Saturday, January 9, 2021



                                                    ( The Dancing House )

                                                           ( The Dancing House )

                                                 ( The Dancing House at night  )
                                                     ( the Dome of the Dancing House )
                                                           ( Prague and the Vltava river )
                                                         ( Prague )
                                               ( A view from the top )

Prague , the capital Czech republic is a historic city . A beautiful city that has many baroque buildings and Gothic churches on either sides of the river Vltava . Like Jhelum , Vltava divides the city into two parts as it moves through Prague .From the Communist coup d'état in February 1948 to the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 1989, Czechoslovakia was ruled by the Communists . The country belonged to the Eastern Bloc and was a member of the Warsaw Pact and of Comecon ( headquartered at Moscow ) . In what is now known as the “Velvet divorce” ,on January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two independent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia .
The Vltava River is the waterway around which the city has developed over the past 1000 years. In Prague alone, Vltava is spanned by over thirty bridges and footbridges. Its water gently laps the edges of ten islands. Everyday , one can see dozens of steamers, rowboats and pedal boats glide through its waters. The river is the soul Prague . At 434km in length, it is the longest river in the Czech Republic.
Prague is a city of old bridges ,Baroque statues, museums , beer bars , cafes , restaurants , art galleries , river cruises, parks , old castles and happy crowds. In Prague alone , there are more than fifteen art galleries apart from several museums . Frenz Kafka ( writer and philosopher ) , Jaroslav Seifert ( Nobel laureate poet ), Karel Capek ( famous writer ), Bertha von Suttner ( Nobel laureate novelist ), Gerty Theresa Cori ( Nobel laureate medicine ), Jaroslav Heyrovsky( Nobel laureate chemistry ) ,and Alphonse Mucha ( famous artist ) were all from Prague . And then Martina Navratilova ( tennis player ), Madeline Albright ( Politician in the US ) . Rainer Maria Rike ( poet and novelist ) and Jan Hammer ( the great musician ) belong to Prague. Sigmund Freud was born in Prbor just four hours drive from Prague . The well known film director Milos Forman was a Czech from Caslav just one hour’s drive from Prague. And our Hindi writer Nirmal Verma lived in Prague for more than 10 years. He was invited by Oriental Institute to initiate a program of translation of modern Czech writers like Karel Capek, Milan Kundera, and Bohumil Hrabal, to Hindi. Presently Prague has about 500 Indians who are in business or jobs . Some of them have settled permanently.
                            ( Nirmal Verma)
Written as CZK, Czech Koruna is the currency of the Czech republic. On the conversion scale , one Czech Koruna is equivalent to about 3.50 Indian rupees .Euro may not be accepted at all places although Czech republic is a memeber of the European Union. Like at every tourist place , one needs to be careful at crowded night life area known as Wenceslas Square where some incidents of pickpocketing have been regularly reported . This area is full of strip clubs where some women go after the tourists groups and ask for a hug . Many innocent tourists have been pickpocketed during these hugs . Prague is otherwise safe and crime free.
The Czech people read a lot. They appreciate art and music. Even a cab driver or an apartment security guard can be seen reading a book if he has nothing to do. Talk to them and you find that they know who is who in music , performing arts and literatue.That makes a great society .
On the corner of Resslova Street and Rasinovo nabrezi, about a hundred metres downriver from the National Theatre, stands the best known - and the most controversial - modern building in Prague, the Tancici Dum, or Dancing Building. Featuring two curved towers "waltzing", it is also occasionally referred to as the Fred and Ginger Building. The location is a walking distance from the underground station Karlovo namesti.
The Dancing Building is the work of two men: Prague-based architect Vlado Milunic, who had the original idea for the building, and the celebrated American architect Frank Gehry, perhaps best-known for the stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Milunic first conceived of the project back in the mid-1980s, in the company of his neighbour, the then-dissident Vaclav Havel. Both men lived beside where the Dancing Building now stands. Milunic writes this :-
"First we asked Jean Nouvel, but he refused, because he said we only had 500 square metres and that's not enough for two architects. We contacted Frank Gehry, and when Frank saw my beginning, my sketches, he promised to collaborate with me on this project. From that time, the first meeting was in '92 in Geneva, to the finish of the building in '96 we made a nice building with Dutch money."
At the site of the Dancing House, an old building existed that was bombed in second world war . The debris was finally removed in 1960. The neighboring house (with a small globe on the roof) was co-owned by Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel, who lived there from his childhood until the mid-1990s. He ordered the first architectural study from Vlado Milunic (who has been involved in re-building Havel's appartment in the neighboring house). Afterwards the Dutch bank ING agreed to build a house there, and asked Milunic to invite a world-renowned architect. Milunic first asked Jean Nouvel, who rejected the invitation because of the small size of the site (491 square meters); he then asked Frank Gehry, who and he accepted the challenge. Gehry had an almost unlimited budget, because ING wanted to create an icon in Prague. The construction started in 1994 and the house was finished in 1996.
The building is an example of deconstructivist architecture, with an unusual shape. It reflects a woman and man (Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair) dancing together. Construction is from 99 concrete panels each of different shape and dimension, each therefore requiring a unique wooden form. The external fixed frames look like windows . The external view gives a 3D effect to the viewer.
Its unusual shape and technical solutions caused a big public debate. After ten years emotions are over, and the house has its place in modern Prague. In 2005 the Czech National Bank issued a gold coin with the motif of the Dancing House, as the final coin of the series "10 Centuries of Architecture."
The Dancing House is used by offices , shopkeepers , hotels and restaurants . La Perle de Prague, a well known restaurant is located on 7th floor gives a grand view with of Prague and river Vitava with some landmark buildigs . To have this view , you need to enter the restaurant and buy something .There is an art gallery also in the Dancing House . The restaurant on the rooftop is also an ideal spot to sit and relax. Everyday , this place is thronged by tourists from all over the world who go up the Dancing House to have a majestic view of river Vltava and the historic city of Prague .
If ever you decide visit Prague then learn these words to recieve hospitality and smiles from people :-
Vyborne ........Great
Velmi dobre..... Very Good
Diky za skvely pokec... It was really nice talking to you.
Dekuju...Thank you
Diky ...Thanks
Moc dekuju.. Thank you very much .
Prosim.. You are welcome (after the other person says ‚Thank you‘ )
Vazim si toho.. I appreciate it.
Moc to pro me znamena ... This means a lot to me.
Ja taky dekuju .. Thank you too..
A common phrase spoken by Czech people is ‘Trpelivost ruze prinasi‘ meaning ‘patience will bring roses‘. So , Wait for my next post ; So long so much .
( Avtar Mota )

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