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Gosia Kowalik, Poland

Gosia Kowalik Poland ILEPS Erasmus

I am Gosia Kowalik and I come from Poland. I am Erasmus+ student. I study tourism and leisure at Academy of Physicial Education in Cracow. I made a decision to go abroad and try something new. I am interested in traveling, psychology, playing the guitar, healthy food, and fashion.

In my survey, I would like to focus on the places connected with the figure of Charles IV (1316 – 1378), King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, ranks among the most exceptional personages of Czech and European history.

Prague was Charles' chosen city, the beloved crown of his realm; here he created a shining European metropolis that was (and still is) widely admired for its beauty, its – at the time – incredibly progressive urbanism, and its exceptional artistic and spiritual treasures.

In the footsteps of Charles IV, by Gosia KOWALIK

Paulina ZAPOTOCZNA, Poland

Paulina Zapotoczna Poland ILEPS Erasmus

I'm a final year student of Tourism and Leisure faculty at Physical Education Academy in Kraków, where I also work as a city guide.

I was inspired to take part in Erasmus+ program to improve my languge skills and immerse myself in a french culture.

I'm open-minded, energetic and smiling.

Remains of communism architecture in Prague, by Paulina ZAPOTOCZNA

Visit Pontoise, Cergy and Auvers-sur-Oise

Day 1 - Visit Pontoise in the footsteps of Impressionists

Pontoise is a commune in the Ile-de-France region, about 25 km from Paris. Thanks to its rich heritage, Pontoise was honored in 2006 as the City of Arts and History. The city was famous for Impressionism after Camille Pissarro's visit in the 19th century.

The walking tour starts from Camille Pissarro Museum, which is located on a rocky hill surrounded by walls with a panoramic view of the river Oise. The museum contains a collection of about one hundred Pissarro’s paintings, which survived the war of 1870. There are also collections of other impressionists, who also created around Pontoise. After sightseeing, you can relax in the park just outside the museum.

Museum Camille Pissarro - City Museum - Museum Label France
Address: 17 rue du Château - 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 32 38 33

Another place worth seeing is the second oldest Carmelite Order in France, which was founded in 1605. From the 55 rue Pierre-Butin we can enter the courtyard of the Order, which is open during the day. There is a small shop with items made by craftsman and postcards. The most important place to see is the church.

Carmel de Pontoise 
Address: 55, Rue Pierre Butin 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 32 35 21

Going further, we come to the Cathedral of Sts. Maclovius. Central and eastern parts were built in the 12th century, and the tower and portal are flamboyant. This is the direction in the late Gothic architecture. It is characterized by an excess of detail and meticulousness. The church has retained its original appearance for about one and a half centuries. October 30, 1309 Hurricane caused the main bell fell and caused massive destruction of the nave.

Cathédrale Saint-Maclou
Address: 53 Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 38 34 24

Following the picturesque Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, we come to the Museum Tavet-Delacour. In 1968 the museum received an important donation in the form of one of the first abstract artist - Otto Freundlich. Hotel Estouteville, which houses the Tavet-Delacour Museum, was built in the late 15th century.

Musee Daubigny ILEPS Erasmus

Musée Tavet-Delacour
Address: 4, rue Lemercier, 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 38 02 40

Day 2 - Walk around Cergy

Starting from main station Cergy St. Christophe, which entrances are marked with enormous clocks, made by French Martine i Philippe Deslandes. Clocks binoculars are 10 meters in diameter and this are one of the biggest ones in Europe.

Horloge Cergy ILEPS Erasmus

Our Next stop will be at the tower Belvédère, which is 36 meters high. It begins passage Axe Majeur designed by Dani Karavan, which is also extended version of Paris axis Champs-Elysées. From the hill there is beautiful view on Île des loisirs. We are going to reach it passing through the red bridge.

Axe Majeur ILEPS Erasmus

Île des loisirs is a recreational center with various activities on a fresh air. There you can hire electrical boats, canoes, bikes, sailboat, try rafting or open air gym. What’s more the area offers tennis courts, golf course, fun fair, ropes course, playground and beach.

You can have a drive around the island with small electrical train or drive on the back of pony. Another interesting place it’s a zone where you can try yourself in surfing or wake board and water skies. Nature lovers can find there spot to observe birds or have a walk at pasture land.

