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Independent Prague: Architecture and the Arts

Program Number: 9952RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/7/2013 - 9/15/2013; 9/13/2014 - 9/21/2014; 9/27/2014 - 10/5/2014; 10/25/2014 - 11/2/2014; 11/8/2014 - 11/16/2014; 3/7/2015 - 3/15/2015; 4/5/2015 - 4/13/2015; 4/18/2015 - 4/26/2015; 5/30/2015 - 6/7/2015; 6/13/2015 - 6/21/2015; 9/19/2015 - 9/27/2015; 10/3/2015 - 10/11/2015; 11/11/2015 - 11/19/2015; 11/21/2015 - 11/29/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Czech Republic
Price starting at: $1,148.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 9; 7 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The sun glows pale orange on the hazy silhouettes of the Charles Bridge statues, casting humble light on the centuries-old emblem of this medieval city. Marked by the marriage of old and new, a position enhanced over the past decade by the ongoing influx of ideas and innovations brought on by the fall of Communism, Prague is a living archive of architectural styles and artistic inspirations. Expert-led and independent explorations, as well as intriguing lectures, introduce the heart of Central Europe.




Highlights

• Local scholars and resident experts contribute to detailed and personalized guides for use during independent exploration.
• Enjoy a classical music concert in the beautiful St. Nicolas Church at Prague's Lesser Town square.
• Lectures address composers Janacek and Dvorak, the Hapsburg Empire and the European Union.



Activity Particulars

Walking on uneven terrain and cobblestone streets.



Included in the Program Only Price: Seven nights hotel accommodation, breakfasts during the program, two dinners and two lunches, six lectures by local experts, two escorted field trips, detailed outlines for four self-directed excursions, substantial free time. Not included: Airport transfers.




Date Specific Information

9-7-2013, 9-13-2014, 9-27-2014, 10-25-2014, 11-8-2014, 3-7-2015, 4-5-2015, 4-18-2015, 5-30-2015, 6-13-2015, 9-19-2015, 10-3-2015, 11-11-2015, 11-21-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Prague, 7 nights; departure



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Prague
7 nights
Departure

With expert input from Dr. Zdenek Barta, Dr. Jiri Holub and other local guides, the “Paris of Central Europe” lies at your feet, waiting to be discovered. Insider tips and detailed documents augment your independent explorations in and around Prague’s historic squares, castles, art museums and 21st-century surprises. Professors and art historians present lectures on Prague architecture, from Gothic and Art Nouveau to the new economy. Guides introduce the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle, while self-guided excursions may lead you to Petrín Hill for an unforgettable view of the city, or to Malá Strana, the charming eighth-century quarter. Wherever you go, indulge in the abundance of cuisine, both traditional Czech and new European, and make sure to enjoy the locally brewed Pilsner.




Czech Republic

With more than 1,000 years of human history involving princes and tribes, oppressive regimes and an ongoing struggle for national definition, the Czech Republic was finally established in 1993. Liberated from Communism by the Velvet Revolution, the country today can boast freely about its sacred and secular architecture, pristine mountains, artistic and folk traditions, and since 2004, its membership in the European Union.



Accommodations
Family-style hotel in a quiet part of Prague, only 15 minutes walking distance or two tram stops from the city center and famous historical sites such as the Charles Bridge and the National Theater. The hotel was built in 1910 and has been beautifully restored.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Tomas Brychta

A native of Prague, Tomas Brychta has been a coordinator, leader and instructor of Road Scholar programs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia since 1992. He is the owner and CEO of Scantravel, an agency focused on educational services for foreign visitors to the Czech Republic, and is also the owner of the Hotel Petr in Prague. Travel is a passion for Tomas, and he has not only visited almost all of Europe, Egypt, Turkey, Uganda, India, North America, the former Soviet Union, and New Zealand, but speaks Czech, English, German, and Russian. When not spending time with his family, Tomas enjoys hiking, skiing, swimming, yachting and, of course, Road Scholar programs!
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
  Prague, Czech Republic 7 nights
 Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Ibis Prague Old Town Hotel is located in the heart of Prague. Prague is a historical crossroad where many merchants, artists and scientists met in the Middle Ages. It is known as "The Golden Prague," "City of Towers" and the "Heart of Europe."
  Contact info: Na Porici 5
Prague,  110 00 Czech Republic
phone: +420 266000999
web: www.hotelibis.cz
  Room amenities: Each room has a flat screen television, WIFI Internet access, air conditioning, telephone, and hair dryers and irons available at reception.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lobby bar with free WIFI Internet access and computer corner, laundry service and air conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Prague, Czech Republic. 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town that night.
  End of Program:
Prague, Czech Republic. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available at the hotel for a fee.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: From the airport to the hotel, you can take bus 100, then change to Underground B at Zlicin. Get off at Andel. Costs approx. 26 CZK. It is a 10-minute walk to the hotel from there.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Prague
  Nearest city or town:  N/A
  Nearest highway: Highway D5
  Nearest airport:  Ruzyne-Prague International Airport
  Transportation to site: Take the AAA taxi service from the airport directly to the hotel. There is an information desk in the arrival hall of the airport. Price is according to the taxi meter, so make sure that the driver has it turned on (approx. 600-650 CZK).
  From End of Program
  Location: Prague
  Transportation from site: The hotel can assist you in calling a taxi. Cost is approximately 600-650 CZK.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Saturday, September 7)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada for international overnight flight to Prague.

