The Village on the Rich Mountain

liberec

Annnnndddd we’re back! Sorry, the whole jet lag thing kind of got to us last week (as well as the bazillion and a half other things that needed to be done as soon as we got home… more on that later…) but I don’t want to bore all of you with my to-do list, so instead we’ll get back to the Czech Republic! Has it already been a whole week since we’ve been back?? Side note: why is it almost JUNE already?!

After our first few days in Prague, we drove two hours north to a town called Liberec. It’s only an hour or so from the German and Polish borders and it’s one of the larger cities in the Czech Republic, and as you drive up to the city you take all of the windy, hilly, “back country” roads to get there, we barely saw a highway! But, that’s just how I remember it… between my bouts of motion sickness (I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to riding in the back seat…). It’s seated in-between some larger mountains- it was quite picturesque in my opinion!

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Liberec Town Hall

Right away, the first thing that you noticed about Liberec was the Town Hall. It was easily the largest and most grandiose building in the town square. After a bit of research, we learned of the town’s “rich” history. At one point in time it was one if the wealthiest cities in the Czech (Bohemian Empire), with it’s name derived from “the village on the rich mountain”. Pretty cool, right? Alright, I’ll quit geeking out over the history and show you what you really want- the pictures!

This place was huge! We wanted to take a tour, but they only offered them on Thursdays, and well, we needed to leave on Wednesday...

This place was huge! We wanted to take a tour, but they only offered them on Thursdays, and well, we needed to leave on Wednesday…

Most of our sight seeing had to be done on the street, as everything was closed on Mondays. But it worked out pretty well for us since just seeing some of the buildings was impressive enough- I must say, as awesome as some of our government buildings are, they just aren’t like the ones here (and I’m assuming, most of Europe… correct me if I’m wrong though!)

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Pretty impressive, right? That balcony up there under the clock was used to make important announcements to the people of Liberec. Most notably, where Conrad Henlein, rose to power & publicly swore to protect the Republic, but secretly worked alongside Hitler & eventually became his puppet… History, right?!

But, like I said, we toured this city mostly by walking around, sometimes getting completely turned around, but by that Wednesday we had gotten the hang of things, all just in time for us to leave!

DSC_1279This is the regional research library that Liberec lays claim to. It was built in the early 2000’s and stands on the site of an old Jewish Synagogue. The old Synagogue was actually destroyed on Kristallnacht during WWII. The cement structure to the left, with the Hebrew writing is a memorial to the Synagogue and the casualties of that night. They call it the Reconciliation Building and it serves as the community’s new Synagogue.

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The Reconciliation Building. Built as a joint effort between the Czech’s and the German’s and opened on the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 2000. Written around the triangle structure (triangle = half of the Star of David) is a passage from the Torah and the patterns on the pavement outside show the outline of the original synagogue.

Right across the street from the Library was a very interesting bust stop….

DSC_1285After a bit of google-ing, we discovered that it was a sculpture done by a well known and controversial Czech sculptor, David Cerny. The bus stop looks like a big table, under which those waiting for the bus sit. But on top, there are pints of beer, some sausages, and oh yeah, the bespectacled severed head with a knife and fork sticking out of it. I said he was controversial, didn’t I?

DSC_1309Overall, Liberec was really great to go and visit. I kind of wish that more was open on that first day because it kind of put a damper on our stay there. It was fantastic to go and get away from the constant hustle and bustle of Prague, where things were vastly cheaper and the English speakers fewer.

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