On the island our first challenge is a 2km trail at ropes course. Then we propose picnic on green areas and in the afternoon canoes adventure around the lake. Evening will be spent in old part of the city and finished by dinner at the harbour.

Day 3 - Auvers-sur-Oise

Auvers-sur-Oise is a French commune located in Val-d'Oise department, region Île-de-France. It’s famous all around the world thanks to impressionist. Charles-François Daubigny, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Camille Pissarro and Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked here.

Commune Auvers-sur-Oise is most likely the last place of life and death of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. On 27th of July 1890 Van Gogh left Auberge Ravoux and went for a walk, carrying with him revolver (he borrowed it saying that it’s needed to shot ravens). The same day he shot himself in the chest. The doctors couldn’t take out the bullet which lodged in his stomach and caused an infection which was the reason why he died two days later.

Van Gogh ILEPS Erasmus

Auberge Ravoux located in the heart of the village of Auvers-sur-Oise and around 30 km from the heart of Paris, was the last home of Vincent Van Gogh. The auberge has been restored and is now a museum and tourist attraction. The artist spent here only 70 days, but this time was full of creativity which occurred in creating more than 80 paintings, inspired by surroundings and people.

La Maison-Atelier de Daubigny is a house where Daubigny used to live and work. Inside we can admire beautifully decorated walls. Paintings cover around 200 m2 and were restored by artist descendants in 80s of XXth century. Around the house there is a garden, which along the house was classified as Historical Monument.

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption d’Auvers-sur-Oise also worth a visit. This Romanesque - gothic church was constructed in XIIth century and inspired Van Gogh to create one of his most famous painting.

Eglise Auvers ILEPS Erasmus

Day 4 – Workshop

On the last day of our trip we propose a workshop inspired by artists from this area. At the places where Van Gogh, Pissarro or Daubigny were painting we will try to take a look at the landscapes and create our own, modern versions of their masterpieces. And in the evening we will prepare small exhibition of those pieces of arts


Polish version of Visit Pontoise, Cergy and Auvers-sur-Oise

Dzień 1 – wizyta w Pontoise

Pontoise to gmina znajdująca się w regionie Ile-de-France, około 25 km od Paryża. Dzięki bogatemu dziedzictwu Pontoise zostało wyróżnione w 2006 roku jako Miasto Sztuki i Historii. Miasto to zasłynęło w sztuce impresjonizmu po pobycie Camille Pissarro w XIX wieku.

Zwiedzanie rozpoczniemy od Muzeum Camille Pissarro, które znajduje się na skalistym wzgórzu otoczonym murami, z którego rozpościera się widok na rzekę Oise. Muzeum zawiera kolekcję około stu obrazów artysty, które przetrwały wojnę z 1870 roku. Znajdują się też kolekcje innych impresjonistów, którzy także tworzyli w okolicy Pontoise. Po zwiedzaniu można odpocząć w parku znajdującym się tuż przy muzeum.

Museum Camille Pissarro - City Museum - Museum Label France
Address: 17 rue du Château - 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 32 38 33 - Mail:

Kolejnym miejscem wartym zobaczenia jest drugi najstarszy zakon Karmelitanek we Francji, który powstał w 1605 roku. Od strony 55 rue Pierre-Butin można wejść na dziedziniec Zakonu, który jest otwarty w ciągu dnia. Znajduje się tutaj mały sklepik z przedmiotami wykonywanymi przez rzemieślników na miejscu oraz pocztówki. Jednak najważniejszym miejscem do zobaczenia jest kościoł.

Carmel de Pontoise
Address: 55, Rue Pierre Butin 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 32 35 21

Idąc dalej dochodzimy do Katedry św. Maklowiusza. Centralna oraz wschodnia część powstała w XII wieku, a wieża i portal są w stylu flamboyant. Jest to kierunek w schyłkowym okresie architektury późnego gotyku, nazywany płomienistym. Cechuje go drobiazgowość i nadmiar detali. Kościół zachował swój pierwotny wygląd przez około półtorej wieku. 30 października 1309r huragan spowodował, że główny dzwon spadł i spowodował ogromne zniszczenia nawy.

Cathédrale Saint-Maclou
Address: 53 Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 38 34 24

Podążając malowniczą Rue de l’Hôtel de ville dochodzimy do Muzeum Tavet-Delacour. W 1968r muzeum otrzymało bardzo ważną darowiznę w postaci dzieł jednego z pierwszych artystów sztuki abstrakcyjnej – Otto Freundlich’a. Hotel Estouteville, w którym znajduje się Muzeum Tavet-Delacour został zbudowany pod koniec XV wieku.

