Prague’s “Grotto”

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While admiring the view of Prague from the hill where the Prague Castle is located, I noticed something odd-looking in the distance.

I scanned back over what looked like a giant congregation of…cement people? I tried to look closer — it reminded me of the Chinese Terra Cotta Army, but I was still so far away that I couldn’t be sure. I made it my mission to find out where this cement army was located and once we left the Castle, we started wandering around in the vicinity where it looked like it might be located.

PragueI hoped it wasn’t something that was closed-off to the public, because after staring at these cement people for two days and still not being able to figure out what they were, I was really curious. It seemed odd to have something like that around a bunch of government buildings and it did not blend in with the rest of the skyline.

PragueWe stumbled upon an opening along the street surrounded by high walls. It looked like an entrance to a garden…but then I looked beyond and saw the mysterious figures!

…But most of them weren’t figures at all. Upon closer inspection, the wall of people was actually…something that I still don’t know how to describe. Dripping, melting honeycombs? Or melting muppet faces?

Prague

DSC05968As it turned out, these odd figures were open to interpretation, since the entire wall was a giant art installation called The Grotto, done by Albrecht of Wallenstein.

Prague GrottoUpon closer inspection, it was like a where’s waldo of gargoyle faces and reptilian animals hiding amongst the non-lifelike parts of the wall, trying to trick your eyes. Some portions of the wall were set back deeper, creating shadows that made it seem as if there were small openings – a window or passage – behind the entire wall. Like other things besides just stone faces could also be peeking out at you.

Prague Grotto

Prague GrottoI found the aesthetic of this fitting for a city that felt so mysterious, with narrow, winding alleyways and high walls. In Prague, it felt like there is always something waiting to be discovered by those who are willing to do a little urban exploring.

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2 responses »

  1. Oh man! The Wallenstein gardens! They’re definitely a hidden gem in Prague. The same thing happened to me as well. I saw the grey mass from the castle and was wondering what it could be? It took me some time to find it and I was totally surprised that it was hidden behind the metro station of all places.

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