'The Golden City' in the heart of Europe
Built on the banks of the meandering river Vltava, Prague has for centuries been an inspiration to artists and writers, inhabitants and visitors, many of whom have declared the 'hundred-towered' city to be one of the most beautiful in the world, though one with a turbulent history.
Jan Kaplan's selection from letters, diaries, memoirs and anecdotes brilliantly evokes both the city's exhilarating creative power, so impressively visible in its buildings and art treasures, and the many dramatic events played out in its streets through the centuries. Here are eyewitness accounts of the sermons of Jan Hus, Czech forerunner of the German Reformation, the Defenestrations of Prague, beginning in 1419, the premiere night of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni in 1787, and the invasions and political upheavals of the 20th century. There are personal reflections from Petrarch, John Dee, Albert Camus, Horatio Nelson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hans Christian Andersen, George Eliot, Jan Neruda, Thomas Carlyle, Auguste Rodin, Jaroslav Seifert, Karel Capek, Graham Greene, Vaclav Havel, Franz Kafka, Ivan Klima, and more.
Together they powerfully conjure up the magic of the enduring city.