Musée Tavet-Delacour
Address: 4, rue Lemercier, 95300 Pontoise
Tel.: +33 1 30 38 02 40

Dzień 2 - Spacer po Cergy

Zaczynając od dworca Cergy St. Christoph, którego wejścia ozdobione są ogromnymi zegarami. Zaprojektowane przez francuskich architektów Martine i Philippe Deslandes soczewki zegarów mają średnice o wymiarach 10 metrów i są jednymi z największych w Europie.

Następnie zobaczymy wieżę Belvédère, która mierzy 36 metrów i rozpoczyna pasaż Axe Majeur zaprojektowany przez Dani Karavan, będący przedłużeniem paryskiej osi miasta Champs- Elysées. Ze wzgórza roztacza się piękny widok na Île de loisirs, gdzie dotrzemy przechodząc przez czerwony most.

Île de loisirs to ośrodek rekreacyjny z bogatą ofertą aktywności na świeżym powietrzu. Można skorzystać z wypożyczalni elektrycznych łódek, kajaków, pontonów raftingowych, rowerów, żaglówek oraz siłowni na świeżym powietrzu. Dodatkowo znajdują się tutaj korty tenisowe, pole do minigolfa, wesołe miasteczko, park linowy, place zabaw, plaża.

Dookoła wyspy kursuje mały pociąg oraz jest możliwość przejażdżki na kucyku. Kolejne interesujące miejsce to strefa, w której można spróbować swoich sił w surfingu, a także na nartach wodnych. Miłośnicy natury znajdą tutaj punkty do obserwacji ptaków lub wybiorą się na pastwisko zwierząt hodowlanych.

Na wyspie, pierwszym wyzwaniem będzie park linowy i trasa licząca 2 km długości. Następnie proponujemy lunch w formie pikniku, a popołudniu wyprawę na kajakach po jeziorze. Wieczór spędzimy w starej części miasta oraz w porcie na wspólnej kolacji.

Dzień 3 – Auvers-sur-Oise

Auvers-sur-Oise jest francuską gminą, która znajduje się w departamencie z Val-d'Oise w regionie Île-de-France. Swoją międzynarodową sławę zawdzięcza malarzom okresu impresjonizmu. Przyjechali tutaj aby czerpać inspiracje między innymi Charles-François Daubigny, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Camille Pissarro oraz Vincent van Gogh.

Gmina Auvers-sur-Oise jest prawdopodobnie najbardziej znana jako ostatnie miejsce pobytu i miejsce spoczynku Vincenta van Gogha i jego brata Theo. W dniu 27 lipca 1890 Vincent van Gogh wyszedł z gospody Ravoux na spacer mając przy sobie pożyczony rewolwer (Vincent tłumaczył, że potrzebuje go, aby strzelać do kruków). Tego samego dnia postrzelił się w brzuch, zmarł po dwóch dniach.

Auberge Ravoux, położony w samym sercu miejscowości Auvers-sur-Oise, 30 km od Paryża był ostatnim domem Vincenta van Gogha. Zabytkowy budynek jest obecnie jedynym domem Van Gogha, który zachowany jest w stanie pierwotnym. Artysta spędził w nim zaledwie 70 dni, ale ten krótki czas był niezwykle obfity w dzieła, ponieważ zainspirowany miejscem i ludźmi stworzył prawie 80 prac.

La Maison-Atelier de Daubigny to dom, w którym mieszkał i tworzył C.F. Daubigny. Wewnątrz można podziwiać przepięknie zdobione ściany. Malowidła obejmują około 200m2 i zostały odświeżone przez potomków artysty w latach 80. XX wieku. Wokół domu znajduje się także ogród, który wraz z domem wpisany jest na listę zabytków historycznych.

Na uwagę zasługuje także Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption d’Auvers-sur-Oise. Ten gotycko - romański kościół Matki Bożej Wniebowziętej powstał w XII wieku i był inspiracją do jednego z bardziej rozpoznawanych obrazów Van Gogha.

