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Renaissance Astronomy in Kepler’s Prague

Prague 5 nights Price from £2,389 per person
Departs: 15 Sep 2024
Departs: 15 Sep 2024

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Join astronomer and lecturer Martin Griffiths for a journey to the heart of early modern science on our tour of mediaeval Prague in the footsteps of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), namesake of the NASA space observatory, was one of the world’s most influential astronomers whose work on optics and the laws of planetary motion would influence the ground-breaking research of Galileo and Newton after him. He spent some of his most important years working with Tycho Brahe in Prague, whom he replaced in 1601 as imperial mathematician and advisor to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II. The Prague of the 17th century was a melting pot of international artists, scientists and thinkers, attracted by the tolerant political climate which made their work possible. On our five night tour we shall discover the legacy of Brahe and Kepler, including the world’s oldest Astronomical Clock, Benatky Castle where Kepler conducted some of his early experiments; and an evening visit to the Ŝtefánik Observatory.

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Return flights
  • Five nights’ accommodation with breakfast
  • Three dinners at local restaurants
  • The services of a Kirker tour escort and local guides
  • Guest lectures from New Scientist contributor Martin Griffiths
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities as described


  • Day 1 - Fly to Prague

    Flying direct into Prague, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the 4* K+K Hotel Central in the centre of the city. The afternoon is at leisure and you will meet Martin in the bar for a drink before an introductory talk. We will then proceed to a local restaurant for dinner.
  • Day 2 - Prague

    This morning you shall be met by an expert local guide who will give a guided walking tour of Prague’s mediaeval Old Town. Highlights include the Old Town Square where you will see the Prague Astronomical Clock, which is the oldest continuously functioning example in the world. There will also be a visit to the National Technical Museum including its fascinating astronomical section and to the Tyn Church where Kepler’s mentor Tycho Brahe is buried. Martin will accompany the group throughout the day and give a second talk before dinner this evening.
  • Day 3 - Benatky Castle

    We start today at Benatky Castle, where Tycho Brahe lived from August 1599 to June 1600. These magnificently decorated Renaissance and Baroque palaces were not only the site of Brahe’s observatory, but were also home to the Czech composer Smetana. In the afternoon we return to Prague, to visit the Klementinum, a historic former college, now home to the national library of the Czech Republic. Here we see the magnificent Baroque library hall as well as the Astronomical Tower (steep steps and no lift), and the Meridian hall, previously used for determining noon. In the evening we head to the Stefanik Observatory. Here, with Martin’s guidance and advice from the expert observatory team, we will observe the same night sky which once fascinating the Renaissance astronomers.
  • Day 4 - Castle district, Prague

    The morning is devoted to the Castle District of Prague. Staring at the castle itself, there will be time to explore the complex here including a visit to St Vitus Church and the fine Renaissance palace of the Lobkowicz family, with art works of Velazquez and Canaletto and original manuscripts of Beethoven and Mozart. In the afternoon we will visit the village of Nelahozeves, birthplace of the composer Antonin Dvorak.
  • Day 5 - Kutna Hora

    The beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Kutna Hora is situated about 1 hour from Prague. One of the most fascinating historic towns in Central Europe, highlights include the spectacular Gothic St. Barbara Cathedral and the Sedlec Ossuary – the unique complex of the former Cistercian monastery, also known as the Church of Bones, which is decorated with the bones of 40,000 skeletons. After returning to Prague we shall dine together in a local restaurant this evening.
  • Day 6 - Fly to London

    We shall depart after breakfast this morning.

Flight Details

Flights with British Airways:

Depart Heathrow 08:35, arrive Prague 11:45
Depart Prague 17:20, arrive Heathrow 18:25

Flight times subject to change – regional departures available on request.

Departure Dates and Prices

15 Sep 2024

Status Available

Price from£2389

Single Supp.£396

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Included Hotels


K+K Hotel Central
Prague, Czech Republic, Europe

This excellent hotel opened in Spring 2004 after the comprehensive restoration of one of Prague’s most attractive Art Nouveau buildings. Formerly a theatre, the period architectural detail such as stained glass and wrought iron has been retained and combines favourably with a modern, contemporary design.

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