The weather forecast for today was heavy rain so I planned a schedule of churches. What an education! I have to say that Prague is not a good place to shoot churches. Don’t get me wrong. It has some of the most astonishing churches in Europe and plenty of them. But the churches have also found inventive ways of stopping people from shooting them.
Forget the no photography signs and stern security guides of Rome. Prague has more effective ways of hindering photography. The obvious one is to not be open. Some churches only open a few hours a week. Some only an hour on certain days. A few don’t open ever (what’s the point?).
The church in Vysehrad (church of Sts Peter and Paul) is physically hard to get to being on top of a steep hill with no clearly labelled signage and successfully turned me away today by not being open.
St James in Old Town is the first church I’ve seen with the pews and all other areas cordoned off except the main walkway. It has alarmed everything except that walkway according to the signs. I wasn’t going to mess with a church that claims to have alarmed everything. That meant there was nowhere to sit down and hence no way for me to take photos.
St Giles was equally inventive. It has put up massive iron gates just inside the entrance that obscure the beautiful church and stop anyone from getting inside. I did get some shots through the gate but it certainly spoilt the atmosphere for me.
I’m completely supportive of the practise of charging a nominal amount to get photo permission. I also like what Prague has done that Rome and Paris haven’t for the most part. Many churches are only open for concerts that you pay to get into. It supports both musicians and also the church. At any given day in Prague I could be attending up to 10 concerts in various religious venues.
The day wasn’t a complete loss. I enjoyed the Church of St Ignazius (think Jesuits when you see that name) near Karlovo metro. It had gorgeous pink marble and pink detailing throughout as well as the usual glittering gilt.