March 18, 2017

0367, 2868, 2986 CZECH REPUBLIC (Prague) - Historic Centre of Prague (UNESCO WHS)

0367 Prague - Old Town Square

Posted on 23.10.2012, 15.11.2016, 18.03.2017
One day, at the beginning of the new reign of laws, the aforesaid Libuše, excited by prophecy, with her husband Přemysl present and other elders of the people standing nearby, foretold thus: "I see a burg, whose fame touches the stars, situated in a forest, thirty stades distant from the village where the Vltava ends in streams. From the north the stream Brusnice in a deep valley strongly fortifies the burg; from the south a broad, very rocky mountain, called Petřín from petrae (rocks), dominated the place.

2986 Prague - Church of Mother of God before Týn

The mountain in the that spot is curved like a dolphin, a sea pig, stretching to the aforesaid stream. When you come to that place, you will find a man putting up the doorway of a house in the middle of the forest. From that event - and since even a great lord must duck under a humble threshold - the burg you will bild, you will call Prague (Praha, from prah, threshold). In this burg, one day in the future, two golden olive trees will grow up; they will reach the seventh heaven with their tops and glitter throughout the whole world with signs and miracles.

2868 Prague - Charles Bridge and city skyline on sunset

All the tribes of the land of Bohemia, and other nations too, will worship and adore them, against their enemies and with gifts. One of these will be called Greater Glory, the other, Consolation of the Army. More was to be said, if the pestilential and prophetic spirit had not fled from the image of God. Immediately passing into the primeval forest and having found the given sign, in the aforesaid place they built the burg of Prague, mistress of all Bohemia."

So says the legend - transcribed by Cosmas of Prague (1045-1125) in Chronica Boëmorum (Chronicle of Bohemians) - that it was founded the Prague, in 7th century. Libuše was the youngest daughter of the mythical Czech ruler Krok, who was chosen by her father as his successor. Although she proved a wise leader, the male part of the tribe forced her to choose a male prince. Possessing prophetic powers, she related a vision where she saw a farmer with one broken sandal, ploughing a field. Her councilmen found this man, named Přemysl, and the duchess married to him.

This was the beginning of the Přemyslid dynasty, which reigned in Bohemia and Moravia until 1306, and partly also in Hungary, Silesia, Austria and Poland. Therefore Libuše is considered an ancestor of this dynasty and of the Czech people as whole. The prophecy about the city has come true, because Prague was and is the undisputed political, ecclesiastical, economic and intellectual capital of the Czech Lands, being along time the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors, and later an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire.

UNESCO considers that this city "represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs", and therefore included its historic centre in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1992. The Old Town Square and the surrounding quarter is lined with wonderful buildings in different architectural styles, from Gothic to Baroque. The Church of Mother of God before Týn, probably the most recognizable church in Prague, dominates the square. Its construction started in the 14th century in the late Gothic style, but the spires were finished in 1511.

In front of the church is the historic Týn School, an arcaded Gothic building that gives access to the church. To the left of the church can be seen the House At The Stone Bell, built in Gothic style in the second half of the 13th century, and rebuilt later into Baroque and Neo-Baroque style. A difficult reconstruction in the 1980s return the Gothic image to the house. Its front face is considered one of the most beautiful ones in Europe, illustrating the magnificence in the times of Charles IV, who transformed Prague into an imperial capital, the third-largest city in Europe, after Rome and Constantinopole.

As suggests the house's name, it was called after a stone bell, whose replica is placed at the corner of the building. Next to the left is the Goltz-Kinský Palace, originally built in Rococo style between 1755 and 1765. After the death of Count Goltz, the palace was bought by Kinsky family who stayed there until 1945. The building is also connected with the names of some famous people. Austrian writer, baroness Bertha von Suttner, the first person awarded the Nobel Piece Prize in 1905, was born in this palace in 1843. The palace used to serve as a German speaking grammar school that was attended by Franz Kafka. His father had a small kiosk on the ground floor of the palace.

In the lower left corner (the north-east corner of the square) is the Jan Hus Monument, erected in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer's death at the stake. It is the work of Ladislav Šaloun, inspired by the famous sculptures of the French artist Auguste Rodin. On the south side of the square are some buildings with colorful Renaissance and Baroque façades, like the Štorch House, At the Stone Table, At the Golden Unicorn, At the Stone Ram, At the Red Fox and At the Blue Star. These names had a practical purpose: in the past houses were not numbered so they were identified by their name.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0367

The stamp was issued on March 7, 2012, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists (JCMF), one of the oldest, still existing learned societies in the Czech Republic.

On the postcard 2868
The stamp is a Postcrossing stamp, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2986
The stamp is one of the two of the series Folk Architecture, issued on February 23, 2011.
• A
• E - It's on the postcard 2986

The Chronicle of the Czechs, by Cosmas of Prague (translated by Lisa Wolverton) - Google Book
Old Town Square (Prague) - Wikipedia
Prague, Old Town Square - A View on Cities
Old Town Square -
Historic Centre of Prague - UNESCO official site
Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists stamp - International Stamp News

Sender 0367: Katka (direct swap)
Sent from Prague (Czech Republic), on 07.05.2012
Sender 2868: Mihnea Răducu and the postcrossers who participated to the Postcrossing meet-up which held in Prague on November 4, 2016
Sent from Prague (Czech Republic), on 05.11.2016
Sender 2868: Nicole / NikkiAllen (postcrossing) CZ-1144719
Sent from Prague (Czech Republic), on 13.03.2017
Photo: Milan Kinkl

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