Did you know that houses in Prague were not given house numbers until 1770, so instead of folks saying that they lived in the third blue house on the left, they used House Signs. This system was quite charming, but I learned during our trip that the system was also meant to be quite allegorical.
Addresses such as "The Golden Key", "The Two Suns", and the "The Three Fiddles" are some of the more well-known locations, but during our walking tour downtown, these are a few that I stumbled upon.
I have no idea what these 3 are called, although it was kind of fun to think of my own interpretations.... well isn't that what an English teacher would do when confronted with an allegorical meaning???
For instance--the one above..... was this the home of a wise teacher, the YODA of Prague, the one that residents sought out to learn the lessons of life? I can imagine people wandering the streets, looking for his address.....needing answers....
Was this golden snake marker the home of the city swindler? Or some man considered to be quite spineless? But then if that were true, was it his scorned lover that "named" his address? Surely one would not name himself something so slippery and despicable??
And then there is this one... is it a sheep? A dog? Or perhaps a combination of several animals? And if that is true, does this represent a house of confusion?A house of chaos?
As I roamed the streets of Prague, looking for other picture addresses, I actually began to wonder what I would have used for our home had I been a resident at that time. What symbol would be the one that I would want to tell potential visitors as the identifying marker to my home and ultimately to my life?
Think about it. If you did not live at 1927 Main Street or Haraldsgade 1, what would your "address" be? What allegorical meaning (as portrayed in a symbol) would you want hanging above your door, written on all your personal correspondence, and listed on your driver's license? I still can't decide for sure on mine, but the mockingbird keeps coming to mind.....