NEWS UPDATE! Coming May 3-10, 2015 - GHOSTour to Prague the premiere Haunted Vacation for travelers of all ages, has officially announced the addition of FRANKENSTEIN CASTLE and other locales in Germany to its itinerary.
GHOSTour takes travelers to supernatural cities with histories rich in magic, murder and the mysterious. Prague is considered the most haunted city in central Europe, where ghost-hunters, paranormal investigators and monster mavens continue to visit and explore. For many years Prague has been a magnet for students of the occult and in the 16th & 17th centuries it was a meeting point for alchemists and astrologers. The architecture of Prague is covered in esoteric symbols which can reveal many secrets to those who know how to read them. With an array of twisting cobblestones and large lamps, the Czech streets are full of magical stories about legends, myths and ghosts.
Frankenstein Castle is a hilltop castle in the Odenwald overlooking the
city of Darmstadt in Germany. It is alleged that this castle may have been
an inspiration for Mary Shelley when she wrote her 1818 Gothic novel Frankenstein.
More details here
city of Darmstadt in Germany. It is alleged that this castle may have been
an inspiration for Mary Shelley when she wrote her 1818 Gothic novel Frankenstein.
More details here
PRAGUE CASTLE (Czech: Pražský hrad) is the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic. Located in the Hradčany district of Prague and dating back to the ninth century, the castle has been a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room within the castle. The Guinness Book of Records lists Prague Castle as the largest ancient castle in the world. It occupies an area of almost 70,000 m2, at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. The history of the castle stretches back to the year 870 with the construction of its first walled building, the Church of the Virgin Mary. The Basilica of Saint George and the Basilica of St. Vitus were founded under the reign of Vratislav and his son St. Wenceslas in the first half of the 10th century.
This "solid-land" connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge is 621 m long and nearly 10 m wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil Gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
The Jewish Quarter in Prague, known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Its torrid history dates from the 13th century, when Jewish people were ordered to vacate their disparate homes and settle in this one area. Over the centuries, with Jews banned from living anywhere else in Prague, and with new arrivals expelled from Moravia, Germany, Austria and Spain joining them, more and more people were crowded in.
To add to this, inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter, or the Prague Jewish Ghetto as it also became known, were forced to endure structural changes. The latest took place between 1893-1913, when most houses were flattened and the layout of many of the streets remodeled. Fortunately, most of the significant historical buildings were saved from destruction, and today they remain a testimony to the history of the Jews in Prague. They form the best preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in the whole of Europe.
There are six synagogues, including the famous Spanish Synagogue and Old-New Synagogue, plus the Jewish Ceremonial Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery, the most remarkable of its kind in Europe. The monuments even survived the Nazi occupation in the 20th century. Adolf Hitler himself decided to preserve the Jewish Quarter as a “Museum of an Extinct Race.” Indeed the Nazis gathered Jewish artifacts from other occupied countries, transporting them to Prague to form part of the museum. Today, these historical sights, all except the Old-New Synagogue, form what is called the Jewish Museum in Prague. Visitors can gain entry to the museum monuments by purchasing a ticket or by visiting on a guided tour. The Old-New Synagogue requires a separate ticket. It is the oldest preserved synagogue in Central Europe, built in early Gothic style in the 13th century, and is the main house of prayer for the Jewish community in the present day.
Finally, the Jewish Quarter is the birthplace of the author Franz Kafka, who is commemorated with a statue on Dusni Street. It is difficult to overstate how much a guide can bring to your understanding of the Jewish Quarter. With so many stories attached to it, its history is really quite unique. During the Nazi occupation, some residents of the Jewish Quarter along with Jews from elsewhere in the Czech Republic, were transported to concentration camps. One of these is located to the north of Prague: Terezin Memorial Tour.
THE JEWISH TOWN – Josefov (Židovské město) - The Jewish quarter is a small area known as Josefov (named after the emperor Josef II, whose reforms helped to ease living conditions for the Jewish, the Jewish Quarter contains the remains of Prague's former Jewish ghetto.) between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Here are two figures synonymous with this part of the city, Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924) and the mystical humunculus Golem created by Jehuda ben Bezalel, also known as Rabi Löw. Most of it can be walked around in a single day, but any detailed explorations needs time. The Jewish cemetery, Old-new Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue and the Pinkas Synagogue are definitely worthwhile sights.