Dzień 4 - warsztaty

W ostatni dzień naszej wycieczki odbędą się warsztaty zainspirowane malarzami tego regionu. W miejscach, w których tworzyli Van Gogh, Pissarro czy Daubigny spróbujemy spojrzeć na krajobraz ich oczami i stworzyć współczesne wersje ich dzieł. Na wieczór zaplanowana będzie wystawa wszystkich prac.

ILEPS International Week Prague 2017

charles monument ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Our tour in the footsteps of Charles IV took place on Thursday 27th April 2017 in Prague. Getting off at Karlovo namesti metro station we were in the center of Charles Square. A few words about our main character.

karlovo namesti ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Charles IV is generally regarded as the "father of the country” in the Czech Republic. He was a highly educated man (he spoke five languages), an excellent diplomat and a very good king. He established Prague as the cultural capital of central Europe and made it one of the most prosperous European cities at the time. The Czech language was promoted to the official language in the country along with Latin and German, and the position of Bohemia became very strong.

street ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Later we went to Ovocný trh 3 street where is the rectorate of Charles University.

univerzita ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Charles University is the largest and the oldest university in Czech Republic. Founded in 1348 by king Charles IV, it was the first University in central Europe. It was sectioned into parts called nations: Bohemian, Bavarian, Polish and Saxon. Ethnically Czech students made 16-20% of all students. After World War II, communists had large influence on the university ideology. In the late 1980s did the situation start to improve. Demonstrations organised by students initiated the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Vaclav Havel - a writer, dramatist and philospoher - was recruited from the academic community and appointed president of republic in December 1989. Nowadays the academic facilities occupy many locations throughout the city of Prague and three of them are located in other cities. Charles University has 17 faculties including theology, medicine, pharmacy, law, arts, science, mathematics, physicial education and humanities. Collegium Carolinum is a complex buildings located in the Old Town, the seat of rector and academic senate. There take place academic ceremonies and graduations.

The next point of our trip was the house where the king was born.

stone bell house ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Charles was born on 14th May 1316 in the House at the Stone Bell. This house, located at the Old Town square, is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Prague. It was later rebuild in the Baroque and in the Neo-baroque style. Last reconstruction of the house took place between 1980 and 1987 when the house was given back its Gothic style. These days the House at the Stone Bell is the City Prague Gallery.

main square ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

From the House at the Stone Bell we went to our last but not least point of trip – Charles Bridge. Just before the entrance to the bridge stands a huge monument.

most karola ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

A significant Neo-gothic monument based on the model of Arnošt Hähnel (a sculptor from Dresden) was made in 1848 for the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles University. On the almost 4m high pedestal there are allegories of four faculties - theological, medical, legal and philosophical.

The city of Prague owes a lot of Charles IV – it’s easy to tell by all the “Charles” whatevers dotted around town (Charles University, Charles Square, etc.) But the most well-known namesake is definitely his Bridge. Dominated by a tower at each end, as well as 30 Baroque-style statues, the Bridge is the ultimate photo op, tourist stroll in Prague. Bridge crosses the Vltawa river and until 1841 was the most important connection between Prague Castle and Old Town. It is 621m long and 10m wide. According to legend, the first stone of the Charles Bridge was layed in 1357, July 9th, at 5.31am. These lucky numbers were given to King Charles IV by astronomers (135797531).

The statues we can see today aren’t the originals. Back in the 1960’s they were taken down and replaced – the originals now live out their retirement at the National Museum. Following is a list of the statues in order if you are travelling from the Old Town side to Malá Strana.

charles bridge ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Statues on the south (left) side:

  • St. Ivo – the patron saint of lawyers
  • Sts. Barbara, Margaret and Elizabeth
  • Statue of the lamenting of Christ – crucifix was originally wooden
  • St. Joseph – the original was destroyed by cannon fire during the 1848 revolution
  • St. Francis Xavier – Indian and Japanese prince being baptized by St. Francis Xavier
  • St. Christopher – he is holding Christ as a boy on his shoulder
  • St. Francis Borgia – Jezuit priest with 2 angels around him
  • St. Ludmila – St. Wenceslas’ grandmother
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • Sts. Vincent Ferrer and Procopius – one of the most artistically important statue of the bridge
  • St. Nicholas of Tolentino
  • St. Luthgard – possibly the most valuable piece of art on the bridge
  • St. Adalbert
  • Sts. John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Ivan – the most expensive statue on the bridge, it shows cave in which 3 chained Christians are praying to the Lord of Salvation
  • St. Wenceslas

statue of charles bridge ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

Statues on the north (right) side:

