The national flag of the Czech Republic, which is the same as the flag of former Czechoslovakia, will celebrate its centenary on March 30th. While the celebrations of the centenary of Czechoslovakia were grandiose, the flag’s golden anniversary is likely to pass largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis and other concerns. I spoke to the country’s leading vexillologist Aleš Brožek about how the flag was selected, why Czechs only bring it out in turbulent times and how to prevent hoisting it the wrong way round. I began by asking
Curators at the National Museum have discovered a previously unknown recording of a speech given by the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, on March 7th 1930 – on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The recording made on a phonographic roller contains part of what was a “state of the republic” address at a time when the country stood on the brink of recession.
The opening up of the archives of Pope Pius XII by the Vatican is seen worldwide as an opportunity to find answers to long-term questions about the secretive pontiff who was in charge of the Holy See between 1939 and the early stages of the Cold War. There are also hopes that the documents could shed light on the Vatican’s position towards Czechoslovakia in many of the key moments of the country’s history.
One of the most precious items from the archives of the National Museum, a sculpted Celtic head dating back to the Iron Age, is currently on display at the Regional Museum in Olomouc. The valuable sculpture, which was transported to the museum under heavy security, is the highlight of a two-week exhibition of Celtic art.
The National Museum in Prague has become available for exploration via
Google Street View. As of Thursday, users can take a virtual tour of the
building, including the Pantheon, the dome and the building’s second
floor, which is not accessible to the public.
All of the Czech Republic’s UNESCO heritage sites as well as many castles and natural sites are now accessible via Google’s mapping service, which was first launched 15 years ago.
Among the Czech Republic’s most visited sites on Google Street View are Prague Castle, the South Bohemian town of Český Krumlov and the centre of the Czech capital.
In this programme, the last in the current series looking at Czech history through the archives, we get a flavour of the Cold War. The archives throw up some curious stories: a man in love with a drill, a Czechoslovak cosmonaut celebrated in song, a campaign against noisy rockers with long hair, and some Cold War dramas – tales of defectors and spies. And we end with the strange, sad story of the Red Elvis. But first to the glowing dawn of the new regime in 1948.
Czech interest in African American culture goes back to the 19th century. When Antonín Dvořák spent three years in the United States in the 1890s he explored African American and Native American musical traditions, seeing parallels with the Czech experience of living under Austrian domination. In the Czechoslovakia of the 1920s and 30s, interest in American jazz spread rapidly and Native American culture was romanticised in the so-called “tramping” movement. After the war communist Czechoslovakia was quick to point to discrimination and segregation
A new book on Communist Czechoslovakia was launched under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Prague’s Czernin Palace this week. Titled Czechoslovakia: Behind the Iron Curtain, it tracks the history of the communist state, through a combination of narrative, contemporary pictures and extensive oral history in over 600 pages. It was penned by two female Slovak academics Dr Gabriela Beregházyová and Dr Zuzana Palovič. After the official ceremony was ended by a symbolic ringing of keys, I asked Dr Palovič how the idea to write the publication
In this programme, the eighth in our series mapping this country’s history through the radio archives, we start with the dramatic events of the last days of the war in Prague. The radio played a major role in the Prague Uprising, and through the archives we can map how the city liberated itself from the German occupiers. In the two years that follow, the radio archives give us a picture of a Czechoslovakia returning to some kind of normality, but in February 1948 everything changes. We tell the story as it was heard on the airwaves.
Some 55 percent of Czechs believe that the modern history of their country
is being distorted, suggests an opinion poll conducted for Czech Radio by
the Median agency. This view was shared by 66 percent of respondents aged
60 or over.
The handling of a statue of Soviet commander Ivan Konev and the appropriateness of building a monument to the WWII “Vlasov army” have proven divisive topics in the Czech Republic in recent months.
With regard to the latter dispute, the new opinion poll indicates that almost two-thirds of Czechs are not in favour of removing monuments linked to WWII.