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CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague

 

Franz Kafka

Fodor’s Prague, 2nd edition

FRANZ KAFKA (1883-1924), considered one of the 20th century’s most important novelists (The Metamorphosis, The Castle), spent most of his short life in Prague. Although the city didn’t put up a memorial to him until 2004 (“a suitably surreal bronze statue,” says the 2nd edition of Fodor’s Prague), outside of the Spanish Synagogue in the Old Town where he worshipped, there are organized tours to places connected with him, and either taking one or heading out on your own to see the Kafka-esque sights can turn into “a surprisingly comprehensive city tour.”

If you want a tour, the guidebook recommends Guide-Prague (www.guide-prague.cz), which offers a three-hour “Franz Kafka and Prague Walking Tour.” If you prefer to walk alone, the spots not to miss include:

Old Town Square. Dum U Minuty (Minute House), where Kafka lived as a boy, is marked by a plaque.

Prague Castle. Just outside of the castle precincts is Zlata ulicka (Golden Lane). This “jumbled collection of tiny, ancient, brightly colored houses crouched under the fortification wall look remarkably like a set for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” says the guidebook. In the 16th century they were homes for castle guards. Now they are shops, and there’s a fee for admission to the street. In 1916-1917 Kafka lived at Number 22.

Franz Kafka Museum (Hergetova Cihelna 2b, Lesser Quarter, www.kafkamuseum.cz). Included are facsimiles of manuscripts, first editions and photographs. “Because the museum’s designers believed in channeling Kafka’s darkly paranoid and paradoxical work, they created exhibits true to this spirit…fascinating to anyone familiar with Kafka’s work.”

 

www.fodors.com

 

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