By Elizabeth Kachavos, Georgetown University
As an Art History and English major, there were plenty of classes that I knew I wanted to take while I was here in Prague. This semester I’m enrolled in Modern Czech Art, Contemporary Czech Culture, Art and Architecture of Prague, and Modern Czech Literature in addition to Czech Language.
My favorite part about my classes is the “out” classes, or the times when our classes meet out in the city rather than at the study center. On Wednesdays I only have Modern Art then Art and Architecture, and both of them are out classes that day, so basically I spend my entire class day touring the city (and it doesn’t hurt to not have to go into school that day!).
For example, one Wednesday I met up with my Modern Art class at the Golden Ring Gallery in Old Town Square to see some contemporary Czech art in this exhibit called “After Velvet”, and right afterwards I headed across the square to the Old Town Hall which I toured with my Art and Architecture class.
Some of my favorite places I’ve been with my classes are Jewish Town and the House of the Black Madonna. In Jewish Town we saw many synagogues, including the Old-New Synagogue, an early Gothic building, as well as the Spanish Synagogue, a really gorgeous building with ornate, arabesque decorations. We also saw the Old Jewish Cemetery, which was really cool. At the House of the Black Madonna we discussed the design of the building (it is one of the finest examples of Cubist Architecture, a style only found in the Czech Republic). We also went to the Museum of Czech Cubism, which is housed inside the building.
For my other classes we’ve done things out in the city too. In Modern Lit we did a walking tour of Mala Strana, and stopped by all the places that were mentioned in the literature we had read. And for Contemporary Czech Culture class, we went on a field trip to Těšnov, a legal graffiti site in Prague. We also saw this awesome new Czech movie called Alois Nebel. The film is about a Czech railway man living during the time of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 who is haunted by past memories following World War II. The film was created using rotoscope animation, a technique where real actors are used in the initial filming, but the scenes are animated afterwards. The film was really visually cool, and it is the Czech Republic’s submission to the 2012 Academy Awards for “Best Foreign Language Film”.
Anyways, school has been busy lately because of midterm week and some presentations that I’ve had to do for classes. Luckily I’ve been able to fit in some sightseeing in Prague as well as travels outside of the city (which I’ll talk about in a later post!)