By Jack Coombs
For this month’s gallery, I will be featuring some photos I took on my trips to Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. As a student, I’m incredibly lucky to able to travel to all these different places. What is interesting to me is that just an hour drive away from Vienna, Austria, you can be in a different country with a completely different language, culture, and history. Meanwhile, driving an hour away from the University of Illinois puts you in the middle of a cornfield. It’s great to be so close to a wide variety of cities, each with its own special sights to see and photograph.
The first picture is the view of Bratislava from a WWII monument called Slavin. Slavin is a burial ground for the thousands of Soviet Army soldiers who fell trying to take back the city from the Germans in 1945. The city is very tranquil at night, but this massive memorial commemorating a significant loss of life looms over it. The second picture is the monument itself, with a statue of townspeople helping a wounded soldier.
Many countries in this central/eastern part of Europe went through both a Nazi occupation in WWII, then a Communist regime as the Russians drove out the Nazis. Slovakia did not see an end to communism until 1990 when it was still Czechoslovakia. It became Slovakia in 1993 and still operates democratically.
These are two famous attractions in Bratislava. The pink building is Primate’s Palace, built in 1778. The blue building is actually a famous church, complete with blue seats on the inside as well.
This is a bridge in Prague built under Charles IV in 1357. Every little dot you see on it is a person walking across.
Europe has some humongous churches. In the middle of this massive palace complex in Prague is St. Vitus Cathedral, which you can see me standing in front of. You can pay to climb to the top of the tower, where I was able to get a shot of the city and some tasteful graffiti.
Shot of the river at sunset in Prague.
This was taken at the top of St Stephens Basilica in Budapest, another beautiful big church.
The history of these three cities is vast and deep. Just like Bratislava, both Prague and Budapest had German occupations and went through times of communism. There are also remnants of medieval times, kings and queens, and of course, wars. As old as these places may be, they are still full of excitement and wonder.
All original images, by Jack Coombs.