MAISEL SYNAGOGUE (Maiselova Synagoga)- Originally a Renaissance temple, built in 1592 by Josef Wahl for rich Mayor Mordechai Maisel. Built on 20 pillars, it was very large and imposing Renaissance building but unfortunately burned down in 1689. Later synagogue was rebuilt as a smaller building in Baroque style. Today synagogue still preserves some of the 16th-century stone carving. A new neo-Gothic synagogue has been built in its place between the years 1893-1905, together with the demolition of the former Jewish ghetto and reconstruction of the main buildings. Since the 1960s building houses an exhibition of religious objects including five books of Moses handwritten on rolls of parchment by scribes. There is also fascinating collection of Jewish silver, candlesticks, ceramics, textiles and other prints. Very interesting is an enormous glass beaker, made between 1783 and 1784 for the Prague Burial Society and painted with a procession of men and women dressed in funereal black. Ironically, most items in the synagogue Nazis looted from other synagogues across Bohemia as Third Reich planned to build a museum in Prague, dedicated to the Jews as an “extinct race.”
This building is listed by UNESCO and by miracle this one has been preserved after the demolition of the Jewish quarter at the end of 19th century. Visitors have the first opportunity to see places, where alchemists produced elixir of eternal youth, Philosopher's Stone and non-precious metals changed into gold. Rudolf II’s alchemical laboratory from the 16th century, hidden from unwanted glances of passers-by, will fascinate you with magical atmosphere, introduce you the medieval activities of alchemists, connected to many modern scientific fields.
The Alchemy Museum replicates a 16th century alchemy study above ground with several labs below. These underground sections were unearthed over the last century and were painstakingly uncovered and preserved, revealing that the chambers were indeed used for the alchemical arts and the occult.
The DANCING HOUSE (Czech: Tančící dům), or Fred and Ginger, is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašínovo nábřeží (Rašín Embankment) in Prague, Czech Republic. It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in co-operation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous, and in the opinion of some it does not accord well with these architectural styles. The then Czech president, Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had avidly supported this project, hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity. Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers) but this nickname is now rarely used; moreover, Gehry himself was later "afraid to import American Hollywood kitsch to Prague," and thus discarded his own idea. The “Dancing House” is set on a property of great historical significance. Its site was the location of a house destroyed by the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. The plot and structure lay decrepit until 1960 when the area was cleared.
PALACE OF THE ARCHBISHOP - In 1420 a mob of angry Hussites burned down the original palace of the Archbishop, leaving ruins of what was. Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty decided to build a new structure to take place of the original palace and commissioned the new Archbishop Palace, first built in the style of the Renaissance, then Baroque, then in the 18th century the palace was rebuilt in the Rococo style. Standing guard over the entrance to Prague Castle and serving as the seat of the Archbishop since 1562, the small but imposing palace is elegant and beautiful with four wings and courtyards. The interior is Rococo showcasing colorful tapestries from France and portraits of past Archbishops. The famous Ignac Frantisek Platzer designed the lovely facade of the palace. A creepy legend involving murder and torture surrounds the chapel in the palace; the artist who painted the suffering Christ for the chapel altar sacrificed a beggar in order to capture a realistic look of pain.
The Theological Library Hall
Stucco decoration and paintings from 1720s
The Philosophical Hall (Library Panorama) built for the books that came from the southern Moravian Louka Convent (abolished in 1784)
STRAHOV MONASTERY (Czech: Strahovský klášter) is a Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1143 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Duke Vladislav II. It is located in Strahov, Prague, Czech Republic. After his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1138 the bishop of Olomouc Jindřich Zdík took hold of the idea of founding a monastery of regular canons in Prague, having the support of the bishops of Prague and the Duke of Bohemia Soběslav I and after his death, Vladislav II. After his first unsuccessful attempt to found a Czech variant of the canons' order at the place called Strahov in 1140, an invitation was issued to the Premonstratensians whose first representatives arrived from Steinfeld in the Rhine valley (Germany). Thus a monastery originated which has inscribed itself in the Czech political, cultural and religious history for all time. The religious began to build their monastery first of wood, as well as a Romanesque basilica as the center of all spiritual events in Strahov. The building was gradually completed and the construction of the monastery stone buildings continued in order to replace the provisional wooden living quarters with permanent stone. In 1258 the monastery was heavily damaged by fire and later renewed.
