The Golden Lane

AFTER visiting the St. Vitus Cathedral and the St. George’s Basilica, the next stop in the Prague Castle complex tour was the Golden Lane.

Yes, gold, and no, the small street is not paved in gold. But it could have been if the medieval chemists, aka the 16th century alchemists, found the “reaction” that turned ordinary metal to something precious, and this was the area they looked into.

The Golden Lane at the northern bailey of the Prague Castle

No luck, the “reaction” wasn’t there. But what turned to gold in the 16th century was the lane’s name (goldsmiths were said to reside here), which sounded better than its predecessor, the Street of Alchemists or Alchemists’ Alley, because, believe it or not, none of these “scientists” actually worked or lived in the area.


The Golden Lane came about after the construction of the northern wall of the Castle. This part of the castle was where modest residences for the castle servants-gatekeepers, guards, bell-ringers, and castle marksmen were built. These small colored houses that line the wall are now the last remaining specimens of the small-scale architecture of Prague Castle, which was still used until World War II.

A glimpse into a living quarter of the past

Reels of films. Possibly a home doubled as a cinema during the 20th century.

Among the Golden Lane’s famous 20th century residents were Franz Kafka, a Czech-Jewish writer, who lived in house No. 22 from 1916 to 1917 to “write in peace,” and Jaroslav Seifart, winner of 1984 Nobel Prize for Literature and a signatory of Charter 77, an informal civic initiative in communist Czechoslovakia, who resided in the area in 1929.

House No. 12 was the temporary residence to dramatist and prose fiction writer Jiri Maranek, who found inspiration in the romantic atmosphere of the lane. And if anybody wanted a glimpse of their future, they head to House No. 14, the home of renowned Prague tarot card reader and clairvoyant Matylda Prusova aka Madame de Thebes.

It was during the period of the First Republic when a move was taken to preserve the Golden Lane. The look and character was to be retained in the course of the castle’s modifications.

Today, Golden Lane stands as another showcase of the past in the Prague Castle. While most of the residences exhibit the living quarters of the past, souvenir shops and museums are found in the area as well.

Check mate. Play the game with gothic characters.
Medieval fashion on exhibit

The staircase in house No. 12 leads to Daliborka, the terrace in front of the round cannon tower, a part of the Jagiello fortification system in the 14th century. This passage serves as a museum of armory. 

Father & child armory & weaponry set

Choose your weapon wisely….

The bird man warrior.

A museum is set along the terrace of the fortification

The bottom floor was initially used as a prison. The knight Dalibor of Kozojedy was the first and best-known prisoner in 1498, so was Baron Frantisek Antonin Spork of East Bohemia, who was an admirer and patron of art in the 18th century.
Have a seat. The throne to the tortured.

The tour of the Golden Lane ends at the connecting Dalibor Tower. It used to be the castle’s dungeon and where an interesting collection of implements can be found, those used for torture. This must be the most dreaded room in the complex’s past.
The Dalibor Tower

The way down to the dungeon.
Possibly the most dreaded room in the castle – the dungeon below the Dalibor Tower.

To whom the mold fits.

The admission ticket to the Prague Castle complex allows entry to the Golden Lane.

*****

For more travel and lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 26, 2015.


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