18-24 April 2014 #703

Bringing Bohemia to Nepal

Someplace Else by Ayesha Shakya

Czech Castles: National Museum of Czech Republic
Situated in the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic is seeped in history and abound with cultural treasures. The government has taken great care to preserve its architecture despite the wars and see-sawing frontiers that have ravaged Europe in the past.

From early Romanesque influences to the popularity of Gothic and Baroque architecture, the nation boasts one of the highest numbers of medieval structures and can be endearingly called ‘a country of castles and chateaux’. With 37 of the most interesting castles and chateaux on display, the exhibition Czech Castles at the Siddhartha Art Gallery, in conjunction with the National Museum of the Czech Republic, is a visual experience that transports visitors to the medieval grandeur of Bohemia and Moravia.

With all three floors of the gallery devoted to the exhibition, the selections of the structures are based on their historical significance and their architectural and artistic value. Amongst the sites on display are popular UNESCO world heritage sites like Ceský Krumlov, Kutná Hora and the iconic Prague Castle as well as other historic structures such as Karlštejn Castle, Krivoklát and Jindrichuv Hradec.

Upon entering, the visitor is greeted with a 19th century painting of the imposing Prague Castle as well as an entire wall dedicated to photographs and portraits of the St. Vitus Cathedral and the Golden Lane within the world’s largest ancient castle. With its elevated significance, the 9th century castle reflects the history of the Czech nation and is now a symbol of Prague. Similarly, Ceský Krumlov and Karlštejn Castle, two of the most iconic places in Czech Republic depicting Gothic and Baroque architecture and go-to destinations for visitors to the country, are placed within close proximity.

Each historical structure is displayed separately with an assortment of photographs and illustrations, accompanied with information on the history behind it. Furthermore, each floor also has a monitor playing videos displaying the 3D models of the selected castles and chateaux, providing viewers with an immersive experience to understand the layout of these structures in greater detail.

The exhibition does justice to the grandeur of Czech architecture and at the same time portrays the preserved beauty of Bohemia and Moravia. To those who have visited the Czech Republic before, they will leave feeling nostalgia for the country while others will feel a deep yearning to go visit it.

Ayesha Shakya

Czech Castles: Exhibition of the National Museum of Czech Republic

4 April – 25 May 2014

Siddhartha Art Gallery, Kathmandu

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