Explore the music and art of Prague and the Vltava region on this new cruise
Visit the famous Estates Theatre and discover more about the life and works of Antonín Dvořák
Explore Konopiště Castle, final home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and uncover Czech art history in charming Litoměřice
"Tom Abbott is in a class of his own. A polymath, courteous, considerate and amusing"
"Tom is the most informative and entertaining guide we have had"
"Paul Jackson was informative and entertaining"
"Paul's talk was outstanding"
- ACE customers on previous tours with Tom Abbott and Paul Jackson
Following our voyages along the Seine, Rhône and Danube, we are pleased to present a new cultural cruise based on the Vltava River. Our progress in and around the Czech capital of Prague will afford illuminating glimpses into the country’s history, art, architecture and contributions to classical music – all while taking in the enchanting landscape of Central Bohemia during relaxed periods of cruising.
We begin by journeying south to the market town of Štěchovice before making an excursion to one of the country’s most important historical sites. Established at the end of the 13th century – and frequently remodelled by its ambitious aristocratic owners – Konopiště Castle evokes a sense of romance and luxury with its French-inspired symmetry, gateways, soaring towers and rose gardens. Yet the castle’s opulent interiors have borne witness to much more recent history: the castle was the final residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who made substantial modifications of his own and filled it with his extensive art collections. We plan to explore a part of this impressive estate during our visit.
Returning to Prague through the stunning natural landscape around Slapy and Štěchovice, we will disembark for a series of special visits in the Czech capital. In particular, we will pay homage to one of the city’s most famous musical connections – the operas of W A Mozart – by visiting the Estates Theatre, site of the premiere of Don Giovanni in 1787 and the only surviving theatre where the composer performed. We also plan to visit the city’s castle district, home to St Vitus Cathedral, one of the most important Gothic cathedrals in Europe and the largest church in the Czech Republic. In the evening, we hope to attend a performance at Prague’s State Opera House, subject to performance schedules.
The final stage of our cruise takes us north to the picturesque town of Mělník where the Vltava and Elbe meet; from here, we will visit a number of sites including Litoměřice. Situated on the confluence of the Elbe and Ohře, in a landscape known particularly for its wine, the town boasts a characterful centre of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings including several beautiful churches. It is also home to the North Bohemian Gallery of Fine Arts, which houses a special collection of mainly Czech works from the 13th century onwards behind its Baroque facade.
Throughout the tour we will explore, through lectures and recitals given by our expert on-board musicologist Paul Jackson, the music of well-known composers associated with Prague and its surroundings, including Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček, Mahler and Mozart. Art and architecture specialist Tom Abbott, meanwhile, will both guide us at several of the sites and provide us with the background for understanding the historical and artistic treasures we will encounter.
OUR TOUR DIRECTORS
Tom Abbott, BA, MA, is an independent art and architectural historian associated with the Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens. A resident of Berlin for over thirty years, he is a proficient lecturer and tour leader, with extensive experience directing cultural and art tours in Europe, to destinations including Germany, France, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic. His expertise concerning art and architecture ranges from the medieval to the current, and is highlighted in his knowledge and fascination with the Baroque and Rococo, the Romantic Movement, garden history and the musical heritage of Germany, as well as all aspects of European modern and contemporary art, architecture and history.
Paul Jackson, MA, PhD, is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was, for over twenty years, Head of Music and Performing Arts and Director of Music and Performance at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Paul has also enjoyed an extensive career as a conductor of choirs, orchestras and opera, and as a solo and chamber music pianist, performing in the UK, Europe and America. Equally at home with music from the 19th century to the present day, Paul is an enthusiastic supporter of young and aspiring composers, and has commissioned and performed many new works for a variety of musical forces.
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for more details.
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a main deck twin cabin, full board with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, tea & coffee, shore excursions & admissions, musical performance in Prague (subject to confirmation), gratuities.
Not Included: travel insurance, main deck twin cabin for single use supplement £425. Upper deck supplements available on request.