Programme for accompanying persons
Monday, 3rd October 2011, 9:30 am
ST Wenceslas Vineyard, Castle Gardens and the Richter Villa with wine tasting and lunch
Prague sightseeing tour (all day).
Dress: ordinary, comfortable shoes for walking on Prague’s historical cobblestones
The St Wenceslas Vineyard with the Classicist summerhouse – the Richter Villa (A.D. 1836) – after several years of reconstruction this site at Prague Castle had its grand opening in September 2008. The precinct of this national cultural monument, encompassed by a high perimeter wall, occupies a dominant location on a rock promontory above the Old Castle Steps between Klárov and Jelení Příkop (Deer Moat).
The revitalised St Wenceslas Vineyard takes up the central part of the precinct. According to legend this is the oldest vineyard in Bohemia tended by the “lord of the vines”, Prince Václav (Good King Wenceslas), patron saint of the Czech Lands. The revitalised vineyard was opened to the public in the year of the anniversary of 1100 years of St Wenceslas’ birth. The history of the lands is therefore closely linked to the origin of the Czech state and the adoption of Christianity. The precinct is particularly exceptional because this unusually well positioned land in the heart of the city has maintained an unchanged appearance.
Its dominant feature is the Classicist summerhouse – the Richter Villa with its north and south facing terraces and also the adjacent arbour dividing St Wenceslas Vineyard along its whole length into north and south sections. The Richter Villa is the second most famous Classicist structure in Prague after the Kinský Summerhouse.
The unique location of the precinct affords uninterrupted panoramic views of the Old Town, Malá Strana and the Belveder summerhouse.
Tuesday, 4th October 2011, 9:00 am
Excursion to Karlovy Vary
Field trip to Karlovy Vary (all day).
In the heart of Europe, in western Bohemia, between the Ore Mountains and Slavkov Forest, as Bohemian King Charles IV in the 14th century was galloping along on his horse, his retinue by chance discovered a hot spring. The emperor soon after attributed healing powers to the spring, persuaded by his own experience. According to legend he had a town built around this miraculous spring and to this day it still prospers thanks to these mineral springs and its fame reaches far beyond the borders of this country.
The town was founded in the second half of the 14th century under the instructions of King Charles IV. It only began to flourish, however, 200 years later. In the 17th century Karlovy Vary faced suffering due to the Thirty Years’ War and natural catastrophes. The town soon got over the consequences of these catastrophes and was able to continue in its balneal, architectural and cultural development. As time went by, the spa town became ever more popular. This was helped by the fact that rich nobility used to come to take the waters. The most illustrious patient of Karlovy Vary was, without a doubt, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great. The appearance of the historical core of the town was heavily influenced by 19th century Art Nouveau.
The fame of the spa grew along with the visits of famous people. Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) became more and more the site of important meetings. The spa town was visited by the crème de la crème of scientists, politicians and artists of the 19th century, such as Beethoven, Emperor Franz Joseph I, Dobrovský, Paganini, Chopin, Mozart, Gogol, Tyl, Barrande, Purkyně, and Freud, to mention but a few.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Karlovy Vary was the most famous spa town in Europe. Both world wars, however, reduced the number of visitors to a fraction of that of the pre-war days. After the end of the Second World War, Karlovy Vary’s joy was short-lived. In 1948 the mineral springs and sanatoria were nationalised. The clientele narrowed down to citizens of the then Soviet Union. Only after the Velvet Revolution (1989) did tourists start to return to Karlovy Vary. Since then the numbers of visitors to the spas has begun to rise again.
Wednesday, 5th October 2011Prague Old Town sightseeing tour
The Sights of Prague, 9:00 am
Dress: ordinary, comfortable shoes for walking
Steam Boat Trip along the River Vltava, 1.30 pm
Dress: normal, comfortable shoes for walking
Departure by steam boat from the embankment below Hotel Intercontinental to Troja, lunch on the boat.
Visit to Prague Zoo, talking to zookeepers, curators, colleagues…
Thursday, 6th October 2011, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm
Trip to Karlštejn Castle
Field trip (half day).
Dress: ordinary, comfortable shoes
Karlštejn Castle, founded in 1348, enjoys a wholly exceptional status amongst Czech castles. It was built by the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, as a place for keeping royal treasures, mainly collections of holy relics and the Imperial crown jewels. In the year 1355, Charles IV began spending time at the castle, overseeing its completion and the interior décor, especially that of the castle chapels. The construction of the castle was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.
Utterly unique original wall paintings from the 14th century, a set of 129 panel paintings by Master Thoedoric in the Chapel of the Holy Cross (the largest in the world), the largest portrait gallery of Czech rulers in the Czech Republic, exhibited replica of the St Wenceslas Crown used by Czech kings, remarkable castle well.