Last night, Fr. Emerson popped up from Edinburgh and gave a talk on the Hapsburg dynasty. It was tremendously interesting. I learned so much I hadn’t known before and it opened up a terrific number of avenues of information down which I have only begun to stroll.
I had no idea how remarkable a man Franz Ferdinand was. All they teach you in America is “This is the guy who got shot” instead of “This man would have been the savior of all that is good and holy in Europe.”
I have seen and read a lot of what Europe is today; Fr. Emerson gave us a glimpse of what Europe was yesterday, before the utter destruction of the social order of the continent by that moment in Sarajevo and everything that came after it. Knowing what Europe was, how depressing to see it now!
It also filled me with some optimism, oddly enough. I used to be partly in the school of thought that’s convinced that Europe is lost. If this is how Europe was, surely it could be again? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Anyhow, after the talk, Fr Emerson enlightened me as to a few of the architectural marvels of Mitteleuropa. Above is the Cathedral of St. Barbara in Kuttenberg (Kutna Hora), resembling a galleon in full sail.
And the same in 1921.
Krummau (Cesky Krumlov) is home to a remarkable castle that runs along a ridge across the river from the old town.
This adds a whole slate to my list of places to visit. I really need to get to Italy and Germany/Austria, and now Bohemia as well.