Fantasy Kingdom - Mark Iandolo

The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn lights up in the foreground while the largest castle in the world lights up in the background during twilight in Prague.

Prague is known as the city of a thousand spires, and the best way view those spires is to climb one of them. Many of towers are actually tourist locations, albeit obscure ones. Out-of-the-way entrance points make them go unnoticed by passersby, meaning you can often watch a sunset alone from the top – especially in the offseason.

During one such sunset, while watching the sky turn shades of orange and red and magenta, I looked out at the skyline from the Powder Tower and noticed the hill on the opposite side of the Vltava River. “Well that looks like a good place to hike,” I thought. And so I spent the following afternoon wandering the area.

I came upon a building that looked like an art gallery, but turned out to be much more. The three-story house, tucked away in the woods, was actually “The Magical Cavern,” a project created by Czech painter Reon Argondian. Inside, Reon used plaster and paint to create a cave-like setting; this became the backdrop for his otherworldly paintings (google Reon Argondian to check them out). Dozens of works line the walls, each one taking over a year to complete due to a complex development process.

Well, I went inside and the only way to describe the experience is to say, “man that was wild.” And a fitting end to my stay in Prague. The Magical Cavern a microcosm of what Prague is to me: a fantasy kingdom.

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