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A Day in the City of a Hundred Spires

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“Prague is like a fairy tale” was the response I received multiple times when I told someone where I was studying abroad. I believe this to be true since art was the first thing I noticed in Prague. Art is everywhere: in the buildings, streets, statues, parks, museums, street vendors, opera houses, and concerts. All of this art contributes to Prague's fairy tale-like quality, as you cannot go a single day in Prague without hearing beautiful melodies played by street performers or seeing some breathtaking sites.

Walking down the streets of Prague you notice the cobblestone laid roads and each building individually unique with exquisite moldings. Geometric patterns, protruding faces, pointed arches, or spires catch your eye. Throughout the city you can see examples of Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque architecture, just to name a few.

Statues fill each center or park with a memorial to a famous person, like Jan Hus and Charles IV, or just works of art making a statement. Even if you do not know who the statue is, what the artist is attempting to say, or even understand what the statue’s plaque reads in Czech, it is still nice to stop for a moment and admire the beautiful sculptures.

Near my university, Anglo-American, taking a stroll across the Charles Bridge is a daily occurrence, and you are bound to experience a multitude of street vendors. The street vendor’s musical entertainment ranges from acoustic guitar to operatic singing. There are also plenty of street vendors creating art through paintings, jewelry, or even carvings. The first time I saw a street vendor constructing gigantic balloons, I, like the kids near me, was entertained for a long time. I attempted to pop as many bubbles as possible or see how far I could help a bubble float before it burst.

Graffiti is another piece of Prague that grabs my attention. It is rare to pass a building without some form of graffiti gracing it. I enjoy some better than others, but I do like the variety between them.

Local concerts are a typical luxury for my roommates and myself because we live so close to a large grassy square. From our short time being here we have heard a handful of concerts, my favorite being a small ensemble of wind instruments accompanied by some traditional Czech dancers.
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As Pablo Picasso stated, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I believe Picasso’s quote fits with why art captures my attention upon first arriving to Prague up until this day. Some medium of art grabs my attention on a daily occurrence, and gives me a glimpse of what Prague has to offer. These different forms of art are not common for me, but I believe Prague is individually unique in the variety and frequency of art. Prague must have the same affect on others, because as they say, Prague is like a fairy tale.
Lisa Jordahl is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a senior at St. Norbert College.

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