Náměstí Republiky, Plzeň

Náměstí Republiky

Náměstí Republiky

In the middle of the historical centre of Plzeň is it’s main square, NámÄ›stí Republiky (formerly known as Velké NámÄ›stí).

I don’t know about your experiences with Plzeň, but mine started on NámÄ›stí Republiky. I stayed at the Hotel Central and I first ventured out on foot onto Republican Square (NámÄ›stí Republiky).

Those first steps were to be retraced many times but the sight that my eyes saw would be different at every visit. One vision, however, that will never be removed from my mind’s eye is the view looking from BedÅ™icha Smetany (is it an Ulice?) onto NámÄ›stí Republiky.

Sv. Bartoloměj
Náměstí Republiky from Bedřicha Smetany

The above print hangs on the wall of my office – I’m looking at it now – and I wouldn’t replace it with a print, painting or photograph of any other view from any other town. Ever. It inspires me and that is reason enough to leave it hanging where it is.

There are many reasons for buying the print and I am pleased I took the initiative. However (isn’t there always a “however?”) I do wish I’d managed to reproduce the print in photographic form. I tried once in 1993 but with the absence of my print, I missed the line of fire.

Sv. Bartoloměj 1993
Náměstí Republiky from Bedřicha Smetany 1993

Looking at my photograph now and comparing it with the print, I wonder if there wasn’t an element of artistic license in the latter – If I remember correctly, I couldn’t move far enough to the left in order to include the town hall in the shot… but I seem to have missed the perspective completely anyway. Never mind – at least I tried.

I did notice that the scaffolding wasn’t present on the print…

1950s Náměstí Republiky

Náměstí Republiky - 1950s
Náměstí Republiky in the 1950s
Photograph © Copyright 1950s George Krejci

I wonder what’s going on in this photograph? My guess would be the May 1st celebrations.

Or was it Khrushchev’s visit? Given the numbers of people on the square, I can’t help thinking that there was a little more on offer than an annual festival…

khrushchev in Náměstí Republiky - 1950s
khrushchev in Náměstí Republiky in the 1950s
Photograph provided by George Krejci

I don’t know the actual year of khrushchev’s visit to Plzeň, but I’d take a guess at 1956 or 1957. I would imagine he would have wanted to tour his area of control soon after taking or being given full control.

Czechoslovak Militia in Náměstí Republiky - 1950s
Czechoslovak Militia in NámÄ›stí Republiky During Khrushchev’s address
Photograph provided by George Krejci

I wonder if Stalin’s statue was torn down before his visit or as a result of it?

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