Day 2: Welcome to Prague
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Morning: Arrival at Prague International airport (PRG).
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and settle in. Meet in the hotel lobby for an orientation and general information meeting at 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Lesser Town / Charles Bridge / Old Town
(Monday, September 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Learn about some of the oldest styles of architecture in Prague during a discussion and lecture with slideshow. See visual examples of everything from Romanesque to Baroque architecture, and hear the stories that surround these incredible Prague monuments. At this time, you will be given detailed information about the many buildings you will see during your guided and independent explorations of Prague.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Witness the historical center of Prague for the first time on a bus excursion through its city streets. We will pass the elegant Paris Street (Parizska Street) with its art nouveau houses, the fascinating Jewish Ghetto, and even enjoy a short break in front of the Astronomical clock. We will also see the historic Charles Bridge, which was once the only way to cross the Vltava River and connect the Old Town to Prague Castle.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Architecture of Prague / Prague Castle
(Tuesday, September 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Expand your knowledge on Prague's architecture during this second discussion and lecture with slideshow. You will cover architectural styles from Classicism to present day, focusing on 19th and 20th-century styles.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Discover the wonders of Prague Castle, home of Bohemian kings and a textbook of Prague architecture itself! Standing tall amidst the magnificent Hradcany District, or Castle District, it is said to be the biggest castle in the world. Let generations of Prague architecture unfold before you as you explore the Prague Castle complex, including the Saint Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: History and Geography of Czech Republic
(Wednesday, September 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Delve into the past during this discussion and lecture on the history and geography of the Czech Republic and other post-communist countries. You will learn about the exciting history of this small country, landlocked between big empires. See World War II through the eyes of your lecturers, as they tell their own personal stories of this time period in Prague.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. You will be given a detailed handout with options on where to go during independent excursions. Perhaps you would like to take a walk through the Old Jewish Cemetery, Europe's oldest Jewish burial ground. Dating back to the 15th century, this cemetery gives account to generations of Jews who lived in the ghetto of Prague. Or visit the Old-New Synagogue, a surviving monument of Prague's Jewish Town and one of Prague's first Gothic buildings. Marvel at the Gothic gables and buttresses alongside those who still gather here to worship.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Czech Fine Arts
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Follow the trail of Czech Fine Arts from ancient times to present day, and learn about the many personalities of the Czech Art School, during this morning's discussion and lecture. This lecture is an excellent introduction for a self-guided visit to the National Gallery, which includes exhibitions on Czech Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Cubism.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. You may want to explore the Trade Fair Palace, an incredible exhibition in the National Gallery dedicated to Czech art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Inspired by everything from fairytales and the countryside to socialism and WWII, the artists on display illuminate the life and culture of this great country.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Czechs - A Nation of Musicians
(Friday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take in a stimulating discussion and lecture entitled "Czechs - A Nation of Musicians." Your lecturer will introduce you to such Czech composers as Smetana and Dvorak, and give insight on Mozart's stay in Prague. Ponder what you have learned as you listen to various musical works by Czech composers.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Use this time to explore Kampa Island located near the Charles Bridge in the center of Prague. Separated from the Lesser Town by a channel called Devil's Stream, Kampa is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. The old mills that are preserved here, and the charming houses that border the water's edge, are worth the visit.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Classical Concert
(Saturday, September 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Get acquainted firsthand with the impact of communist rule and the changes following the fall of the Iron Curtain, during a discussion and lecture entitled "Challenges of European Integration." The personal experiences of your lecturer will deepen your understanding of this time period.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Use your last afternoon to explore an area of Prague you have yet to encounter. In the late afternoon, we journey to the Church of St. Nicolas in the Lesser Town where we enjoy a classical concert! The church is among the leading Baroque monuments in Europe and is said to be the most beautiful in the Czech Republic. Surrounded by the grandeur of Baroque style, revel in the music of old masters.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ibis Prague Old Town
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departures
(Sunday, September 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the Prague International airport (PRG) for departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Prague Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia
The Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia is a wonderful exhibition of medieval art in Bohemia and Central Europe, spanning from 1200 to 1550 AD. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
  Mucha Museum
Situated in the 18th century Kaunitz Palace, the Mucha Museum displays the work of Alphonse Mucha, most widely known for the posters he made for Sarah Bernhardt in the fashionable world of fin-de-siècle Paris. On display are over 100 paintings, photographs, charcoal drawings, pastels, lithographs and personal memorabilia celebrating the life and work of this Art Nouveau artist. For additional information, visit www.mucha.cz
  Sternberg Palace
The value of European art from the Classical Era to the close of Baroque is seen on permanent display, at the Sternberg Palace. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
  Trade Fair Palace
The Trade Fair Palace holds magnificent art from the 20th and 21st centuries. An English audio-guide is available, and a glass panoramic elevator enhances your view of this art all the way to the 5th floor. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Traveller's Companion to Prague