POIENARI CASTLE - A stunning shot showing the ruins of Prince Vlad The Impaler's Castle. Vlad III Dracula was born 1431 and died in 1467. These modern ruins of Poienari Castle sit high on a mountain peak and have a gorgeous view. Poienari is in Wallachia, where Vlad Ţepeş' princedom lay. The nearest large town to Poienari is Curtea de Arges. You have to walk over 1,400 steps to get to the top!
As discovered by the Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos, the location Bram Stoker actually had in mind for Castle Dracula while writing his novel was an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 m high, located in the Transylvanian Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Tourists can see the interior individually or by a guided tour. At the bottom of the hill is a small open air museum park exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures (cottages, barns, etc.) from across the country. As of 2014, the castle is reportedly for sale.
BRAN CASTLE is perched on a dramatic hilltop near Brasov in central Romania. Constructed in the early 14th century, it is now open to the public, who are able to explore the elaborate rooms and dark passageways. This hand carved Gothic four-poster bed with end table, bureau & storage cabinet is part of the exquisite furniture and art on display in Bran Castle originally collected by Queen Marie. Tourists can see the interior individually or by a guided tour. At the bottom of the hill is a small open air museum park exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures (cottages, barns, etc.) from across the country.
MEDIEVAL CRIME MUSEUM - Housed in the former headquarters of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, the Medieval Crime Museum (Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum) provides a fascinating introduction to the history of law, including how society deals with criminal behaviour and those on the margins of society. The exhibition includes a display of instruments of torture, punishment and execution alongside law books, seals and numerous engravings.
DOLL AND TOY MUSEUM - Address: Schulhof 4, Vienna, Austria - Phone: +43 1 535 6860 Set near the Uhrenmuseum der Stadt Wien in Vienna, Austria - the collection of the Doll and Toy Museum ranks among one of the world's most remarkable assemblages of its kind. Spanning from the 1740s to the 1930s, this site comprises a vast array of various dolls. Most of the items on display were crafted in Germany, which has a strong doll-making heritage. For doll lovers it is a must. The Doll and Toy Museum was opened to public in 1989, but was originally a private collection that took over 20 years to accumulate. There are bears and unique doll houses as well as a great number of mechanical toys on display. If you are a doll collector, next to the museum there is a shop where you can purchase rare dolls or sell one of your own.
Later it passed to the hands of the aristocracy, frequently passing from the ownership of one to another. In 1584–1590 it underwent Renaissance-style modifications, losing none of its fortress features as it looks down from a steep rocky cliff. In the 18th century it ceased to serve as a noble residence and fell into a state of disrepair before being renovated in 1823. In 1897 it was purchased by Princess Hohenlohe and in 1924, the times of the First Republic, bought by the President of Škoda, Josef Šimonek. Address: Houska 1, Houska, 472 01, Czech Republic.
One was pulled up and he appeared to have aged 30 years instantly. He died a few days later. The Nazis took over this same Castle to conduct experiments and dabble in the occult. Years later, German Gestapo officers' remains were found after they were assassinated execution-style. But by whom? The recurring ghosts at Houska are plentiful, including a headless black horse, giant human/frog/bulldog and a woman in an old dress who is frequently seen peaking out of top floor windows. Beneath the cellar there is said to be non-human remains of beasts that emerged from the hole. The GHOSTour guests will be going inside.
One Of The Decorative Skull Urns In A Niche
SCHWARZENBERG COAT OF ARMS
The Sedlec Ossuary entrance with enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault.
GHOSTour 2015 to Prague and Frankenstein Castle is presented by Tours of Terror, who produce the "Dracula Tour to Transylvania" and have organized similar theme tours to England, Scotland and Ireland in the past. The week-long travel adventure is guided by "Cryptmaster Chiller Chucky" (actor & horror host Charles F. Rosenay).
For further information, email: ToursofTerror@aol.com, phone (203) 795-4737 or visit: www.GHOSTour.com, where travelers' reports of past tours can also be found. Visit the official Facebook events page here
The tour-organizers promise...
"You'll have the time of your life ...
even if you're part of the undead!"
THE HAUNTED WEEK OF HORRORS
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