On our last day we traveled to Olomouc, in Moravia. After a 3 hour train ride, we met up with a former Czech exchange student, Eva, who spent a year at Moravian with us! She attends Palacky University, which is the second oldest university in the region. We were given a tour of much of Palacky by two students, both named Andrew. We were then given a lengthy history of the country by a professor of American History, who then gave us a tour of the city! Olomouc has its own astronomical clock, similar to Prague. It also has six fountains within the town squares.
A few of us were able to travel to the Modern Art Museum of Prague, and we saw some extremely interesting pieces! Artists featured in this museum range from extremely modern artists to Czech impressionists, Picasso, Braque, Van Gogh, Mucha, and architects!
We were able to ride a funicular, or a metro train up a hill, which provided us with beautiful views of the city!!
We visited the Jewish Quarter, which includes many synagogues as well as an incredible cemetery. When individuals buried their loved ones here, they had to use an area where there was room, and eventually they ran out. However, because the land had settled over time, people were able to simply use the space on top of others. The land has continued to move and settle, which has caused all of the gravestones to shift. Now, when Jewish individuals go to find their ancestors, they can find the headstone but they cannot be certain it will be exactly where their ancestor is buried.
Rabbi Judah Loew, who created the original Golem, or a monstrous creature that would allow the creator to become closer to God, is buried here at this cemetery.
Phil and Tim donned yarmulkes.
We were privileged enough to have a tour of Charles University by a professor and friend of Dr. Leeds, Dr. Vesely. We visited a few of the lecture halls and were taken on a historic tour of the main building, right next to the Estates Theatre. Charles University was the first university in central Europe.
We also visited the State Opera House in the evening, where many of us enjoyed Madama Butterfly. The opera house was beautiful, and the opera itself was magnificent!
We went to Karlstejn castle today, a short train ride away from our hotel. While Charles IV seemed to enjoy using the castle as a retreat, it was primarily built as a safeguard for both the royal and the imperial crowns. Built in the 1300s, it only took about 18 years to complete, which is amazing considering it is completely made of stone, the walls are at least 3 feet thick, and it’s a very large castle!! High up on a hill, this castle provided us with a lot of history and many great picture ops!
Mr. Hunt, Director of Housing, being a good sport, gets “ruffed up” in old-style Czech garb.
A few pictures from the day!