...or, the Prague square soon to be seen round the world
This weekend, President Obama is stopping off in Prague to deliver his only public speech during his current European visit. His trip is a big deal for the Czech Republic, and already you can hear the helicopters making their practice swoops over our roofs. The U.S. embassy has cranked out its warden messages, Facebook notes, and website notices to the thousands of people who want to come to see him speak, and anyone living along the main road from the airport to downtown knows that they have to keep their windows closed, and cars should probably avoid the avenue altogether.
But if you are a resident of a country that does not sing "Kde domov můj?" at its hockey games, or drink pilsner as if it were the local ice tea, you may be wondering where exactly the President's people have chosen to have him speak, and perhaps, why?
Sunday, April 5th, at 10:00 a.m. President Obama will speak at the castle end of Hradčanské náměstí, or Hradčany Square. Pronounced h-rad-chan-skeh nam-yes-tee, Hradčanské náměstí is a long, narrow square just beyond the Prague Castle's main gates. It isn't by any means the largest square in Prague, but it has the advantage of being surrounded by buildings that are mainly museums or government buildings, the roads approaching it are easily secured, and it has a spectacular view of the castle behind it.
I thought you might be interested in seeing what the square looks like on a normal day, when perhaps thirty people are out and about on its pavement and greens, rather than thirty thousand. Please note the very vigorous guard holding a club over the right side of the gate, and his slightly stiffer, yet live, counterparts in the sentry boxes beneath him.
Edited to add: Here is a photo of Saturday's view of the Square. The guards still stand in their boxes, and I wonder if they will also be there for the speech? (Note from Monday: The guards stood sentry the entire time, even when they were behind the stage.)