Prague: Along the Vltava, Part One

Posted in: Prague Sightseeing


Photo by Jenny & Peter
Photo by Jenny & Peter

Along the Vltava river, which Bedrich Smetana immortalized in his collection of symphonic poems “Má vlast,” now sits a museum that’s worth interrupting your riverside stroll. Go a little past the Charles Bridge and cut into the small side street of Novotneho lavka to visit the Bedrich Smetana Museum.

While the waistcoat pocket-sized museum doesn’t have the space or artifacts to compete with the Dvorak House or the Mozart Museum at Bertramka, there is nothing more Czech than listening to “Vltava” while sitting on the Vltava. Point the laser-tipped baton in the main section of the museum’s room towards any of the music stands to sample “Má Vlast,” the “Bartered Bride,” or a handful of other works by the composer.

More interestingly, and worth the price of the CZK50 (€1.75; $2.35) admission fee, is the display of Smetana’s ossicles—that is, his ear bones. They’re available for viewing under magnification among the standard mix of journals, letters, scores, and family photos.

Whether you’ve never heard of Smetana (for shame!) or can hum the “Bartered Bride” from memory, this is definitely a waistcoat pocket worth checking out.

About the author

Growing up an avid reader of outdated guidebooks and listener of Joan Sutherland LPs, Olivia Giovetti has used her love for opera to foster her love of travel. The combination of the two has allowed her to see 99% of Europe and, living off a lavish arts income, heightened her ability to travel on the cheap. Her passport gets more play than Paris Hilton during Fleet Week. A freelance writer, her publishers include New York City Opera, Classic FM, The Laputan, and Paper Magazine.

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