  • Madonna and St. Bernard
  • Madonna and Sts Dominic and Thomas Aquinas The Crucifix and Calvary – the most historically interesting statue on the bridge; the golden hebrew text was added in 1696 and it is prime example of anti-semitism. In that year Prague authorities accused a local Jewish leader. His punishment was to raise the money to pay for that golden letters, which mean "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord of Hosts”. This inscription was a degradation of Prague Jews.
  • St. Anne – mother of Virgin Mary
  • Sts. Cyril and Methodius
  • St. John the Baptist
  • Sts. Norbert of Xanten, Wenscelas and Sigismund
  • St. John of Nepomuk – Thrown from the bridge to his death; it is now considered good luck to touch his statue
  • St. Anthony of Padua
  • St. Jude Thaddeus
  • St. Augustine
  • St. Cajetan
  • St. Philip Benitius – by his legs there is the crown of the Pope
  • St. Vitus
  • St. Salvator with Cosmas and Damian – statue founded by faculty of medicine

Here is the end of our tour in the footsteps of Charles IV. It is time to have lunch.

group ILEPS International Week 2017 Prague

More about our Erasmus exchange student: Gosia KOWALIK

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Mélany, Pénélope et Rémy 

EDM Mai2017 Melany

EDM Mai2017 Penelope

EDM Mai2017 Remy

Comme chaque mois, un étudiant ou un groupe d'étudiants est récompensé par le titre honorifique d'Étudiant Du Mois à l'ILEPS. 

Pour le mois de Mai 2017, félicitations à Mélany BOUNETTA, Pénélope EPINAT et Rémy CLAIRE pour leur titre. Grâce au projet "Paintbike", idée d'activité innovante de paintball à pratiquer à vélo, ces trois étudiants en première année de Licence STAPS ont pu apprendre à améliorer leur gestion du stress, se préparer au monde de l'entreprise et optimiser leur travail en équipe. 

En savoir plus

ILEPS International Week Prague 2017

ILEPS International Week Prague 4

ILEPS International Week in Prague was not only about projects, work and studying but also included some touristic part. We had in plan two walking tours guided by our Erasmus students from Poland. On Wednesday afternoon April 26th, we started with first tour about communism architecture. Our meeting point was at Namesti Republiky (marked with purple) next to Palladium shopping center and then we took a tram to the other side of the river (continuing with purple).

ILEPS International Week Prague Map

We left the tram at first stop after crossing the bridge and walked to Letenske Sady (pink on the map). At the beginning, our guide – Paulina, started with small introduction to give us a little bit of history of Czechoslowakia under communist regime.

On February 25th of 1948, Czechoslovakia, until then the last democracy in Eastern Europe, became a communist country, triggering more than 40 years of totalitarian rule. Communist ideology permeated citizens' lives and dominated all aspects of society. Czechoslovakia's political decisions were dictated by the Soviet Union. Those who did not obey their orders were not only interrogated, intimidated and put under surveillance but also subject to house searches.

The Stalinist 1950s and the show trials

During the beginning of the brutal and nightmarish 1950s, Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin directed the Czechoslovak communists to carry out purges (extermination), and the nation held the largest show trials in Eastern Europe. Over a six-year period, from 1949 to 1954, the victims included military leaders, Catholics, Jews, democratic politicians, those with wartime connections with the West as well as high-ranking communists. Almost 180 people were executed. There was no such thing as a fair trial as judges cooperated with the country's leadership. The defendants, branded guilty before the trial began, even had to rehearse their testimonies in advance, as if it all were some cruel play performed on a stage instead of in a courtroom.

1968 and the Prague Spring

First secretary of the communist party Alexander Dubcek wanted Czechoslovakia to embark on its own individual path while maintaining a socialist government. The country experienced liberal reforms that allowed writers to demand that the purge victims of the 1950s be rehabilitated and allowed social and political organizations to be free of communist party control. The April 5 Action Program described what came to be referred to as "socialism with a human face." It demanded full equality in economic relations between Czechoslovakia and the USSR and urged the Soviets to take their advisors out of the country. Dubcek and his followers wanted real elections for party officials with secret ballots. National minorities were represented in institutions, and strikes were legalized. Censorship was abolished on June 26th, 1968.

