Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday's House Insignia of the Day Revealed - U Modrého Hroznu

House at The Blue Grape (U Modrého Hroznu)

"In vino versus" - in wine lies truth, states the oft-cited proverb of ancient Rome.  The history of man's cultivation of the grapevine, however, is far older than the Eternal City itself, dating back at least 8,000 years. Wine holds within itself the sun and the vital forces, and has long been seen as a divine gift and the means of salvation; without wine, neither the Christian mass, nor the celebratory dinner ending the Jewish holiday of Passover would be possible.  The earliest direct written reference to wine, in fact, can be found no place other than the Bible:  when Noah's ark landed on Mt. Ararat at the end of the Great Flood, he concluded a new pact with God - and perhaps from joy at having been saved, Noah began at once to plant vineyards.

The "Blue Grape" house on Husova Street is known to have stood on its site since 1714.  Towards the end of the 18th century, it was the residence of the Prague chronicler Isaac and his family, and it is said that Isaac commissioned the beautiful insignia in reference to the fourth book of Moses in the Old Testament.  When, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses finally brought the Israelites within sight of the Promised Land of Canaan, he sent two informers ahead to bring back reports.  In the words of the Bible, "And they came unto the brook of Esh'-col, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff..."  The image of two men bent beneath a single giant grape carried on a pole is known as a symbol of fertility, prosperity and welcoming.

Today the building is mostly flats with a small Czech restaurant on the ground floor, aptly named U Modrého Hroznu.

Location:  Husova 15, Praha 1 – Staré Mesto