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Amazing bookshops around the world: Shakespeare Asynové (Prague)

Shakespeare Asynové (Prague)
U lužického semináře 10
110 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic
257 531 894
http://www.shakes.cz/

When I went to Prague last November there was an unassuming little book shop near my hotel that caught my eye every time I went past, but each time it was either shut or we were rushing off somewhere. I finally got my chance to go in as we were leaving for the airport. When I entered I was a little disappointed: it was just like a book shop in England. There were lots of new English books, they were pretty pricey, and there were two rather surly-looking book sellers at the till. My boyfriend picked up an old National Geographic to read on the plane for €3. I’m glad I decided to go downstairs, however, flight times be damned, as it was on the stairs that I first got an inkling that this place was something special. I loved the presentation of the books on the wall, not to mention the stone steps themselves.
Downstairs was where the second hand books were, and best of all, comfy chairs. I wish I had had time to stop and read a little, especially if I could have read one of the Penguin books from the display in the corner.
Sadly the shop was a little bit pricey (or maybe I was poor), and I really did have a plane to catch, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a visit to Shakespeare Asynové.
I stumbled upon this bookshop when I went to Prague last year too. It’s located right next to the Kafka museum but, like Nicola, I didn’t have much time to browse through its shelves. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the existence of a downstairs section at all.  It was nearly night time, I wanted to make it to the Lennon wall before nightfall and  running on the icy roads would have made me break a leg or three. Good place to visit if you’re ever stuck in Prague without something to read, though.
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Lennon Wall (Prague)

When I planned my trip to Prague last February I was quite shocked to find there was a monument called Lennon Wall. Was there a connection between the Beatles and Prague that my 20 years as a Beatles fan missed? No, not really, but there was indeed a connection between Lennon’s message and the political climate in Eastern Europe at the time.
The Communist regime considered the figure of John Lennon to be a subversive one. Not only was he a hugely influential figure from the West, which automatically made him an enemy, but his messages of peace and freedom were considered to be threatening to the government’s ideals. His music was forbidden and some people were even sent to prison for playing it.
Of course this prohibition worked to make John Lennon even more of a hero to young liberals at the time, and his death further elevated him to the status of a spiritual guide of sorts. You know how it is with young ones, you just have to ban something to make it even more appealing. Upon his death exactly 30 years ago today, somebody dared to challenge the authorities by drawing John Lennon’s face on this wall, and others followed adding Beatles lyrics and other Lennon-related images. Despite the placement of a guard and surveillance cameras, and attempts to repaint the wall, the Lennon wall has continued to be covered in graffiti and has come to represent a monument to anti-communist sentiments and freedom of speech.
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The wall is constantly changing as Lennon fans and assholes alike add their own interpretations to the wall, from amazing drawings to Limp Bizkit graffitis. It’s a shame that there is always some asshole to ruin a nice memorial (see my annoyance at Oscar Wilde’s tomb). A quick google image search reveals that the wall has indeed seen better times, but it still has its charm. I think it’s great that these things are kept as a reminder of our recent history.
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Prague

In February I visited Prague for the first time, something that I had wanted to do for ages.

GOOD STUFF

[+] Cheap beer
[+] Pretty buildings

[+] Nice snowy views

[+] A great cocktail bar

[+] The old Jewish cemetery

[+] Good food

[+] Mucha museum

NOT SO GOOD STUFF

[-] The sex machine museum. It’s overpriced and there’s not much inside
[-] Being ripped off TWICE
[-] The fact that it’s a bit of a tourist trap
[-] The texts in Kafka Museum not being translated into English
[-] The Lennon wall having some horrible unrelated graffiti on it.

See the rest of my photos here.

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