Author: Jan Kaplan (Editor)


Description: A portrait of the city, its neighborhoods, architecture, society and culture as seen through the eyes of writers over the centuries, including Petrarch, Hans Christian Anderson, Graham Greene and Patrick Leigh Fermor.



Baroque and Rococo Art


Author: Germain Bazin


Description: An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.



Beyond the Chestnut Trees


Author: Maria Bauer


Description: Bauer interweaves recollections of her youth in Prague with an account of a return visit 40 years later in this affectionate, classic memoir.



Dvorak and His World


Author: Michael Beckerman


Description: A fascinating view of the Czech composer's personal life and his influence on the world around him.



Eyewitness Guide Prague


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This superb guide features color photography, dozens of excellent maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the celebrated city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.



Frommer's Prague Day by Day


Author: Mark Baker


Description: This handy, compact guide includes a separate fold-out map of the city center and detailed itineraries for experiencing the best of Prague.



I Served the King of England


Author: Bohumil Hrabal


Description: A rollicking trip through the history of 20th century Czechoslovakia, Hrabal's comic masterpiece follows the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism,



Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.



Open Letters, Selected Writings: 1965 - 1990


Author: Vaclav Havel, Paul Wilson (Editor)


Description: This inspired anthology of writings by the Czech poet-president Vaclav Havel collects 25 essays, letters and speeches written between 1965 and 1990, including those that directly influenced the Polish Solidarity movement.



Prague Map


Author: Berndtson & Berndtson


Description: A laminated, detailed map of the center of Prague at a scale of 1:10,000.



Prague in Black and Gold, Scenes from Life in a European City


Author: Peter Demetz


Description: Both a history and accessible guide to the neighborhoods and architecture of the city.



Prague in Danger


Author: Peter Demetz


Description: Read this memoir for its prose and portrait of Prague during a pivotal time. Peter Demetz adroitly combines history, biography and memoir is this page-turning portrait of his beloved city during the War. Demetz (Prague in Black and Gold) vividly chronicles the lives of his young friends family, film, poetry, theater and music, terror and resistance from 1939-45, the six years Prague was under Nazi occupation.



Prague, A Cultural History


Author: Richard Burton


Description: A marvelous, intellectually stimulating portrait of Prague, and especially of its role as an inspiration for writers and artists, in the series Cities of the Imagination.



Prague, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Paul Wilson (Editor)


Description: This anthology of 24 vivid stories by Czech writers, contemporary and well-known, brings the city, history history, spirit and people to life and includes a helpful map for the traveler.



The Complete Stories


Author: Franz Kafka


Description: All of Kafka's stories, including The Metamorphosis, A Hunger Artist, and In The Penal Colony.



The Czech Reader, History, Culture, Politics


Author: Jan Bazant (Editor)


Description: A fascinating survey of Czech history, culture and politics, part of the World Readers series, and composed of the writings and impressions of luminaries, leaders and ordinary Czechs. Among the highlights are Joan of Arc’s letter to the Hussites, the composer Antonin Dvorak’s letter from the New World and literary selections from Kafka, Kundera and Vaclav Havel.



The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague


Author: Timothy Garton Ash


Description: With a chapter each on Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague, this eyewitness account by an astute journalist and historian shows these vibrant cities during a time of great change.



The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Author: Milan Kundera


Description: Kundera's intriguing novel, praised for its meditations on the nature of men and women, and on the fearful emptiness of life in Prague under Communist rule. We also carry Kundera’s collection of short stories The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.



Time's Magpie, A Walk in Prague


Author: Myla Goldberg


Description: A delightful walking tour of Prague by the bestselling author of "Bee Season."





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