Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prague III: The National Museum, Fountains, & Monuments

I know this is the part where I'm supposed to rave about how much we learned on our trip, and compliment the curators at the Czech Republic's National Museum, but I'm going to have to give this one a poor review. Prague - on the whole - has a lot of museums, all of which I'm sure are wonderful. I'm also sure that one weekend isn't enough time to see them, so we decided to go to "the big one" instead of a few smaller selections. That was a mistake. Prague's National Museum features one of the best collection of dust-covered taxidermy and rocks that I've ever seen, but aside from its vast halls full of dead and decaying matter (a bonus when accompanied by other Interesting Things) I was unimpressed. I guess when the nations were pillaging / raiding and stealing national treasures from their neighbors, the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia, as it was back then) grabbed all the dead birds and hoarded them for itself. And dead fish. Did I mention there were three rooms full of dead fish? I was not impressed.

1) A box full of rocks - the gold coloured ones.

2) Mr. Fudge's big brother.

I think part of the problem is that I'm really used to learning museums where the artefacts have a certain context and signage attempts to explain each exhibit's place in "The Big Picture." This one was more of a Victorian box exhibit, which is fine when you're a geologist looking at shelves of rocks. But I'm a student of English, and unless there's more than a Latin subscript attached to an exhibit I don't know why its relevant. In their defense, they did offer audio tours. We could have tried that. Personally, I had a good time dragging the other two around and touching the big rocks on pedestals while security wasn't looking. I decided after the National Museum of Wales that we should continue to get pictures of ourselves touching things in museums. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

3) Touching a giant quartz crystal.

4) Touching a giant clam shell.

All in all, it only took us an hour and a half to see the whole thing. And really, it wasn't dreadfully boring for anyone but Gager. The building itself, however, is remarkably beautiful. It's one of the more impressive museums I've seen since coming to Europe (and the UK, but don't try telling them they're European). It's definitely one of the more iconic buildings in the city, that's for sure. I think buildings with large domes tend to stick out in my head, but I wonder why that is... Probably a cultural thing best left for later examination. Oh, and the museum was free for us to visit (as you can see, they were having some sort of national-celebratory-thing) but it usually costs 70 Koronas (around $3.50 US).

And now it's time for the monuments and fountains. I'm not even going to attempt to remember their names or locations, so just scroll through the pictures and think about how pretty they are. Oh, and that famous statue of St. Charles is included in the post about the Charles Bridge - that just seemed like the logical place to put it. He's the big green guy; Chris tells us that you can rub him for good luck and to return again or something. Beats tossing coins into Trevi fountain, I guess.

Monuments and Fountains

Other Clock Towers

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