Church Night and Museum Night set for this weekend
Lots of venues will have special programs for free, and the 22 tram will become a moving chapel
Two events are quite similar but technically not related. Church Night (Noc kostelů) falls June 10 and Prague Museum Night (Pražská muzejní noc) is June 11. Both attempt to bring the public out to see special programs at places across the city.
Prague Museum Night, now in its 13th year, is the larger and more established of the two. Some 52 institutions will open the doors to 80 buildings. Entrance is free, except for Vyšehrad National Cultural Monument, which charges Kč 1.
As in past years, there will be free bus transportation with several lines all meeting in front of the Rudolfinum at náměstí Jana Palacha, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Note that Jewish sites are only open after 10:30 p.m. as it is a Saturday. Also, at all sites with special programs the lectures and demonstrations are in the Czech language.
Many museums have long lines, so it is best to plan whether you really want to see that one place, or move around quickly to some truly obscure sites.
Several venues of the National Gallery and National Museum are open, as well as City Museum of Prague venues and the National Technical Museum.
The Ethnographical Museum in Kinského zahrada (Kinsky Garden) is among the places with a rich program of events including folk dances, dancing lessons and improvised puppetry. This often overlooked museum has folk items from he 19th and 20th centuries from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.
The Museum of Czech Police also has a wide range of events ranging from a band concert to demonstrations of forensic techniques. The exhibitions include uniforms and accessories, and an anti-drug display.
The National Memorial on Vítkov Hill has a number of concerts, and the viewing deck on top will be open, with the last entrance at midnight. It offers a great view of Karlín and Žižkov.
People wanting a good nighttime view of the city can also check out New Town Hall and the bell tower at St. Nicholas´Church in Malá Strana.
Music lovers can visit the Antonín Dvořák Museum, the Bedřich Smetana Museum, Czech Museum of Music, Slovak House in Prague and Prague Hlahol, which all have live concerts during the evening.
Several small museums in Charles University are open, including Chlupáč Museum of Earth History, which has a dinosaur fossil, and the Museum of Human and Comparative Anatomy, which has death masks, mummies and all manner of peculiar items.
People who are curious to see the original statues from Charles Bridge can find them at the Gorlice Subterranean Hall in Vyšehrad and the Lapidarium at Výstaviště.
Church Night is actually not just in Prague, but all across the country. The aim is to bring people who don't normally go to church to go and see the buildings and meet some of the members, but it is not heavy handed in attempts to convert people. Looking is just fine, though photography is restricted in some places. The participating sites are Catholic as well as Protestant, but do not include synagogues, or mosques. Also, some churches will be holding brief services so check the schedule if you want to avoid those.
This year a highlight will be a mobile church running on the 22 line. This year the motto is “We go farther than Most,” referring to a church in the Northern Bohemian city of Most that was moved 841 meters to accommodate coal mining. The 22 tram will go more than 841 meters, hence the pun (which works better in English than in Czech). It will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. between Malovanka and Čechovo náměstí
Special guests will make appearances on the tram and whole event will be improvised. Some music is promised as well
Aside from the tram, some 312 churches and prayer centers will be open across the city. In Old Town, around Prague Castle and in Malá Strana peole can find exquisitely carved statues and altars, elaborate memorials and some strange relics including fully dressed mummies and relics.
St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle is among the most popular venues, and will have an evening including music and other events. Nearby. The Loreta will also be open and have some concerts.
Some of the oldest buildings in Prague, the Rotunda of St Martin in Prague 2 and Rotunda of the Discovery of the Holy Cross in Prague 1 will also be open. The Rotunda of St Longinus in Prague 2 will be open for only one hour, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m..
Further outside the center, many places are fine examples of modern architecure such as the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad.
Last year, some 1,483 churches and prayer rooms across the country participated and more than 450,000 people visited.
For more information on Prague Museum Night visit www.prazskamuzejninoc.cz
For more on Church Night visit www.nockostelu.cz (CZ)
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