Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Prague Astronomical Clock

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Walking through the streets of Prague, you will come across the Astronomical Clock. Each hour, the wooden figures of apostles appear in the windows and some of the sculptures move. When the apostles finish their story, the golden rooster crows and shakes its wings, the bell rings and the clock chimes the hour.

An urban myth which went on for centuries was that when the Prague Councillors found out that the 15th century clock maker Hanus (Jan of Ruze) was going to make another clock, they became jealous and blinded him. However in 1961, the real artist was discovered in an old document which described the astronomical dial and says it was made by Mikulas of Kadan in 1410.

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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Prague Jewish Ghetto

Friday, December 26th, 2014
Old New Synagogue

Old New Synagogue

The former Jewish Ghetto (now called Josefov) in Prague goes back to the 12th century. In fact, the oldest synagogue in Europe, the Old-New Synagogue, is still there and it is still used for its purpose, as there are regular services. An old legend says it was built of stones from the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This quarter was demolished in 1897. Today, there are 6 synagogues, the Jewish City Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery from the 15th century. Notice the Rabbi’s house has gold decorations and the clock with hebrew letters which dates to 1674.

In 1389 the biggest anti-Jewish pogrom in the Middle Ages took place here, when about 3,000 citizens of the Jewish Quarter were killed, turning the walls of the Old–New Synagogue dark with blood. Their homes were plundered and burned.

However, in the 16th century, this quarter was thriving. Some of the synagogues we can still see were built then. The Maisel Synagogue houses an exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Prague. In the 1950’s, the Pinkas Synagogue became a Memorial to victims of the Holocaust. The walls of the nave, gallery and vestibule were covered with names of about 80,000 Bohemian and Moravian Jews. You can also see drawings of Jewish children made in the Terezin concentration camp between 1942 and 1944. There were more than 10,000 children under the age of 15 there. In 1577, the High Synagogue was built as a part of the Jewish City Hall, and the original vault with some Gothic features and stucco decoration still can be seen.

The Rabbi's House

The Rabbi’s House

Nowadays, Paris St. in this area is one of the most popular places to live in Prague. If you get hungry, you can eat at the King Solomon kosher restaurant. Michelle Obama ate there when she was in town.


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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Religion in Czech Republic

Friday, August 15th, 2014

It was surprising to find out that 92% of the population of the Czech Republic are atheists.CzechChurch However they still enjoy the traditions of  Christmas.

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Italy: See the Pope for $500, Meet him for $2400

Friday, November 8th, 2013

pope on balconyIt costs $500 a year to join Patrons of the Vatican Museums which means you are a donor to the Vatican museums. For your basic membership, you get to jump the line at Vatican Museums – as in going straight in to the Sistine Chapel in the morning before anyone else. You get private tours of off limits galleries and restoration labs, special access to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Gardens, priority seating at the Pope’s weekly general audience, and can score coveted tickets to Midnight Mass.

This is not necessarily for Catholics, but for anyone who is an art buff and eager for behind the scenes access. On top of that, it’s a good deal as it is tax deductible.

Three hundred and fifty of this fundraising organization (of about 2500) of Vatican lovers, had a 30th anniversary gala this year. The guests, art loving philanthropists,  were mostly from the US; They had become excited after seeing  a  traveling exhibit of Vatican treasures. For only $1900 a person, they enjoyed five days of touring, VIP treatment, lectures on museum restoration, catered dinners in museum galleries, question and answer periods with top official in the Secretariat about Vatican reform, vespers service in the Sistine Chapel – and even a one-on-one with Pope Francis himself.


Argentina: Walk in the Footsteps of the Pope

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio) was born in the Flores neighborhood of Buenos Aires. You see the church where he worshipped and where he felt a calling to devote his life to God.

Twice on Saturdays and Sundays, a 3-hour FREE government-sponsored Papal Circuit bus tour takes you past 24 landmarks of his life: the tree-shaded street of his middle class childhood home (531 Membrillar, where his parents, Regina Maria Sivori and Mario Bergoglio raised their 5 children), the plaza where he played soccer, his school, his barber (where he also received pedicures!), his favorite newsstand, and the Metropolitan Cathedral which he presided over as an archbishop.

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Churches in Lithuania – Cosmos Tour

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

80% of Lithuania is Catholic and there are 30 active churches in Vilnius alone. The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius was built by Jesuits in the 17th century in a white Baroque style. There are 2040 faces carved into the walls. It gets whitewashed every 5 years. Their chandelier was built in Holland and on its way when the boat sank. The chandelier you see there today is in the shape of a ship to remember that incident.

It has never been destroyed or closed – even thru the Communist times.

Walking into the Old Town through the Gates of Dawn, I was behind a teen boy who turned and crossed himself as he went through. We learned that he was looking at the Black Madonna