Posted 24 Oct 2011
Nestled behind the Czech Estates Theatre in the centre of Prague is an ice rink that will turn your skating experience to a journey into history and romance. The rink is that of Ovocny trh, where skating is free from December 5, 2011 to January 31, 2012 and skates can be rented for 50 CZK. On Saturday afternoons, the rink features dance music. Every night, coloured lights glow about you while the theatre forms a stately and brightly lit backdrop. There are plenty of fine Prague hotels
to choose from if you decide to visit this beautiful city.
The sounds of Ovocny trh are a reminder of the place that Czechoslovakia, and Prague itself, hold in the world of music. In the thirteenth century, the country's King Wenceslas II organized an international musical competition in Prague. He not only invited the most famous troubadours of Europe to sing but also took part in the performance himself.
In the sixteenth century, King Rudolph II established an imperial music ensemble, a unique idea at the time. He arranged for young talents from around the country, even those from the poorest families, to be given an education and musical training for service to the King. Rudolph's vision and innovation quickly became an example which other Bohemian aristocrats followed. Since then, the world at large has been made all the richer for Czech musical greats such as Smetana, Dvorak, and Janacek with musical genres which include not only classical but religious, jazz, and more.
And what of that beautiful theatre that rises behind the rink? It was there in 1787 that Mozart premiered his immortal opera "Don Giovanni", which he dedicated to the "Good People of Prague". And Wenceslas? He is the very king whose life was memorialized in the Christmas carol, known now throughout the world. Will he come to mind as you skate the ice at Ovocny trh this December?