Kepler’s Prague: Astronomy and the music of the spheres: Czech Republic
6 days for £ 1,768 14 April and 14 September 2021
Discover the legacy of Kepler and Brahe where astronomy, maths, music and art connect in the city of a hundred spires. Our tour with author and broadcaster Jane Green will journey to the heart of early science and Prague’s medieval marvels, including the world’s oldest astronomical clock, Prague Castle, the Stefanik Observatory and the Klementinum astronomical tower.
In partnership with Kirker Holidays
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN PRAGUE
Flying direct into Prague, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the 5* Grand Hotel Bohemia in the centre of the city. The afternoon is at leisure – some may wish to explore the city’s festive markets – and you will meet Jane Green in the bar for a drink before we sit down to dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. After dinner Jane will give a talk setting the historical context of Prague in the time of Kepler & Tycho.
DAY 2: PRAGUE OLD TOWN AND THE STEFANIK OBSERVATORY
This morning you shall be met by an expert local guide who will give a guided walking tour of Prague’s mediaeval Old Town. Highlights include the Old Town Square where you will see the Prague Astronomical Clock, which is the oldest continuously functioning example in the world. There will also be a visit to the National Technical Museum including its fascinating astronomical section and Kepler exhibit and to the Tyn Church where Kepler’s mentor Tycho Brahe is buried.
Jane will accompany the group throughout the day and give a second talk after dinner this evening before accompanying you to the Stefanik Observatory where you can look beyond the boundaries of the Solar System and observe selected stars, nebulas, clusters and galaxies.
DAY 3: THE KLEMENTINUM AND BENATKY CASTLE
In the morning you will continue exploring the scientific heritage of Prague with a private guided tour of the Klementinum led by Jane. Formerly a university, the significance and importance of its astronomical tower, Meridian hall and baroque library to science and astronomy cannot be understated. The Meridian hall was once used to determine when noon occurred each day, and both Kepler and Brahe developed their ideas here.
In the afternoon, you will journey outside the city limits to Benatky Castle where Tycho Brahe lived from August 1599 to June 1600. This magnificently decorated Renaissance and Baroque palace was not only the site of Brahe’s observatory but were also home to the Czech composer Smetana.
DAY 4: KARLSTEJN CASTLE
Today you will visit the imposing Karlstejn Castle 30 miles south of Prague. Built in 1348, the castle served as a place of safety for Bohemian crown jewels, holy relics and other royal treasures as it was deemed unconquerable. The afternoon is free to return to the city centre, perhaps crossing the famous Charles Bridge, lined with gargoyles and statues, or taking a detour through the park which overlooks the River Vltava.
In the evening, we can arrange an optional visit to one of Prague’s four concert halls that offer a wide range of ballet, classical and opera. As the concert program for next year isn’t published yet, you will be contacted shortly before the tour departs with concert options.
DAY 5: NELAHOZEVES
Heading out of the city today, you will visit the village of Nelahozeves, birthplace of the composer Antonin Dvorak and home to the fine Renaissance palace of the Lobkowicz family. As well as elegant historic interiors, the palace houses a collection of paintings including works by Brueghel, Rubens and Veronese. Dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant.
DAY 6: THE CASTLES OF PRAGUE THEN DEPART
This morning is devoted to the Castle District of Prague. Starting at the Lobkowicz Palace, there will be time to explore the complex here including a visit to St Vitus Cathedral. Later in the day, you will be transferred to Prague airport for your return journey.