The Soviet Invasion

The USSR was less than pleased with the Dubcek-directed developments in Czechoslovakia. Negotiations between the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia failed. On the night of August 20th-21th of 1968, 200,000 troops from the Warsaw Pact countries of the USSR -Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria- entered the territory of their defenseless ally, as tanks crushed the liberal reforms of the Prague Spring in the largest military operation in Europe since World War II.

Jan Palach

As the harsh communist policy of normalization set in, 20-year old Charles University student Jan Palach was dissatisfied with the resigned attitudes of citizens toward the regime's severe policies. On January 16th, 1969 at 4 pm, Palach set fire to himself on Prague's Wenceslas Square, protesting the lack of freedoms and the passivity of the citizens. With 85 percent of his body covered in third degree burns, he passed away three days later.

The Velvet Revolution

Czech and Slovak students were honoring students killed during the Nazi Occupation on November 17th, 1989, International Students Day, by marching through Prague in a peaceful demonstration. When they came to National Avenue, the police beat the students. This police brutality triggered what is today called The Velvet Revolution – the period from November 17th to December 29th, during which dissidents and students protested against the communist regime. Theatres went on strike, and from November 19th to late December demonstrations took place in Prague and other cities. Dissident playwright Vaclav Havel organized the Civic Forum, which openly challenged the Czechoslovak political system and demanded that all political prisoners in the country be released. On December 10th, the first largely non-communist government since 1948 was sworn in. Dubcek was named speaker of the federal parliament on December 28th, and Havel was elected president of the country on December 29th.

Tourists seeking communist history of the Czech Republic may have a hard time finding remnants outside of museums and bunker tours. This is because Czechs just about got rid of anything that reminded them of the occupation by the Soviet Union. Statues and symbols were quickly removed, and street and metro stop names were changed. But not all communist structures and Soviet reminders were removed. Some have been remodeld, and some stand as a memory of the hard times.

ILEPS International Week Prague 2

We were standing on a balcony with beautiful panoramic view on whole city and just behind us, there was a first building to see in our program (number 1 on the map).

The restaurant Expo 58 was built together with an exhibition pavilion, in order to represent former Czechoslovakia at the World Expo in Brussels in 1958. After the huge success at the exhibition, the building was dismantled and transferd back to Prague. The building was then used for its original purpose. The restaurant was sold in 1991 to a private owner and further changes of owners, problematic management and vandalism almost led to its destruction. In 2001, the building was restored. On the one hand, the restaurant was saved, but its purpose was changed as well. Also, the interior of the newly reconstructed building has nothing to do with the original one. Currently, the Expo restaurant is the domicile of an advertising agency.

ILEPS International Week Prague 3

Afterwards we were walking through Letenske Sady, beautiful park with vast areas of greenery, from time to time stopping to make another stunning photo. The park was located higher then level of the city so it gave excellent view on whole Prague. On the way we made small break to take a look at the photos prepared by our guide. Communist architecture was present in all areas of the city so it was obvious that we cannot see everything at one time. However we got good overview how architectural styles were changing with time:

  • Hotel International, which has had many names over the years, is a great example of Stalinist architecture in Prague. The building was built between 1952 and 1956 and resembles many buildings built during the same time in Moscow. Its defining factor is the Stalinist tower, complete with a communist five-point star on top.
  • The Kotva Shopping Center, located in náměstí Republiky (Republic Square), was built between 1970 and 1975. It used to be the largest department store in Czechoslovakia but now stands as a regular, awkwardly shaped, shopping center. 
  • The other two buildings were designed by Czech architect, Karel Prager. He built the Old Parliament Building, which stands next to the National Museum, and the Komerční Banka, located near Arbesovo náměstí. Both buildings have the geometrical style that was so popular in the 1980s.

Continuing our walk we finally reached heart of the park. Central place where nowadays there is a huge metronome. Originally it was not designed to be here, the plinth was made for much more important figure of past times (number 2 on the map).

The dictator gazed down from his plateau in the park, straight into the very heart of the Czechoslovak capital. It didn’t take long for locals to mock it with nickname ‘the queue for meat.’ Measuring 15.5m in height and 22m in length, it was the largest statue of Stalin ever built; and the largest group statue anywhere in Europe. The structure weighed a total of 17,000 tonnes and cost the city a small fortune to create. Even before the end of 1989, the Stalin Monument was blown up in 1962 after Stalin fell out of favor. It was eventually replaced by a giant metronome in 1991.

