It’s not everyday you are given a budget of 10 million crowns (624,000 USD) and told to spend it all. But that’s exactly what a group of Czech art experts were ordered to do by the government on Tuesday, in a bid to bring home some of the Czech Republic’s lost art treasures. Christie’s auction house in Amsterdam was putting more than 400 items from the Liechtenstein family’s art collection under the hammer. Many of these items had once hung on the walls of Czech chateaux. And following the sale, that’s where many of them will be finding themselves
Princess Mercedes Dietrichstein comes from one of the richest and most powerful Moravian aristocratic families that, in the 16th century, settled in the town of Mikulov. Her family lived there until 1945 when the chateau was destroyed and the property confiscated. In this week's Special, Mercedes Dietrichstein talks to us about what it is like to be an aristocrat in the 20th century.
The Lednice - Valtice Area in South Moravia is the largest artificially created landscape in Europe. Created by the dukes of Liechtenstein on their Moravian domain in the 18th and 19th centuries, it features several chateaus, large parks and various monuments spread around the landscape fashioned in the Romantic and Classical styles. One of the monuments, the 60 metre tall Minaret, will be closed for the season as it needs renovation.
This weekend, Central Bohemia was taken back to the fourteenth century as actors and politicians took part in a re-enactment of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV's traditional annual journey from Prague Castle to Karlstejn. The two-day procession was accompanied by various other events, introducing visitors to everyday life seven centuries ago. It was the first of an annual event launched by the governor of Central Bohemia, the aim of which is to help boost tourism in the region.
After more than a decade of ownership disputes in the Czech courts, east Bohemia's renaissance Opocno Chateau is now back in state hands. On Tuesday, Countess Kristina Colloredo-Mansfeld - a descendant of the original owners of the popular tourist attraction - handed over the chateau to the national heritage institute. She was forced to give back the property to the state because her father is accused of having collaborated with the Nazis.
Visitors to the country's numerous chateaux and castles this summer may be in for a big surprise. They may not have a tour guide at all or one who has just learned about the historical site himself. The reason is that the new Labour Code, which came into effect this year, slashes in half the number of hours in a week that part-timers are allowed to work - from forty hours to just twenty. The National Heritage Institute, which manages dozens of tourist sites around the country, is now trying to find a way to amend the law.
Most of the Czech Republic's castles and chateaux have opened their doors to the public after the winter break, Pravo reported. Many have installed new collections and exhibitions ahead of the new season, the daily said. Preparations at Krivoklat castle included calling out the local police, after a pre-war pistol was found in a well. Among the chateaux which reopened on Saturday was the one in Telc, which was voted "most fairytale-like" in an internet poll.
Today in Mailbox: Mystery regarding old Czech/British film solved; primary education in Czech Republic; One on One theme tune once again; President Klaus in America; castles in Czech Republic; changes to Mailbox programme. Listeners quoted: Henry Loeser, Tony Prescott, Timothy C. Merkel, Johanna Cumberbirch, Mary Lou Krenek, David Jameson, K. Thiagarajan.