Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Built to Last

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Over the past three days, much of Eastern Europe has experienced significant rainfall. Within the city of Prague, four percent of the Czech capital has been under water for the second time in less than 11 years as result of the Vltava river breaching its banks. Authorities have been quick to respond, and have evacuated nearly 8,000 inhabitants from low lying areas in preparation for rising waters. Lions and tigers from the Prague Zoo were reported to have been removed just before a peak in rainfall, and the city's transportation system experienced multiple closures.

Today however, the rain finally subsisted, the sun peaked through grey clouds, and parts of the city began to reopen to the public. Breaking off from our group of photographers, I decided to forgo a trip to Old Town Square and instead, chose to walk along the river's edge and watch the quick, brown Vltava stream carry off miscellaneous debris. Tourists and locals of Prague all congregated along bridges as well, eyes quickly racing the water flow, and furiously snapping iPhone photos--the artistic medium of our generation. Prague Castle, Wenceslas Square, and Charles Bridge aside, the effects of extreme weather became the city's key attraction.

As I traced the river, I began to appreciate Prague in a unique way. Not merely as a historic city or town be-laced with multiple styles of architecture and art, but as a place built to last and withstand. Given Prague's roots as a European kingdom with castles and archway checkpoints and multiple bridges, the city has long been predisposed to defending itself. Combined with innovations of today's modern civil engineers, citizens of Prague did not seem frightened by the rising water level of the Vltava. Today, with the disappearance of miserable rain, the public returned to normalcy. Tourists returned to states and stares of appreciation, though this time noting the ways in which both a modern city and its historic architecture is able to handle the course of nature.

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