Nowadays it’s a great place to admire the city from above. When we took a careful look we notice one monument, a tower which was clearly disrupting peaceful line of the horizon.

The sci-fi-like TV tower is a communist era structure that is a prominent part of the Czech skyline. Like many of the communist-era building, locals hated the structure when it was first built. You can see the Žižkov Television Tower, now part of Tower Park Praha, from just about any part of Prague. The tower, standing at 216 meters, was built between 1985 and 1992. The observation deck at the top of the tower boasts a panoramic view of Prague. One of the unique characteristics of the tower are the giant babies crawling up and down the pillars. These were added in 2001 by famous Czech artist David Černý.

Leaving from Letenske Sady, we found the last spot for great photo shooting and went in direction of Royal Gardens, passing through Chotkowy Sady.

Arriving in the Royal Gardens we had a control at the entrance. Guard was checking each person very carefully and then we could peacefully walk around distinctly shaped lawns and bushes till we finally reached Ball-Game Court (number 3 on the map). Theoretically the Royal Gardens should have nothing common with communists and everybody could wonder why we were stopping there. Well, our guide explained everything.

ILEPS International Week Prague 5

The beautiful Ball-Game Court was built in 1568 with an embellishment of delicate, white sgraffiti. In the 16th century, ball games were a favourite pastime for nobles. The rules for the game were as follows: twelve players stood in a circle and struck the ball with a wooden bat. Sometimes only in their stockinged feet, they would bounce the ball to their opponent who was then supposed to catch it before it fell to the ground. The building is not itself an example of communist remains, but communists did leave their mark when the building was reconstructed in 1952. After the reconstruction, some noticed that in one corner of the sgraffiti, there is a woman holding a symbol of a hammer and sickle, the communist symbol for the working class. It is the personification of the "5 Year Plan" (the communists' five-year plan).

And finally we were on the way to our last stop: the Lennon Wall (number 4 on the map). Till this very moment we didn’t meet much tourists on the way, it was rather peaceful area in comparison to the center of Prague. Everything changed when we reached the place, so popular that it's crowded with tourists no matter the weather!

This is the tribute to John Lennon. The Lennon Wall was not only a memorial for Lennon after he was murdered, but also a symbol for freedom and peace during the oppressive era of communism. Graffiti started appearing on the wall in the 1980s as a way for Czechs to express themselves. At first, it largely took the form of John Lennon quotes about peace, and lyrics lifted from songs by the Beatles. Over time it grew though – more graffiti appeared to denounce Czechoslovak communism, and the site became increasingly problematic for the regime. The government of Gustáv Husák denounced these young "Lennonists" as sociopaths, alcoholics and agents of Western capitalism. In 1988, it all came to head, as security police clashed with hundreds of Czech students near the wall. A year later, the dissidents would end up winning and the wall remains today as a popular forum for political counter-commentary. The original portrait of John Lennon has been lost beneath accumulated layers of paint, but in its place appear flowers and crosses, poetry calling for peace and love around the world. In recent years, the Lennon Wall has been painted with messages for Israel and the Middle East, for Ukraine, and in support of the rioters in Hong Kong. Buskers perform songs along the pavement while new visitors share their messages to the world in an ever-changing tapestry of kindness.

ILEPS International Week Prague 7

More about our Erasmus exchange student: Paulina ZAPOTOCZNA

Jeudi 1er Juin 2017

ZUPdeCO ILEPS 01062017 classe

L'ILEPS a reçu la visite d'une trentaine de collégiens bénéficiant de l'accompagnement ZUPdeCO.

Créée en 2007, l'association ZUPdeCO agit pour la réussite scolaire de collégiens en difficultés. Partenaire depuis 2013, les étudiants bénévoles de l'ILEPS soutiennent chaque année des jeunes à travers le tutorat individuel et l'aide aux devoirs.

Julien HENRY, Guillaume FUDALY et Adrien WILLIART, étudiants en première année de Licence STAPS à l'ILEPS, ont consacré 2 heures par semaine durant l'année 2016-2017 pour le suivi des collégiens. 

En cette fin d'année scolaire, les collégiens ont pu découvrir l'école supérieure de leurs tuteurs bénévoles et visiter le campus de l'Institut Polytechnique Saint-Louis (IPSL).

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