Vol. 36: European Advertising Columns (Prague)

There can surely be no city anywhere in the world that qualifies so aptly as Prague to be described as a gpearl.h The city as a whole consists of elegant buildings that bear witness to Czech history. Prague is thronged with tourists during the daytime, but there is no sign of travelers in the streets early in the morning. Strolling through the deserted squares and streets, one gets the impression of monopolizing the whole of this incredible legacy very much like a king. Buildings which in Japan would be classified as national treasures or important cultural assets are here no more than everyday living quarters and workplaces for the people of Prague. I felt strangely elated as I stood at the entrance to the stylish, Art Nouveau Civic Hall and watched workers entering the building in small groups as they chatted away nonchalantly to one another.

The advertising columns of Prague are surprisingly simple in comparison with the almost overly ornate buildings of the city. Perhaps they date from the era when the country was dominated by the Soviet Union. But they are conceived on an enormous scale. Passing beneath a column I saw a woman holding a rounded sheaf of drawings; perhaps she combined a career as an architect with her responsibilities as a housewife. The breath of everyday life seemed to pass beneath the columns. I wondered what her home life might be like and where she lived. As they gaze down on the people passing by, these advertising columns seemed to be able to recount a wealth of stories about everyday occurrences in the city.

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