Castles and Catacombs

This post was originally published on Beacon Reader, an experiment in crowdsourced publishing that has subsequently ceased to exist. RIP Beacon Reader. 

Overview: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Bushwick anymore. Allow me to take you on a tour of my little neighborhood in Prague. When I want to read a book in the sun, I just head to the castle in my backyard. Life is pretty OK.


O brave new world with such people—and germs—in it.  I spent the past few days in bed recuperating from a euro flu and took the opportunity to reflect on the loveliness in the Czech Republic and edit some photos of my surroundings.

This is my neighborhood, known as Nusle, a quiet residential neighborhood between Districts 2 and 4, off the Botič stream. It sprouted from a wine-making village in the 11th century. Here there is not a recognizable tourist in sight, it’s away from the chaos of the city center, and is spotted with all the eateries, pubs, and bodegas one could ever need.

Our pretty little street in Nusle.

My backyard is a 10th century castle called the Vyšehrad where 600 or so famous Czech people are buried.

The castle walls. Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5
When bae is trying to convince me to stay home and I’m like, love ya but I gotta go!Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5
Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5

There’s something about being in the presence of such old buildings, standing on land and knowing that there are hundreds of years of dead people buried underneath that puts the impermanence of this life into perspective. Seeing the lengths people have gone to, and the structures they’ve had constructed to ensure their legacies are remembered for years after their deaths, well, it gets one thinking about one’s own legacy. I guess my monument will be these words, assuming corporations or cyber warfare or both don’t ruin the internet by the time I die.

Somebody important, I take it.Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5
Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5

Walking through this cheery cemetery, I marveled at how every grave has a different assortment of flowers or succulents growing on it. Do the ancestors of these deceased Czech heroes still make regular visits to plant things and water them? It seems like an awful lot of effort. I just want to be cremated and dumped into the sea from whence I came.

When it comes to the really creepy statues, they keep them stored underground. Apparently there are much more extensive catacombs under the Vsyherad than the ones I wandered through, but this was the extent that I got to see.

Naturally air conditioned.Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5

Definitely haunted.

Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5

I wish I knew more about these statues, but I was the only English-speaker in the group and our guide’s accent was too thick to understand. You could tell she was reciting her concept of the English words from memory rather than translating the explanations from the Czech in her head, so I just smiled and nodded, and soaked in the deathly stale air.

Back outside, this is the view from the castle wall, much different than it was 1000 years ago, but perfectly lovely today.

Nusle from atop the castle wall.Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5
Arikia Millikan, Olympus EP5

And back to my little street from up top. So, there you have the tour of my new neighborhood—until I head to Slovenia on the 27th. This is where I’ve been hanging when I’m not at the co-working space or exploring the countryside (or underbelly of Prague).

And for the full view, here’s a 360 degree picture from the top, taken with the RICOH Theta spherical camera:

Wish you were here! <3


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