Monday, March 20, 2017


These two little replicas of houses in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) square now sit in our living room.  The one of the left was bought when we were in Prague 15 years ago in 2002, the one on the right was bought on this trip in 2017.

Here is a picture of them "in real life":

The one on the leftt is called "The Storch House,"  The building itself is from the 15th century but was reconstructed in neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic style in 1896-1897 for the bookseller and publisher Alexander Storch.  The facade is adorned with a mural of St Wenceslas (the patron saint of Bohemia) and the three Magi.  The mural was designed by the famous Czech painter Mikol Ales.  Here are some details.

The one on the right is the House of the Stone Ram, which is named after the relief of a young girl with a ram (or unicorn). It was here that Albert Einstein played his violin for musical friends, such as Kafka. It also has a beautiful door.

Now their "children" live in Louisville on our bookcase, next to a plate I bought in a little village outside of Budapest.

PS  Though I am actually in Louisville, my blog is still wandering round Eastern Europe, as I have several more posts about Budapest and Prague, all of which are more interesting than anything happening here at home.

#Storch \House

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Prague. Baroque "Signage"

One of the more charming detail of the buildings in Prague is the way they announce their purpose or heritage.  This is usually done by some ornamental sign at the top.  In Secession houses, the sign (if there) might include the date of the building or the architect.  In the Baroque houses, especially those that line Neruda Street, coming down from the castle to the river in Mala Strana, or in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) Square, the signs are visual icons.  In some cases their meaning is clear.  The  above sign, for example, marks the House of the the Three Fiddles, which was once owned by a master violin maker.  In others, the meaning is sometimes less clear.  Also present in this premiere spot on the facade, just above the door, are religious paintings or icons, sculpted animals, or images whose meaning is hard to decode.  It is just one more detail in the very detailed landscape of the city--one more ornament, one more spot for darting eyes to land.