Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’

Villa Tugendhat © Ricky Yates

Villa Tugendhat in Brno, was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and constructed between 1928 -1930 on a hillside slope overlooking the city centre. It was commissioned by the wealthy Jewish industrialist Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta and was their home for eight years before the couple, along with their children, were forced to flee to Switzerland following the dismembering of Czechoslovakia brought about by the Munich agreement of September 1938.

An icon of modern architecture, today Villa Tugendhat is considered one of the finest examples of functionalist design anywhere in the world. A revolutionary iron framework allowed Mies to dispense with supporting walls and massive plate glass windows give the extensive living space a wonderful feeling of space and light. The minimalist interior is famous for featuring an onyx wall and for using rare tropical hardwood.

Interior . . . → Read More: Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’


Our lunchtime view across Masarykovo námestí, Pelhrimov © Ricky Yates


As I mentioned in my previous post about the Church of St Bartholomew, here is the promised further illustrated post about the town of Pelhrimov itself, which we visited earlier this week on Tuesday 22nd October 2013.

Pelhrimov lies a short distance off the D1, the Prague-Brno motorway, just over one hundred kilometres south east of Prague. It should only take about an hour and a quarter to drive there but took us nearer one hour and forty minutes, because of traffic delays getting across and out of Prague. Like many Czech towns, there is industry and Communist era paneláks around the outskirts, but there is also a historic, well-preserved and restored centre, with many attractive buildings. Having found a suitable parking place for the car, we set out for the main square, Masarykovo námestí.

. . . → Read More: Pelhrimov

The Church of St Bartholomew, Pelhrimov

Sgraffiti decoration on the exterior walls of the Church of St Bartholomew, Pelhrimov, with the fresco decorated alcoves below. © Ricky Yates

For a number of reasons, I took my day-off this week today, rather than yesterday. Taking advantage of some wonderful Indian summer weather, Sybille and I drove just over one hundred kilometres south-east of Prague and explored the interesting historic town of Pelhrimov. A much longer and more detailed post about the town will follow shortly. But tonight, I just wanted to post about one fascinating discovery that we made today, whilst exploring this delightful town.

At one corner of Masarykovo námestí, the main square in the centre of Pelhrimov, is the Church of St Bartholomew – kostel sv Bartolomej. The Church dates from the late thirteenth/early fourteenth century and much of its exterior walls are decorated with sgraffiti as can be seen in . . . → Read More: The Church of St Bartholomew, Pelhrimov

Royal Gardens, Stalin and the Metronome

Towers at the eastern end of the Prague Castle complex © Ricky Yates

Many of us here in Prague, are beginning to think that someone has kidnapped Spring and early Summer, the weather having been cold and wet for most of May. So Sybille and I decided to take full advantage of a rare, fine, dry and partly sunny evening earlier this week, and take a walk through some of Prague’s wonderful green spaces.

We took the tram to Pražský hrad / Prague Castle. But instead of crossing Prašný most, the bridge over Jelení príkop, and entering the Castle complex, we turned left into Královská zahrada, the Royal Gardens. As well as a wonderful collection of mature trees, there were several rhododendron bushes still in flower – shades of our visit to Pruhonice Park the previous week.

From the Royal Gardens, there are splendid . . . → Read More: Royal Gardens, Stalin and the Metronome


The Brandenburger Tor/Brandenburg Gate © Ricky Yates

The Sony Centre, Potsdamer Platz © Ricky Yates

The Brandenburger Tor/Brandenburg Gate lies at the heart of the Historic Mitte/Historic Centre of Berlin. It was the backdrop to the events of 9th November 1989 that unfolded on television screens around the world and to which several people have made reference in their comments on my previous post about the Berlin Wall. As can be seen in my photograph above, it has now been fully restored to its former glory and it is hard to imagine the concrete panels of the Wall dividing east from west, that used to run directly in front of it.

A short distance south of the Brandenburg Gate is Potsdamer Platz, which until the Second World War, was the bustling heart of the city. Post 1945, it lay in ruins and was . . . → Read More: Berlin