Kevin Alone in Prague
Loving Prague is easy. Just walk through its streets and you have the history of Europe since the 9th century right in front of your eyes. It has been described with many poetic words: beautiful, charming, magical, mysterious, and mystical. All this is true - but Prague is also friendly and calming. Perhaps that`s why it has been called Praga mater urbium, ie the mother of cities, since the Middle Ages. It can be assumed that everyone who has visited Prague has walked across Charles* Bridge - sometimes it even seems that all visitors to Prague are there at once. Some of them know that the foundation stone of Charles Bridge was laid in 1357. However, few people know that it was on July 9, at exactly 5 o'clock and 31 minutes in the morning. Do you want to know why? We wanted to know it, so when we decided to make a documentary about how a 13-year-old boy, an American with Czech ancestors, discovers Prague, we wanted to find out as much as possible. We collaborated with the Prague City Hall, Prague`s Archbishopric, the Chamber of Deputies, the Jewish community of Prague, the Czech Commission for UNESCO, and the Prague City Museum. We asked historians, monument administrators, and witnesses (we even found a retired grammar school teacher who knew Father Gorazd as a child, who hid Czech paratroopers who killed Reinhard Heydrich). Prague is beautiful and it is easy to love it. But we wanted to know much more about it. Then we told Kevin, and now he's going to tell you. // * By the way - did you know that Charles IV suffered almost fatal injuries in a knightly duel? In 1977, the remains of Charles IV were professionally examined. Many injuries were found, including one that astonished by the possibilities of medieval medicine. Charles IV had - apparently after a sharp blow to the chin with a wooden lance - a fourfold symmetrical fracture of the lower jaw and a damaged cervical spine. He was temporarily paralyzed after the injury but recovered because he received the best surgical help. The doctors were able to return the broken piece of his jaw to the extent of six teeth to its original place and repaired his lower jaw's broken joints. They fixed the fractures with gold wire. Because such a procedure was very painful, the patient underwent general anesthesia, for which the so-called Spongia Somnifera, the "sleeping sponge", had been used since the end of the 10th century. A solution of opium, mandrake leaf, and Poison hemlock leaf was prepared. The medieval instruction then says: “Crush it all and mix it with water, soak a piece of rag in it and place it on his forehead and nose. Soon after, he will fall asleep so deep that you will be able to do whatever you like with him. To wake him, soak that piece of rag in very strong vinegar."