PRAGUE: WALK IN THE CITY OF STA TOWERS
For every real Prague citizen, the most tender month of spring begins with these lines from the poem “May” by Karel Hynek Makhi:
It was a late evening – young May,
Evening hour – languishing hour.
And the doves love voice
It sounded disturbing the dark guy.
The reasons for this, in fact, are two, and the first is that the Czechs count Karel Mach among the founders of national poetry. In Prague schools his bison poems are the same as in Moscow, say, by heart, say, a verse from Lermontov. These poets were contemporaries, both drew inspiration from the works of Byron, Mickiewicz and Pushkin. And both, the rebellious, died young, only the death of Mahi in 1836 turned out to be even more accidental and ridiculous than the death of Lermontov who was shot in a duel: the Czech poet contracted cholera – believed to have drunk while extinguishing an unclean water fire. A monument to a romantic poet — a curly-haired young man with a feather in his hand bent over a bouquet of lilacs — was installed on the slope of the Laurence Mountain above Malaya Strana, in a shady public garden. This mountain is now called Petršinsky Hill, and you can climb to the bronze poet on the cable car. It is here that on May 1, thousands of couples, which is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records, are going to lovers to enclose each other in their arms and kiss plenty of happiness under the flowering cherry trees – the Czechs have such a nice custom.
And here is the second reason: in the Czech mass consciousness the poem by Karel Mahi about the noble robber Viléme and the spring flowering of the gardens are inextricably linked – as is connected in our memory all that is beautiful to which we have become accustomed since childhood and adolescence.
If you didn’t finish the Czech school and didn’t recite Mahi’s poems, then May Day Prague is probably for you, a place for youthful class battles, sometimes quite good-natured, but sometimes even to the blood. To celebrate the International Day of Solidarity of Workers in Prague from different cities of the Czech Republic and from different countries of Europe gather flocks and groups of informal young people who profess left-wing political views.
This motley public homonits in all languages and a bunch of fun on the right bank of the Vltava near the Slavic island, preparing for a hike through the city streets. But somewhere around the corner, strong skinheads await the participants of the “left march” – activists of the local Workers’ Party and other guides of right-wing ideas. To pozadiratsya, knock, and even “in turnips” liberals shove. The police, however, do not sleep: the columns of demonstrators are always on time bred, and the few troublemakers slow down in advance.
More and more numerous tourists, who in Prague are collectively called “gentlemen from the East”, hold themselves apart from these major events of the beginning of May – and especially “home” and, so to speak, all-European. According to the Czech ideas, the East is a space approximately from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Brest and Uzhgorod. Visitors from South Korea, Japan and mighty China to disciplined groups under the control of robotic guides move from museum halls to restaurants in budget hotels. Shopping centers and beer houses are flooded with a good-natured Russian-speaking crowd, in which in recent years people have increasingly come across with victorious looks and pinned lapels of jackets or backpack belts. This symbolism, I will say frankly, is hardly read by anyone in the Czech Republic, although here they remember exactly who liberated Europe from Nazism. Do not forget, however, and how more than two decades after the Victory tanks with red stars on the towers again appeared
in Czechoslovakia – to crush the Prague Spring.
One of the Soviet armored vehicles of the Second World War, hoisted on a pedestal, a quarter of a century ago was painted pink by actual artist David Black and after a stormy public discussion, was sent to the museum. In 2011, when the twentieth anniversary of the withdrawal of Czechoslovakia from Soviet troops was celebrated in Prague, the same tank “Joseph Stalin-2” – still in pink – was allowed to swim in the pig-colored pontoon in the middle of the Vltava. Another Prague monument to soldiers-liberators, made in the party-realistic aesthetics of the late 1940s, is located in the station park, which the Prague people called the Sherwood Forest: a Soviet officer in a cloak tent accurately and firmly kisses the grateful Prague rebel on the lips. His embraces are not very similar to those that the romantic Karel Mach sang and, after him, the poets of the new Czech eras.
In Prague, signs of various times coexist without controversy. The state protects the artistically valuable monuments of socialism as carefully as the medieval Cathedral of St. Vitus, the Powder Tower or the Visegrad Castle. Prague is changing slowly, but eventually managing to keep up with the architectural fashion, adding to the already existing new and often preserving the old. This city is so good that it does not have an ideological myth, it does not have an urban most important task – although, of course, there are numerous legends and traditions.