Jewel, Part 2




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal




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