MSMU Travels Prague 2024 Prague, Czech Republic

Ballet and Government in Prague

I officially completed my second week in Prague, and I can officially say that I am used to the six-hour difference from New York to Prague.

It was really hard at first but after this week I can say it was a bit more enjoyable. We were lucky to experience a very interesting play named “The Ballet Eugene Onegin.” The play is about Tatyana falling for the distant Onegin, but he rejects her approach. At her birthday celebration, Onegin flirts with Olga, which annoys her fiancé, Lensky. They fight, and Onegin sadly kills Lensky. Years afterward, Onegin attends a gala and discovers that the elegant Princess Gremina was his once-rejected Tatyana, then married. Onegin claims his love, but Tatyana, despite her feelings for Onegin, picks loyalty and breaks up with him, just as he did with her before. The two unlucky partners can’t seem to escape the effects of their past together. Aside from the ballet, I liked touring Prague’s stunning architecture, exciting nightlife, and wonderful food. My first trip that took place last week was to the huge Prague Castle complex, where I spent hours exploring medieval churches, royal residences and cobblestone pathways. By night, the castle was beautifully lighted.

During another trip this week, we explored the stately Senate building in the center of Prague. As I arrived at the amazing neo-renaissance front, with its towering arches and elegant columns, I was mesmerized by its stunning appearance and royalty. After stepping into the somber Senate chamber, I sat in one of the chairs overlooking the incredible area, imagining the significant arguments that had taken place here. A tour guide brought my small group through the large halls and elegant offices where the 81 senators work. We heard about the interesting origin of the Czech Senate, which was founded in 1848 right after the Czech National Revival and vanished during the communist era. It wasn’t until 1996, during the Velvet Revolution, that it came back to be part of the newfound democratic Czech Republic. The tour guide highlighted architectural exhibits such as patterned floors, frescoed ceilings and crystal chandeliers while discussing the Senate’s organization and tasks. I wasn’t expecting to find that senators have a six-year term and the authority to reject legislation offered by the lower Chamber of Deputies. Once outside, I took one final look at the Senate’s towering exterior. The wonderful structure seems to reflect the Czech Republic’s incredible transformation to an independent democracy following years of persecution.

Touring the Senate not only provided insight into the Czech government but also helped me to connect with the country’s difficult yet inspirational past. I left with a strong understanding of the conflicts necessary to accomplish democratic principles such as free speech, representation and open conversation. I had a wonderful time visiting these two spots this past weekend and I can’t wait to gain more knowledge on these excursions.

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