After returning last month from a trip that included Lower Bohemia in the Czech Republic, I found that many people were not even aware that there is a place that can be called Bohemian referring to a geographic area.
Growing up in an area of Chicago that was full of immigrant families from Bohemia, I just took it for granted that our neighbors from Central Europe were a friendly bunch who made great dumplings and roast pork. I treasure the recipes that were handed down to me and every once in a while toss calories to the wind and cook up a dumpling storm.
But this recent trip to Prague and Cesky Krumlov(above) not only brought back the delicious food, but a culture and architecture I knew little about. We visited Wenceslas Square, site of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which rejected the Communism they had been living under since 1948. This revolutionary spirit still lives on, as we found ourselves in the middle of a peaceful protest parade accompanied by beating drums which was accompanied by signs protesting a local government official. The crowds on the main pedestrian streets were friendly and took it all in stride.
But being an Architectural Historian, it was the architecture that made the trip unforgettable. Be it a church begun in the 14th century or an art deco cafe, they were all so well preserved and achingly beautiful. We preservationists in the U.S. often say that it is poverty that is responsible for preserving our architectural heritage. If people can't afford to tear down or "improve" buildings, they still retain their integrity, even if they need to be repaired or restored to their former glory. I saw a real effort by the government and private owners to maintain the treasures of Bohemia. The following are some of the beautiful vistas of Prague.
Brought to you by Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource for Delaware and Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.