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From Prague, with Magic...

Prague is universally acknowledged as one of the most fascinating and mysterious places in the old world and for many a person it is the archetypical hometown of magic. But what is definitely sure is that Prague has, amongst lots of other qualities, the capability to amaze and mesmerize anyone who goes wandering by its alleys or simply gets in contact with its vast artistic heritage.

As a matter of fact, it is actually from the unusual sceneries, as well as from the style mix of its buildings and architectural solutions (ranging from the Gothic to Czech Renaissance, from Baroque to Art Nouveau) and from the countless incomparable views that Prague draws its magic.

Yet, it is mostly the mix of intellectual and artistic stimuli, which creates the mysterious and inexplicable atmosphere of this melting pot of minds and thoughts, fulcrum of creativity.

The East-West conjunction, together with a strong influence from the Hebraic culture, as well as from all the myths and legends that permeate this town texture, stimulated, and still do, many of a talent's fantasy. Many artists were born here, or at least spent here part of their lives. First and foremost, obligatory mention goes to Franz Kafka, the noted German-writing author that here lived and refined his literary talent. His appreciation for mystery, his unique writing and his grotesque subjects have been inspired and grew in Prague's peculiar environment, crowded with lots of different impulses. And for sure Prague influenced the sharp research of this dark author, who always manages to take the reader onto a journey towards an oneiric dimension, open to any possible interpretation.

Ambiguity and surreal background are, by the way, traditionally involving the entire Bohemian Capital. The very foundation of Prague is wrapped up in mystery: according to one of the many versions of the legend, Princess Libuše decided to name the city "Prah" (that means "door" in Czech) after a vision of a man tracing a doorway threshold, foreboding wealth and prosperity.

It was during Rudolph II reign, the one of a weird king, fond of witchcraft and dark science, that the Bohemian town reached his cultural apex. His court gathered astronomers, mathematicians and astrologists of the likes of Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe. Artists like Arcimboldo or magicians and self-proclaimed mediums (like the English John Dee and Edward Kelly, both experts in spirits summoning and necromancy) were often seen accompanying the Emperor. He patronized humanists and scientists, magicians, doctors and charlatans alike, switching his interests from the study of the Hebraic Kabbalah to the collection of any kind of memorabilia in his Wunderkammer, the "rooms of wonders", ancestors of today's museums.

The Golem is another of the mysterious and legendary characters that once more testifies the magical and esoteric gist of Prague. According to medieval folklore, Rabin Judah Loew ben Bezalel sculpted his giant clay slave with the purpose of defending the Jew ghetto.

It had been created with great strength and endurance, but without a soul (therefore he couldn't think, talk, or feel any kind of emotion) and his master and commander was his creator alone. Yet one day, the enormous puppet disobeyed his owner-creator and ravaged the streets of Prague, causing panic throughout the city. This act of rebellion had been his life sentence, as the Rabin decided to take life from his creature.

If we now consider that the culture that is born and grown amidst the common traditions and fantasies of a people may become this people's very expression, it is easy to realise how Prague is the ideal cradle of the magical world of animated cinema, one of the more natural environments for imagination free run.



Mediateca Regionale Toscana
Regione Toscana
Città di Lucca
Città di Lucca