Today, in Prague’s bookstores one can find titles in a number of world languages – English, German, Russian, French, and of course Czech. It is much harder these days, although not impossible, to find books published in Hebrew. But five hundred years ago, a little less than a century after the Gutenberg press was invented, the first Hebrew book in Central Europe, and possibly north of the Alps, was printed right here in Prague.
This week the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague launched a new exhibition highlighting the fascinating history of the Matchbox brand – the famous die-cast toy cars. Matchbox and similar toy cars, traditionally referred to in Czech as Angličáci, have long proven popular here and there is no question the show will be a hit with families as well as collectors.
A unique new museum is due to open in the Czech Republic next autumn – rather ten museums in one, spread out in ten towns and cities across the country. Called ’10 Stars’, the museum will be housed in synagogues and will tell the story of local Jewish communities which all but vanished in the Holocaust.
As always in the weeks preceding Christmas, Jews around the world begin the holiday season before their Christian neighbors. The story of Chanukah is not in the sacred texts of the Torah, and those who celebrate it, do so most often at home, eating various foods fried in olive oil, playing games with chocolate Hanukah gelt (chocolate coins), and receiving presents each of the eight nights of the festival. Some, though, prefer to share this holiday of light, as it is called, with others. To see how it is celebrated around Prague, I headed to a creative
Painter Vladimír Houdek has won the 2012 Jindřich Chalupecký Award for artists under the age of 35. The only painter among the six finalists of the award, 28-year-old Houdek a graduate of Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts, explores in his works the ambiguous and problematic heritage of modernism, the jury said. The winner also received funds to hold an exhibition at the National Gallery in Prague and a six-week fellowship in New York. The other finalists of the Jindřich Chalupecký award this year included Adéla Babanová, Richard Loskot, Jiří Thýn and the duo David Böhm and Jiří Franta.
A large exhibition of the Czech modernist painter František Kupka opens on Friday at the National Gallery in Prague. Entitled The Journey to Amorpha, the exhibition follows the painter’s path toward non-figurative art. The exhibit is based on Kupka’s paintings that were first exhibited in Paris in the early 20th century and are considered the first public presentation of abstract visual art. The exhibition, held in cooperation with Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and other institutions runs until March 2013.
The Czech anti-monopoly office has moved to cancel a tender announced by the Czech National Museum for the reconstruction of its new headquarters, the building that formerly housed the Czechoslovak federal parliament at the upper end of Wenceslas Square. The anti-monopoly office said it has found serious errors in the 100-million-crown tender which would need to be corrected. The museum has not appealed the decision.
In our age of celebrity chefs and cookbooks for all skill levels and wallet sizes, we may sometimes forget that food was an important element of life surrounded by special rituals, beliefs and values for many a decade. In this edition of Czech Life I decided to find out what importance food had a hundred or so years ago in this region. In order to do that, I headed to the ethnographic department of the Czech National Museum, where the exhibit Krmě - jídlo – žrádlo, or Dish-Meal-Grub is currently on display.
It’s a far cry from the country’s traditional tourist sites. The imposing Vítkovice ironworks, dubbed the steel heart of the country, served the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First Republic, the Wehrmacht and later communist Czechoslovakia. In 1998 part of this huge industrial complex with its blast furnaces and coke oven batteries was closed down and rather than getting dismantled it was declared a national cultural monument that is gradually being transformed into an interactive museum and a multipurpose cultural facility.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’